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Kentucky's nationally ranked higher ed enrollment growth celebrated in Frankfort

Kentucky Governor and EKU President David McFaddin-01-11-24 Team Ky Briefing
Stu Johnson
Kentucky Governor and EKU President David McFaddin-01-11-24 Team Ky Briefing

Kentucky’s higher education community continues to celebrate a national number-one designation. This systemwide accomplishment was highlighted during the governor’s weekly briefing.

Kentucky holds the top spot in the nation for higher ed enrollment gains over the past year. From the fall of 2022 to this past fall the state’s public universities saw 5.6% overall enrollment growth. During his remarks, State Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson said the Commonwealth is number two nationally in completion.

“Our goal is to 60% of our citizens with a postsecondary credential that matters is the only way we’re going to have the workforce governor to get us where we need to go to keep this economy going,” said Thompson.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College President Greg Feeney said a boot camp-like program for those students not fully college-ready along with focused additional instruction help retain students.

Eastern Kentucky University President David McFaddin said half of the Richmond school’s freshman class represent first generation college students. McFaddin noted that’s much higher than the 32% on average. And the EKU leader added it’s one contributing factor in Kentucky achieving the highest enrollment growth in the nation. McFaddin admits there are challenges when it comes to continued enrollment gains.

“We are competing for perhaps a shrinking population of high school graduates, which is why the adult learners, the transfer students, all of that population that’s out there that is going to need some post-secondary credential to have that job advancement that they want. We’ve got to focus on them too.”

McFaddin joined a number of higher education officials during Governor Beshear’s weekly briefing. Their remarks came in connection with the nationally high ranking in enrollment numbers.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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