Initiative aims to encourage former students to finish degrees

Project Graduate Week from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2015) — Kentucky’s public colleges and universities, in conjunction with the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), are sponsoring a statewide Project Graduate Week from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 to help former students with a significant number of credits return to college to finish their degrees.

graduateCPE’s executive vice president Aaron Thompson credits much of the success of the nationally award-winning program to the highly trained advisors on each campus who specialize with working with adults.

“Project Graduate advisors take the guesswork out of transitioning to college by offering proactive advising and support services tailored to the needs of busy, working adults,” he said.

Four-year campuses will waive application fees for the spring 2016 term for returning students. The colleges of Kentucky Community and Technical College System do not charge application fees. While services and incentives vary by campus, they include academic and career advising, priority admission and credit for prior learning.

“My favorite aspect of Project Graduate is getting to see the smiles on the faces of the individuals I help,” said Lisa P. Cox, Eastern Kentucky University’s director of student outreach and transition. “Some people are very anxious when they first inquire about completing a degree and some think that it is out of reach for them. It is so rewarding to help someone develop a plan and see it through.”

University of Kentucky’s Mike Shanks, director of the transfer center, added, “Project Graduate is a great initiative for students who want to complete their dream of finishing their undergraduate degree. I enjoy knowing that I have helped in some small way in making this possible for them at UK.”

To qualify for Project Graduate, students must have 80 or more credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree or 30 or more toward an associate degree.

More than 1,850 former students have earned degrees through Project Graduate since the 2008 launch and another 1,000 are in the pipeline.

University of Kentucky’s Mike Shanks, director of the transfer center, added, “Project Graduate is a great initiative for students who want to complete their dream of finishing their undergraduate degree. I enjoy knowing that I have helped in some small way in making this possible for them at UK.”

The recipient of the 2012 Noel-Levitz Retention Award for Excellence, Project Graduate is a key strategy in the state’s college completion agenda.

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