“We now have three years of data and we are increasingly excited about the results and, in particular, how we believe this program is driving student success and increasingly our fund-raising efforts. A few key points that we can discuss in more detail, if you are interested:

  • Now, about 10 percent of our entering class is being funded by LEADS initiatives in some way (either a pilot grant or recurring scholarship); we expect that to continue to grow given the results.

  • Our retention and graduation rates have reached historic highs, fueled largely we believe, by LEADS. We’ve increased our second fall retention rate by almost 3 percentage points in the last two years alone. Moreover, our initial results from Fall 2018 LEADS grant recipients indicate that trajectory will continue for impacted students.

  • Average unmet need in our first-year class dropped. And, as a result of UK’s efforts to constrain tuition and fee costs, in-state students in our lowest income quartile—for which the median household income is less than $20,000 annually—have seen their net out-of-pocket cost for tuition and mandatory fees decrease over the last two years: from $465 per semester to $204 per semester.

  • The program is quickly becoming a cornerstone of our capital campaign – a $2.1 billion initiative we call Kentucky Can. We’ve calculated unmet need among our students across the state, drilling down even to a county-by-county level. That allows us to talk to donors about state need and community need that they might want to help fund. We have also started to receive significant foundation support. In fact, recently, we announced a $10 million gift targeted toward LEADS:

  • Finally, we are starting to use the predictive modeling developed for LEADS in other ways. We believe, for example, that the model might be useful in the areas of belonging and academic coaching (looking for signs of where students are struggling and then in a targeted way being able to work with those students to ensure they have the right support and programming).” Jay Blanton, UK spokesman



Blog, June 10, 2019: UK LEADS: Pushing the Boundaries of What is Possible

Blog, February 4, 2019: UK LEADS Drives Increases in Retention, Graduation

Op-Ed, January 8, 2019: UK's, Mira Ball's Vision for Kentucky's Future is About More Than Numbers