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College degrees, certificates up in Kentucky

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By Anna Taylor

More people are earning degrees from Kentucky colleges and universities, a recent preliminary report by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education shows.

Kentucky’s public and private colleges and universities granted 63,148 degrees and credentials during the 2013-14 academic year. These numbers represent an annual increase of 1.2 percent and a 10-year increase of 60 percent.

The report showed growth at all postsecondary academic levels, with the exception of master’s degrees. Baccalaureate degrees over the year increased 3.4 percent with 9.6 percent of gains reported from independent colleges and universities and 1.6 percent from the public sector. Research doctorates have increased 10.2 percent and professional practice doctoral degrees, including new programs such as advanced-practice nursing, law and other health-related degrees, increased nearly 2 percent, according to a news release.

Associate degrees over the year increased by nearly 3 percent, the report says, and undergraduate certificates increased 2.2 percent.

Master’s degrees had an overall decrease of 6.8 percent, both in the public and private school sectors.

“This is exceptionally good news for Kentucky,” Council President Bob King said in the release. “The hard work of our students is being rewarded and our campuses are adding value by creating a more highly skilled workforce to strengthen Kentucky’s economy.”

Over a span of 10 years, undergraduate certificates increased 204 percent and associate degrees grew 56 percent. According to the release, these numbers are the result of the expansion of applied associate programs at the Kentucky Community and Techni­cal College System.

Baccalaureate degrees earned reveals a 30 percent increase since the 2003-04 academic year. Professional-practice doctoral degrees have increased 46.5 percent and research doctoral degrees have grown 42.9 percent at the state level.

This report was issued June 20 at the Ken­tucky Council on Postsecondary Edu­ca­tion’s meeting at Centre College. The final report will be issued later this year.

Anna Taylor can be reached at 270-505-1747 or ataylor@thenewsenterprise.com.