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Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed Tuesday (Oct. 22) as "Private College Appreciation Day" in Kentucky.

The proclamation recognizes Mayfield-based Mid-Continent University and Kentucky's 19 other nonprofit, private colleges and universities for their contributions to Kentucky's strategic agenda for postsecondary education, which is to increase the number of residents with college degrees. 

“Mid-Continent recognizes its important role in meeting the strategic agenda which is why our adult Advantage Program has been so successful,” President Robert Imhoff said. “In December, more than 400 adults from throughout Kentucky will graduate from Mid-Continent with associate, bachelor or master degrees. We are playing an important role in improving the quality of the workforce.”

Beshear also noted in his proclamation that Kentucky’s private colleges receive no direct state appropriation. However, private college students are eligible for the lottery-funded student financial aid programs administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. The 20-private colleges enroll more than 36,000 students and produce more than 8,000 degrees annually.

MCU’s Advantage Program offers classes in more than 30 communities throughout the state. Students who have some college credits can complete their degree work in as little as 18 months.

"We're delighted that Governor Beshear has joined us in recognizing and celebrating the impact Kentucky's private colleges and universities make throughout Kentucky," said Gary S. Cox, president of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU). "These 20 institutions make a difference in the lives of Kentuckians every day by providing high quality, affordable educations that prepare graduates for meaningful lives and careers."