A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ky’s four-year universities reaching out to former students to finish degrees through Project Graduate

Kentucky’s public four-year universities are reaching out this fall to recruit former students with a high number of credit hours back to college to finish their bachelor’s degrees.

Through Project Graduate, campuses are offering a concierge approach to help busy, working adults get on the fast-track to graduation. Near-completers with 80 or more credit hours are eligible.

“I can’t stress enough how vitally important it is for our campuses to re-engage their former students,” said Council President Bob King.

“We have both a moral responsibility to these adults who are nearly three-quarters of the way to the finish line, as well as an urgent state imperative to grow the quality of our current and future workforce through higher education,” he added.

To sweeten the deal, campuses have ramped up their adult-friendly incentives and services. A sampling includes waiving application fees, credit for prior learning and for military service, as well as personalized academic and career advising. Incentives vary by university.

Project Graduate advisors are contacting former students through direct mail, emails, phone calls, social media and other promotions.

To support the effort, the Council launched a website to provide prospective students with contact information for advisors and incentives by campus.

The completion program is one of many strategies the Council is pushing to boost the state’s education attainment to 60 percent of the working-age population with a credential or degree by 2030.

Lisa Cox, Project Graduate advisor for Eastern Kentucky University, said she gets personal satisfaction from helping adults achieve a goal that they thought was impossible to reach.

“I’ve seen our graduates receive promotions, start new careers and even pursue graduate studies because of this program,” she said. “So don’t be afraid to reach out!”

From Council on Postsecondary Education

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