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Online and On-Campus Colleges in
KENTUCKY

Online and On-Campus Colleges in & Kentucky

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed March 2, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed March 2, 2016, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • School pages, accessed May 29, 2017: About, Northern Kentucky University, http://nku.edu/about.html; Bachelor's Degree Programs, WKU Online, Western Kentucky University, http://www.wku.edu/online/bachelors/index.php; Online Degree Programs, Eastern Kentucky University, http://ekuonline.eku.edu/earn-bachelors-degree-online; Mission, Berea College, https://www.berea.edu/about/mission/; About UofL, The University of Louisville, http://louisville.edu/about/; Online Degree Programs, Kentucky State University, http://kysu.edu/academics/distance-education/online-degree-programs/;
  • Best for Vets Colleges 2017, Military Times, accessed May 29, 2017, http://bestforvets.militarytimes.com/2017-11-01/colleges/4-year/
  • KHEAA-Administered Programs, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, accessed May 17, 2017, https://www.kheaa.com/website/kheaa/kheaaprograms?main=1
  • Kentucky's Transfer Policies, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, accessed May 17, 2017, http://www.knowhow2goky.org/kh2t/transfer_policies
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The Bluegrass State is home to more than a few colleges and universities, and it's no easy task to sort out which ones stand above the rest - and which ones have programs that might line up with your targeted career goals.

In addition to the 16 different community colleges with more than 70 locations in Kentucky, there are eight public universities, several of which have multiple campuses. There are also more than two dozen private colleges and universities. To help you make the best-informed choice possible when it comes to your bachelor's degree program, we did extensive research to determine the ten best traditional and online colleges in Kentucky.

If you're planning to switch to a university program after you finish your two-year degree at a community college, many schools in Kentucky offer articulation agreements to make the transfer process easy. .

Best 4-Year Colleges in Kentucky

Our rankings are based on a mathematical analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and other sources within the U.S. Department of Education. We assembled a large dataset from the NCES and put it through the paces of a 13-point methodology that includes metrics of affordability, flexibility and distance education opportunities.

Methodology
1Murray State University+
ADMISSION RATE
91%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
18

Our No. 1 school delivered a one-two punch of top affordability rankings that should stand out to students seeking a reasonably priced education. Not only did Murray State University students have the No. 1 most affordable tuition and fees cost in Kentucky in 2015-16, they also had a higher percentage of their tuition and fees covered by institutional grant aid than students of any other school in the state.

Murray State admins also went the extra mile to provide access to necessary courses for their on-campus students. Entire degree programs can be earned by attending classes in the evening and on weekends, and students who have spent some time in the workforce before returning to school may be able to earn course credit for relevant knowledge they've gained through life experience.

Additional Info
2Northern Kentucky University+
ADMISSION RATE
92%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
26

A combination of good performance on multiple metrics gave Northern Kentucky University the No. 2 spot on our list. NKU is one of the best schools in terms of average net price, the estimated out-of-pocket cost of college that's obtained by subtracting average grant and scholarship aid from the expected expenses of tuition, fees, room and board, books and other necessities. For low-income students, this Highland Heights school ranked No. 2 for average net price and only one other school statewide charged a lower out-of-pocket average to financially needy students.

The suburban campus, seven miles southeast of Cincinnati, serves more than 14,000 students. While most students choose to enroll in campus-based degree programs, more than 35 percent pursue their degrees through distance education. According to NCES, of the 154 degree programs available, 26 of them, such as organizational leadership, criminal justice and health science, are offered online.

Additional Info
3Western Kentucky University+
ADMISSION RATE
93%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
61

The size of its online academic catalog earned Western Kentucky University a spot as one of the best online colleges for Kentucky students. Subjects such as sociology, health care administration and interdisciplinary studies can be taken entirely online, while other health care, business and technology degree programs are offered in a format that requires students to complete their first two years of coursework at a Kentucky community college.

The campus-based degree catalog at WKU also has a diverse selection of degree programs to offer. The more than 200 degree plans available on the Bowling Green campus amounted to the second-largest selection of traditional degrees in the state. Students at WKU also graduated at the fifth-highest rate among schools in our top ten.

Additional Info
4University of Kentucky+
ADMISSION RATE
89%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
3

Traditional measures of student success ran high on the list of merits for Kentucky's largest university. Just one other school in our top ten featured a higher graduation rate in 2016, and the percentage of first-year students returning to continue their degree programs ranked No. 3 among schools on our list.

UK also featured the state's largest degree catalog, with a selection of more than 300 undergraduate programs. In terms of affordability, just four other schools in the state provided a larger proportion of tuition and fees as institutional grant aid. Graduates of the Lexington school also had considerable success paying off their student debt, according to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard. No other school on our list showed a higher percentage of alumni repaying their loans within three years than the nearly 75 percent at UK.

Additional Info
5Eastern Kentucky University+
ADMISSION RATE
71%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
41

The main Richmond location of Eastern Kentucky University ranked No. 2 in the state for its selection of online programs, which includes bachelor's degree programs in emergency medicine, child and family studies, homeland security, occupational safety and more. It also took the No. 3 spot among schools on our list for its percentage of students enrolled in at least some distance education courses.

EKU also earned a rare distinction that makes evident its commitment to military veterans seeking an online bachelor's degree in Kentucky. Military Times ranks EKU among the top 20 four-year schools in the country on its list of "Best for Vets" colleges nationwide. Career counseling for students and job placement services for graduates were also available here.

Additional Info
6Berea College+
ADMISSION RATE
37%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Berea College stands out from the crowd in more ways than one. It doesn't charge tuition to its students, to begin with, which helped it record the No. 1 average net price in the state for students across the income spectrum in 2015-16. Its average net price figures were so low, in fact, that only one other college in the country posted a lower price for middle-income students and it placed in the 98th percentile nationally for those with significant financial need.

Perhaps as a result of the no-tuition policy, Berea also recorded the state's lowest median amount of college debt per student in 2015 — again ranking below just one other school in the country. It also featured the No. 2 first-year student retention rate and the No. 4 graduation rate in the state.

Additional Info
7University of Louisville+
ADMISSION RATE
72%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
9

The University of Louisville is a large university in northern Kentucky, near the border with Indiana on the banks of Ohio River. Its degree catalog reflects the sort of variety that's usually expected from campuses that serve 20,000+ students — the more than 180 undergraduate programs available at U of L in 2015-16 placed at No. 3 statewide. Out of all those degree programs, the most popular one in terms of the number of degrees awarded was Communication.

Institutional grants covered a considerable percentage of average tuition at the Louisville campus, according to NCES numbers. Just three other schools in the state provided a more significant proportion of grant aid for its students. The graduation and retention rates at U of L ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, among schools that made our list.

Additional Info
8Morehead State University+
ADMISSION RATE
85%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
19

The raw cost of tuition and fees at Morehead State University was the third-lowest in the state in 2015-16. Average net price at this medium-sized school ranked No. 7 statewide for both low- and middle-income students, and the percentage of students taking at least some of their coursework via distance education came in at No. 4 among schools in our top ten.

MSU students also had a good mix of study plans to choose from, whether they wanted to enroll online or on campus. The selection of degree programs for both campus-based and distance education students placed at No. 7 statewide. MSU was also one of just three schools on our list that offered every one of the ten most popular degree programs in the state.

Additional Info
9Kentucky State University+
ADMISSION RATE
38%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
1

Our No. 9 school was the smallest one on our list, but its opportunities for students of all income levels were anything but. The average cost of tuition and fees at Kentucky State University ranked No. 2 in the state for affordability, and the average net price figures for middle- and low-income students placed at No. 2 and No. 4, respectively. Students also received the state's No. 3 proportion of institutional grant aid in 2015.

The selection of online bachelor's degree programs available at KSU was limited to just three — psychology, criminal justice and public administration — but more than 52 percent of students took advantage of the flexibility of online courses in 2015-16. Campus-based flexibility measures were also in force at the Frankfurt school, including weekend/evening degree programs and opportunities to turn life experience into college credit.

Additional Info
10University of the Cumberlands+
ADMISSION RATE
68%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
31

The online catalog available at the University of the Cumberlands was third-largest in the state in 2015-16, according to NCES data, and no other school on our list reported a higher percentage of students taking at least some of their coursework in the virtual classroom. This flexibility metric may play a part in the first-year student retention rate at the Williamsburg institution, something that ranked No. 2 among schools that made our top ten.

UC graduates also reported a manageable average amount of student debt after leaving school. The median figure of $16,383 was low enough to take the No. 2 spot in the state and land UC among the top 100 schools nationwide on that metric. Students also had access to a tuition guarantee, a tuition payment plan and remedial services for non-traditional students returning to school after spending some time away.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Kentucky

Are you looking for extra information before deciding on your own degree path? Are you just curious about what your fellow students are likely to be majoring in? Here's a list of the most popular bachelor's programs in Kentucky.

In-Demand Careers in Kentucky

Recent employment projections can help college students better understand what the job market might look like once they graduate and start looking for full-time work in their field. Take a look at a few projected high-demand careers for Kentucky graduates.

Career Title Total Employment Projected Job Growth Annual Salary
Psychiatrists14022.7%$204,120
Dentists, All Other Specialists-40.6%$198,170
Family and General Practitioners1,34015.9%$194,890
Internists, General53015.4%$194,070
Physicians and Surgeons, All Other3,55023.2%$179,690
Nurse Anesthetists1,23023.1%$170,480
Pediatricians, General50015%$160,910
Dentists, General84019.8%$152,160
Chief Executives3,44011%$146,710
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates29014.4%$135,820

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Kentucky

Kentucky residents may be able to take advantage of state-specific financial aid programs like the Kentucky Tuition Grant provides need-based aid to Kentucky residents attending private colleges in the state. Additionally, The Go Higher Grant is a need-based award of up to $1,000 for students over the age of 24 taking less than half of a full-time course load at participating schools.

 
Excellence Award
Applicant must be a resident of Kentucky with a minimum 3.75 GPA and minimum composite ACT score of 32.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$52,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 1 (priority)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA and full-time enrollment.

 
Founders Award
Applicant must be a resident of Kentucky with a minimum 3.75 GPA and composite ACT score of 29.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$40,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 1 (priority)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renwable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA and full-time status.

 
Anthony Munoz Foundation Scholarship Fund
Applicant must be a student enrolled in or entering an accredited Tri-State college or university who graduated high school with a minimum 2.5 GPA and minimum composite ACT score of 18. Applicant must have attended a high school in the Tri-State region and be able to demonstrate a desire and intent to overcome adversity, have financial need, excel academically, and fulfill a leadership role in the community.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

April 30

 

 

 
Moody's Mega Math Challenge
Applicant must be a high school junior or senior who is part of a team working to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-word issue in 14 hours. Teams must be comprised of three to five students.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 22

 

 

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan
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Berea College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
101 Chestnut Street
City
Berea
State
KY
Zip Code
40404
Website
www.berea.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
550-635
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
515-620
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
500-605
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,643
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
37%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$24,870
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
12
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
University of the Cumberlands
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
6191 College Station Drive
City
Williamsburg
State
KY
Zip Code
40769
Website
www.ucumberlands.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
430-540
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
2,900
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$30
Admission Rate
68%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$21,000
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
31
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
76%
Eastern Kentucky University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
521 Lancaster Ave
City
Richmond
State
KY
Zip Code
40475
Website
www.eku.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
430-550
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
430-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
420-545
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
14,327
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$35
Admission Rate
71%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,150
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
24
Number of Online Programs Offered
41
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
50%
Kentucky State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
400 East Main Street
City
Frankfort
State
KY
Zip Code
40601
Website
www.kysu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
380-480
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
450-570
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
380-480
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
17-22
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Distant
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,433
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$30
Admission Rate
38%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,754
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
12
Number of Online Programs Offered
1
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
53%
University of Kentucky
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
South Limestone
City
Lexington
State
KY
Zip Code
40506
Website
www.uky.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
500-620
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
510-630
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
490-610
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-28
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
22,705
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
89%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$10,936
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
0
Number of Online Programs Offered
3
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
22%
University of Louisville
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
2301 S 3rd St
City
Louisville
State
KY
Zip Code
40292
Website
www.louisville.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
490-620
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
510-620
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
470-590
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-29
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
15,768
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
72%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$10,744
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
17
Number of Online Programs Offered
9
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
18%
Morehead State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
University Blvd
City
Morehead
State
KY
Zip Code
40351
Website
www.moreheadstate.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
430-550
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
420-550
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
388-520
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-25
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,780
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$30
Admission Rate
85%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,098
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
27
Number of Online Programs Offered
19
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
45%
Murray State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
218 Wells Hall
City
Murray
State
KY
Zip Code
42071
Website
www.murraystate.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
480-590
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
470-570
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
9,268
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
91%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,608
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
21
Number of Online Programs Offered
18
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
31%
Northern Kentucky University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
Nunn Drive
City
Highland Heights
State
KY
Zip Code
41099
Website
www.nku.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-595
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
460-580
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
440-560
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
20-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
12,531
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
92%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$9,120
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
0
Number of Online Programs Offered
26
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
38%
Western Kentucky University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1906 College Heights Blvd
City
Bowling Green
State
KY
Zip Code
42101
Website
www.wku.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
430-580
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
440-570
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
19-26
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
17,310
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
93%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$9,482
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
0
Number of Online Programs Offered
61
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
38%
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