Home » Ky colleges show 4.4% enrollment growth; degrees, credentials up

Ky colleges show 4.4% enrollment growth; degrees, credentials up

educational attainmentFRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) heard promising news about enrollment and credential production during its business meeting on March 28 in Frankfort.

Enrollment, at all levels and sectors, grew from fall 2022 to fall 2023.

  • Total enrollment, up 4.4%
  • Graduate enrollment, up 5.6%
  • Undergraduate enrollment at public institutions, up 3.8%

In addition, total and graduate enrollment are at high points over the last five years. Overall enrollment trends suggest a return to pre-COVID levels with steady increases from underrepresented minority students, dual credit and first-time student enrollment.

Total degree and credential production increased 2.6% over the past year, and 9% over the last five years. Gains in undergraduate credentials are largely due to a surge at KCTCS, with an increase in degrees and credentials of 4.6% over the last year and 7% over the last five years.

Among student populations, undergraduate underrepresented minority (URM) students outpaced the overall attainment rates across sectors.

  • At four-year public institutions, URM degrees increased 7% over the previous year and 10.1% over the last five years.
  • AT KCTCS URM degrees and credentials were up 13.3% over AY22 and 25.9% since AY19.
    Enrollment trends indicate total credential production should continue to increase with retention and completion efforts.

Among action items, the Council approved new academic programs at the University of Louisville (UofL) and Western Kentucky University (WKU) that reflect growing workforce needs. New programs at UofL include baccalaureate programs in applied engineering, biochemistry and exercise physiology, and a master’s degree in artificial intelligence in medicine. WKU added baccalaureate programs in data science and neuroscience.

The Council also approved the Kentucky State University (KSU) tuition and fee proposal for the upcoming academic year. The proposal, which falls within the parameters approved last year, includes a 1.9% base-rate increase for resident undergraduate students, a 3.1% increase for non-resident undergraduate students and a 3.8% increase for both resident and non-resident graduate students. KSU was the first institution to bring forth its tuition and fee proposal, with the rest of the public institutions to follow suit in the next quarterly meeting.

The Council approved amending endowment match (Buck for Brains program) guidelines to provide clarity for institutions and allow KSU to use federal funds awarded under Title III of the Higher Education Act as matching funds. Under federal guidelines, up to 20% of Title III grant awards are eligible for state match.

Committee appointments were made to Council committees, including:

  • Clyde B. Akins, Kellie Ellis, Eric Farris, Karyn Hoover and Madison Silvert were reconfirmed as members of the Executive Committee. Silvert and Farris were re-confirmed as chair and vice-chair of the committee.
  • Jacob Brown was elected chair of the Finance Committee.

In other business, the Council:

  • Approved dual credit policy and KSU management improvement plan revisions.
  • Approved and reviewed annual audit results for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023.Received reports from CPE President Aaron Thompson and Kentucky Department of Education Interim Commissioner Robin Fields Kinney.
  • Heard reports from the Academic and Strategic Initiatives Committee, Executive Committee, Finance Committee.
  • Heard a presentation about KHEAA and KHESLC’s role in college affordability.
  • Reviewed Good News reports submitted by Kentucky’s public and AIKCU campuses.

Council meeting materials are available here. The next meeting of the Council will be held June 20-21 at Western Kentucky University.