Kentucky’s community college system has set a new graduation record.
For the 2016-17 school year, 16,146 students graduated from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, a jump of nine percent from the year before. Those students graduated with a variety of degrees: Two-year associate degrees were up 3 percent, diplomas in more specialized areas were up 23 percent, and certificates for short-term technical training were up 16 percent.
“This clearly demonstrates our commitment to ensuring students complete the programs they start, which will lead them to better jobs and a better life,” KCTCS President Jay K. Box said. “This is a significant achievement for us, because these increases occurred during a period of lower enrollment, which was due to lower unemployment and other economic factors.”
Officials said they think the uptick at the state’s 16 community colleges and 70 campuses is due to an increased emphasis on credentials, which give people skills for more technical or advanced jobs.
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The General Assembly approved a new scholarship program for associate degrees in 2015, but Gov. Matt Bevin changed it to cover only certificate degrees. That fund included almost $16 million to help pay for certificates in five areas: health care, advanced manufacturing, transportation/logistics, business services/IT and construction. The state began accepting applications for those scholarships this summer.