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Report: Increase Support for KY's Community College Students

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012   

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky's community colleges are a popular starting gate to higher education for more than 100,000 students. A report out today urges the state to shepherd more need-based financial aid their way.

The report's author, Ashley Spalding, research and policy associate at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, says increased support can help a financially-strapped student overcome some common barriers to getting a degree.

"Community college students tend to be parents, so they're often trying to support their families at the same time that they're going to college."

Spalding says addressing this "critical need" will in turn improve Kentucky's work force and economy.

"Community colleges provide degrees and credentials for high-demand, middle-skills jobs. Those are jobs that require more than a high school education, but less than a four-year degree."

Spalding says less than half (45 percent) of the state's work force has the appropriate education for those types of jobs. Only about one-third of the adults in Kentucky have college degrees.

She adds that there's another challenge. Many students have to take developmental education courses when they enroll, causing them to burn up their money before they can complete a degree.

"They end up paying a lot of tuition for these courses and they still haven't earned any college credit."

The report calls for full funding of the College Access Program, which is the only state need-based financial aid grant program that can be used by community college students. Last year, two-thirds of eligible students were denied funding because of limited funds in the program.

See the report at www.kypolicy.us.




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