Kentucky’s public and independent colleges and universities conferred a record 70,146 degrees and credentials during the 2016-17 year, up 6.6 percent from the previous year and a 34.8 percent gain from 10 years ago.
“It is exciting to see the quantity of high-quality degrees and certificates conferred by Kentucky colleges and universities in 2016-17. Campuses are working hard to improve student success, and these results are reflective of those efforts,” said Bob King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
The report shows one-year increases for career-oriented certificates and degrees at the associate, bachelor, master and doctoral levels.
The gains help move Kentucky forward as the state builds a more highly educated workforce. The state’s attainment goal is 60 percent of the working-age population with a postsecondary credential or degree by 2030. The percentage in 2015 was 45 percent in Kentucky, compared to a national average of 53 percent.
STEM-H (science, technology, engineering, math and health) credentials increased 7 percent from the previous year. STEM-H credentials accounted for more than a third of all credentials awarded in Kentucky.
- Undergraduate credentials at the certificate and associate degree level grew 7.4 percent over last year, from 54,925 to 59,009 awards.
- Short-term certificates (less than one year) are on the rise, up 6 percent from 19,655 to 20,838 awards. Information technology, mechanic and repair technologies, construction trades and business services saw the most growth. Underrepresented minorities earning these certificates grew by 6.1 percent, up from 2,113 to 2,242.
- Total certificates are up 15.7 percent from the prior year to 22,759.
- Associate degrees climbed 1.9 percent, up from 10,665 to 10,867.
- Bachelor’s degrees posted steady growth at 1.7 percent, increasing from 22,799 to 23,189.
- Underrepresented minorities earned 2,920 bachelor’s degrees, an increase of 7.8 percent.
- Graduate certificates and degrees increased from 10,904 to 11,137, a 2.1 percent gain.