Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 26, 2007

State needs more college grads, CPE boss says

Morehead — Kentucky’s senior official in public postsecondary education told the Morehead Rotary Club on Wednesday that dramatically increasing the number of bachelor’s degree graduates is the quickest, most direct way for the state to grow economic prosperity.

Brad Cowgill, interim president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, said the CPE’s recently released “Double the Numbers” plan is achievable by 2020 through five statewide strategies as well as a regional approach that sets numerical targets in nine geographic areas of the state.

“This plan is ambitious but attainable,” Cowgill said. “Reaching our 2020 goal will require a coordinated, collaborative effort from education and business partners across the state and all Kentuckians will benefit from this effort.”

Morehead State University’s traditional service area of 22 counties comprises the “eastern region” in the CPE plan. Three KCTCS institutions and three independent colleges also are in the region.

Cowgill said the CPE’s data indicates that reaching the national average in the number of bachelor’s degree recipients in eastern Kentucky would almost double the annual household income in the region.

“Everyone would have to work together to make sure this region targets Kentuckians at every point of the education pipeline — high school students, GED graduates, adult learners, transfer students, as well as traditional college students,” he added.

Cowgill said national research shows college graduates tend to earn more money, are more engaged citizens and are healthier. For Kentucky, more college graduates also would result in additional tax revenue, less poverty, fewer prison inmates and less unemployment.

Cowgill and CPE board chairman John Turner were in Morehead to meet with MSU President Wayne D. Andrews and James H. Booth, chairman of the university’s Board of Regents.

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