Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II presented the university’s annual strategic agenda to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) Feb. 2 in Frankfort. 

President Brown noted the climb in enrollment since fall 2015. Total enrollment increased from 1,586 in fall 2015 to 1,926 in fall 2017.

Kentucky State’s institutional profile indicates in 2017 that 71 percent of the university’s undergraduates are Kentucky residents. Seventy-nine percent of 2016 Kentucky State graduates were eight first-generation, low-income or both, President Brown told CPE council members.

President Brown said Kentucky State is proud to be a school of opportunity for Kentucky residents, including those who are underprepared, low-income, under-represented and non-traditional. In fact, he said, low-income students make up 60 percent of the undergraduate population.

“As a school of opportunity with a commitment to serve the distressed counties in our service region, Kentucky State will continue to serve students who are underprepared,” President Brown said.

Adult learners, President Brown said, are also choosing Kentucky State. The university serves nearly 200 transfer students each year and more than half of Kentucky State graduates are over the age of 25.

President Brown also highlighted success in retention and graduation rates. Kentucky State has made progress in all areas of student success over the last five years, including increases in four-year, five-year and six-year graduation rates, as well as a 15 percent increase in freshmen retention rates.

Success initiatives have also had a positive effect on student outcomes, President Brown said.

Students who use the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) have an 86 percent retention rate and have a higher GPA than their non-ACE peers. Eighty-nine percent of students who used academic coaching had an A, B or C in their courses, President Brown said.

President Brown also presented data from the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) regarding Kentucky State’s impact on the Commonwealth.

According to the data, 72 percent of Kentucky State degree holders are employed in the state after graduation. Of associate degree graduates, 89 percent are employed in Kentucky versus 83 percent at other state four-year public comprehensive institutions.

Among Kentucky State master’s degree graduates, 87 percent are employed in Kentucky versus 72 percent at other state four-year public comprehensive institutions.

Kentucky State graduates rank well among comparable institutions regarding impact and return-on-investment.

According to KCEWS data, Kentucky State graduates rank first among state comprehensive institutions in the percentage of those employed in arts and humanities, as well as business and communication. Kentucky State graduates rank first among state public institutions among the percentage employed in education, social and behavior sciences and human services, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Kentucky State ranks second among the percentage of graduates employed in the field of health.

President Brown also provided the council with the Kentucky State management and improvement plan update.

Positive increases occurred in the primary reserve ratio, viability ratio, return on net assets and net operating revenue.

President Brown said increases are a result of increased enrollment and controlled spending.

Robert L. King, president of CPE, thanked President Brown for the University’s efforts and said Kentucky State is off to a good start.