Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

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The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education coordinates change and improvement in Kentucky's postsecondary education system as directed by the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997.[1] The Council is a statewide coordinating agency with sixteen members: fourteen citizens, one faculty member, and one student appointed by the Governor; the Commissioner of Education is an ex officio member.

The Council on Postsecondary Education is charged with leading reform efforts envisioned by state policy leaders in HB1. Among its many responsibilities, the Council:

  • Serves as the Commonwealth's chief postsecondary education advocate and policy advisor to the Governor and General Assembly.[2]
  • Builds consensus around higher education policy proposals and mediates discussions among public and independent colleges and universities, the General Assembly and other key constituents.[3]
  • Represents the public's interest through the development and implementation of a strategic agenda that includes measures of educational attainment, effectiveness and efficiency for postsecondary and adult education.[4]
  • Produces and submits a biennial budget request and performance funding model for adequate public funding on behalf of public postsecondary and adult education.[5]
  • Monitors and approves tuition rates and admission criteria at public institutions.[6]
  • Approves academic programs at public institutions.[7]
  • Connects eligibility for new academic programs to campus performance in meeting diversity objectives.[8]
  • Licenses non-public postsecondary institutions.[9]
  • Administers Kentucky's adult education system and GED testing centers.[10]
  • Collects, analyzes and reports comprehensive data on postsecondary education performance.[11]
  • Ensures the coordination and connectivity of technology among public postsecondary institutions.[12]
  • Administers the Kentucky Virtual Campus, Kentucky Virtual Library and Kentucky Regional Optical Network to provide online resources and services to K-12 universities, state agencies and other organizations.
  • Procures and manages federal, foundation and state grants to advance legislative mandates and student success initiatives.[13]
  • Implements a statewide diversity policy that is aligned with the strategic agenda.
  • Develops and implements an orientation and continuing education program for college and university board members or regents.[14]
  • Works with campuses to improve the transferability of credits among public two-year and four-year institutions to eliminate unnecessary duplication of credits and shorten time-to-degree.[15]
  • Collaborating with the Kentucky Department of Education to implement the "Unified Strategy for College and Career Readiness to reduce college remediation rates.


The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education was originally established in 1934 as the Council on Public Higher Education, and was renamed the Council on Higher Education in 1977. Twenty years later, the Kentucky General Assembly passed higher education reforms in the Commonwealth with the passage of the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, commonly referred to as House Bill 1 (HB1). House Bill 1 created the Council on Postsecondary Education to provide direction and oversight to all Kentucky postsecondary institutions. This groundbreaking legislation set Kentucky on the path to improve the quality of life of its citizens to at least the national average by the year 2020. State leaders recognized that to increase quality of life, Kentucky must increase the educational attainment of its citizens, and therefore mandated that by the year 2020, the Commonwealth would have:[citation needed]

1. A seamless, integrated system of postsecondary education strategically planned and adequately funded to enhance economic development and quality of life.
2. A major comprehensive research institution ranked nationally in the top 20 public universities at the University of Kentucky.
3. A premier, nationally recognized metropolitan research university at the University of Louisville.
4. Regional universities, with at least one nationally recognized program of distinction or one nationally recognized applied research program, working cooperatively with other postsecondary institutions to assure statewide access to baccalaureate and master's degrees of a quality at or above the national average.
5. A comprehensive community and technical college system with a mission that assures, in conjunction with other postsecondary institutions, access throughout the Commonwealth to a two-year course of general studies designed for transfer to a baccalaureate program, the training necessary to develop a workforce with the skills to meet the needs of new and existing industries, and remedial and continuing education to improve the employability of citizens.
6. An efficient, responsive, and coordinated system of providers that delivers educational services to all adult citizens in quantities and of a quality that is comparable to the national average or above and significantly elevates the level of education of the adults of the Commonwealth.

These goals were included in the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997. Goal six was amended with the passage of the Kentucky Adult Education Act in 2000.

Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE)[edit]

The Kentucky Adult Education Act, or Senate Bill 1, passed by the 2000 General Assembly created a partnership between the Council on Postsecondary Education and Kentucky Adult Education and set the stage for dramatic improvements in the educational status of adult Kentuckians who lack a high school diploma, function at low levels of literacy or want to learn English.

The mission of Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE)[16] is to raise the educational levels of more than one million Kentucky adults with low literacy skills and to assist the nearly 786,000 adults who do not have a high school credential to earn a GED. KYAE's goal is to help these adults gain the academic skills and credential they need to function productively in the workplace, support themselves and their families and make positive contributions to society and the economy. A local adult education program in every county provides academic instruction in reading, writing, math, science and social studies to help adults improve their literacy skills, earn a GED, prepare for college and employment and learn English as a second language.

The state's current adult education outreach efforts are focused on an access and success campaign known as KnowHow2GOKy.

Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL)[edit]

To further support lifelong learning in the Commonwealth, HB1 also created the Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL).[17] KYVL serves all Kentuckians by providing free access to multiple learning and research tools to anyone with a library card. KYVL provides users with the ability to search a number of databases of books and scholarly works, while also providing help on research methods and techniques. KYVL serves public and private postsecondary institutions, public and private K-12 schools, public libraries and special research institutions.

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