Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Group wants more grads

By Mark R. Chellgren
The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — Council on Postsecondary Education members want Kentucky universities to do a better job of retaining and graduating students and want them to start with setting more ambitious goals.

        Ron Greenberg, a Louisville health care executive, said the percentage goals presented for council approval at its Monday meeting translated into a few dozen fewer dropouts over the course of several years for a single university or a few hundred more graduates in the entire state.

        For example, Eastern Kentucky University's goal for retaining first-time freshmen students would increase from 62.6 percent in the 2000 school year to 63.0 percent in 2002.

        Council President Gordon Davies said the system has an ultimate goal of 90 percent retention for the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville, 80 percent for the six regional universities and 90 percent for community colleges.

        By 2020, enrollment is hoped to reach 240,000, or 80,000 more than when the effort started.

        Total enrollment is on track to reach those goals, though mostly as a result of more students attending community and technical colleges.

        Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell, whose school has seen enrollment increase in undergraduate and graduate programs, said the General Assembly is going to have to come through with more money to support the additional students. If not, Mr. Ransdell said the school could consider capping enrollment.

        “That's a reality check that will be defined this spring,” Mr. Ransdell said.


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- Group wants more grads
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