Kentucky saw strong higher ed enrollment growth between fall 2022 and fall 2023

Published 12:14 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

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According to the Council on Postsecondary Education, a recently released report from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) indicates Kentucky had the highest fall-to-fall total higher education enrollment gains in the nation this year.

Between fall 2022 and fall 2023, Kentucky experienced 5.6% overall enrollment growth, including 5.5% growth in undergraduate enrollment (ranked second nationally) and 4.9% in graduate enrollment (ranked fourth nationally). Kentucky ranked first in undergraduate enrollment growth and second in graduate enrollment growth among states that are part of the Southern Regional Education Board interstate compact.

“The data strongly suggests that Kentucky was prepared and one of the first states to recover from enrollment decreases caused by the pandemic,” said Dr. Aaron Thompson, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. “Making sure our students seamlessly transition to and return to the classroom is vital to reach our 60×30 goal, strengthen the workforce and improve economic opportunity.”

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NSC data is based on enrollment estimates as of September 2023, as not all data is complete and disaggregated until later in the term. Consequently, there may be differences between the NSC data presented in this report and official enrollment each institution reports to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

Some national trends the report include:

  • Community colleges are the driver for enrollment growth.
  • Shorter-term credentials remain popular among undergraduate students.
  • Growth at HBCUs has outpaced overall undergraduate enrollment growth.
  • Enrollment in healthcare programs is starting to rebound after pandemic declines, especially among those seeking undergraduate certificates and associate degrees.

Go to to view the full report.