The Kentucky Council on Post Secondary Education released new data that evaluates students' success in college, broken down by county.

"We have made great progress in closing racial and low-income gaps in attainment and improving overall success rates, but gaps still exist," said CPE President Aaron Thompson in a statement. "This new tool provides a county-level snapshot that local leaders, communities and teachers can use to track their students' progress in college."

The data shows that Christian County has 52,470 total population over 18 years old. The largest group are residents 45 to 64 years old at 13,146, followed by 25 to 34-year-olds at 12,127. There are also 11,256 18- to 24-year-olds and 7,668 35 to 44-year-olds.

Of the total population, 7,379 have a bachelor's degree or higher and 8,126 have an associate's degree.

Around 17% of females and 11% of males in the county have a bachelor's degree or higher.

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Hopkinsville Community College has the highest enrollment of local students. Murray State University and Western Kentucky University fill out the top three.

HCC also has the highest graduation rate of locals, followed by The University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University. Around 50% of local students graduate from a four-year public college and 37% graduate from a two-year public college.

Breaking the numbers down by race showed that 41.96% of Asians in the county have earned a bachelor's degree. For white residents, that number drops down to 17.83% and further down to 14.22% for black students.

For students with two or more races, only 8.45% of residents have earned a bachelor's degree or higher.

Liberal arts and sciences rank as the top college majors for locals, followed by nurse training.

Although postsecondary enrollment has seen a steady decline over the past four years, Christian County saw a small uptick recently. For the 2018-2019 school year, 1,987 students were enrolled in postsecondary education, according to the date. In 2017, that number was 1,969.

However, in the 2016-2017 school year, 2,098 students were enrolled in postsecondary education. That is almost 400 less students than just three years earlier.

"The good news is that the number of degrees and other credentials continues to increase, even while enrollment of Kentucky residents continues to decline," Thompson said. "This means a higher proportion of our students are graduating. But it's still not high enough, especially in our poorest counties."

Reach Jon Russelburg at 270-887-3241 or jrusselburg@kentuckynewera.com.

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