by Stu Johnson, Kentucky Public Radio
A new study shows that Kentucky’s higher education reforms have been among the most successful in the nation, but state officials say there’s still significant work to do.
The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems conducted the study. It looked at progress made since Kentucky enacted the Higher Education Reform Act in 1997. Kentucky ranked first among states in the percentage gain for adults with college degrees. The Commonwealth also took the first spot for its gains in six-year graduation rates at four-year institutions.
“We have gained more in those measures than any other state in the union in aggregate,” says Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock. “Now. But as you heard somebody say, we moved from 44th to 35th. You know, nobody else moved nine spots, so we’ve still got work to do.”
Former Governor Paul Patton, who is now president of the University of Pikeville, says the state is about halfway to where it needs to be in higher education.