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Kentucky Colleges To Offer Incentives To Lure Back Ex-Students

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky colleges will team together to offer incentives aimed at luring back former students who were well along the path toward obtaining a degree before leaving school.

It's part of the strategy by the state Council on Postsecondary Education to double the number of college graduates in Kentucky by 2020.

The outreach effort brings together eight public universities along with the Kentucky Community and Technology College System and the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities.

The program, called "Project Graduate," will offer incentives and services to try to bring back former students with 90 or more credit hours to complete their degrees.

Brad Cowgill, interim president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, said Monday that the goal is to try to make the return to college "as quick and seamless as possible."

"To keep pace with a changing world and increase their earning power, more adults are going back to finish their degree to advance in their careers," Cowgill said.

The council also has set a goal of increasing the percentage of adults participating in college from 3.6 percent to 4.5 percent in 2020.

More than 300,000 Kentuckians between the ages of 25 and 50 have some college credits from a public college but no degrees, according to the council, citing state data. More than 11,000 of those former students have earned at least 90 credit hours, it said.

Starting in January, each college will contact its former students who qualify for the incentives, which can include tuition assistance, application fee waivers, personal advising and simplified admissions paperwork. Qualified Kentuckians also will be able to enroll in the program online at www.GoHigherKy.org.

"This is relatively new ground for most postsecondary institutions and certainly for most states," Cowgill said. "Kentucky is one of a few states that has launched a statewide effort to bring adult students back to college."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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