Despite funding cuts and a nationwide recession, Kentucky has managed to stay in the race when it comes to higher education.
In 2016 the state launched the strategic agenda “Stronger By Degrees,” with the goal of raising the percentage of Kentuckians with a high-quality postsecondary degree or certificate to 60% by the year 2030. The 2020 Progress Report indicated that total degree and credential growth had already climbed 5.8% overall, and also showed significant improvement in closing achievement gaps for minority students.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Kentucky’s goals and growth, in addition to excellent schools and financial aid opportunities, make it clear that higher education is a priority in the state.
Overview of Higher Education in Kentucky
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that there were 59 degree-granting institutions in Kentucky as of 2018-2019. Of the 59, 24 are public, 25 are private non-profit and 10 are private for-profit. The average cost of tuition and fees at one of the state’s 4-year public institutions is $10,674 for residents and $25,430 for those out of state, according to the NCES.
If you happen to live in another southern state, however, tuition may be lower because of Kentucky’s participation in Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), a 16-state collaboration aimed at bettering higher education. Through this organization, residents of participating states may pursue degrees at schools in other participating states while paying in-state tuition.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Another valuable resource to Kentucky’s educational system is the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, which has headed up initiatives such as:
- GEAR UP Kentucky – Kentucky’s implementation of the national program aimed at increasing the number of low income students entering and graduating college
- Kentucky College and Career Connections Coalition (Ky3C) – To improve communication and collaboration between college and career outreach professionals
- Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL) – The state’s hub for online research
- Kentucky Virtual Campus (KYVC) – Comprehensive catalog of online courses and degrees offered at the state’s public and private colleges
- Kentucky Skills U – Free adult education services such as GED test preparation to college and career preparation
The agency works to improve quality, diversity, accessibility and affordability of higher education across the state.
About Online Colleges in Kentucky
Online learning provides a convenient and affordable way for students to pursue a degree while still maintaining their professional and personal commitments.
In 2018 the NCES reported that 19.3% of students in Kentucky were enrolled in degree programs at accredited online colleges, and another 24.9% were enrolled in one or more online courses. Those numbers have continued to rise, and today nearly all postsecondary schools in Kentucky offer online learning opportunities.
Students are able to choose between fully online programs, and hybrid programs, which involve both online and on-campus learning. And they can pursue certifications, undergraduate or graduate degrees. They may enroll through large, well-known schools such as the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University, or through small, private institutions like Brescia University and Lindsay Wilson College.
Students interested in community or technical college can utilize the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), a statewide system of 14 community colleges and 15 technical institutes. KCTCS offers more than 700 credential options and is the state’s largest provider of workforce training and online education.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Kentucky
If you’re interested in earning your college degree in Kentucky, the first step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which provides access to federal, state and private financial aid.
You can fill out the FAFSA starting October 1st. Since some funds may be awarded on a first come first served basis, you should fill it out as soon as possible. The FAFSA will require you to answer questions about your finances and the finances of your parents (unless you are considered independent by FAFSA’s standards). Your answers will be used to determine how much and what type of financial assistance you are offered.
The most desirable forms of financial aid are grants and scholarships, which do not need to be repaid. In Kentucky, the government agency Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) helps to improve students’ access to higher education by providing financial and informational resources.
KHEAA administers the following grant and scholarship programs exclusively for Kentuckians:
|Scholarship Name||Scholarship amount|
|College Access Program Grant (CAP)||Up to $2000 at a 2-year institution; Up to $2,200 at a 4-year institution|
|Dual Credit Scholarship Program||Reimbursement for up to 2 classes|
|Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES)||Award amounts increase based on GPA scores each year of High School; Additional incentives for high ACT/SAT scores and other academic accomplishments|
|Kentucky Tuition Grant||Up to $2960|
|Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship||Total cost public institution’s tuition and fees, minus other grants/scholarships|
KHEAA also administers financial aid programs for those entering in-demand fields such as early childhood development, osteopathic medicine and teaching.
There are countless other financial aid opportunities available as well. First, check with your high school guidance counselor to see about local grants and scholarships, which are often less competitive than state or national scholarships. Then try scholarship search sites like Fastweb.com, where you can enter information about yourself and be matched up with scholarship opportunities.
Editorial Listing ShortCode:
Finally, discuss financial aid opportunities with the college or university you’ve chosen. Schools often offer impressive grants and scholarships to admitted students.
List of Online Colleges in Kentucky
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Asbury University aims to provide students with a high-quality, Christian education online. Courses are 8 weeks long, and there are new start dates every August, October, January, March, and May. Asbury offers 11 online undergraduate degree programs, and many of these programs can be completed entirely online. Fields of study offered include health communication, leadership and ministry, and digital content creation.
Asbury University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students at Brescia University can earn online degrees through BUOnline. The school is committed to offering affordable tuition and no longer charges online course fees. Most courses are 8 weeks long. Students can choose from over 10 programs for associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees. Fields of study offered include human services, accounting, social work, and business administration.
Brescia University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Campbellsville University seeks to provide a high-quality, faith-based education. The school offers six start dates each year and has generous transfer policies for those with qualifying credits. The school offers many undergraduate and graduate degree programs that can be completed fully online. Fields of study offered include sport management and computer science.
Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Daymar College is a technical college dedicated to educating students in vocational fields. Online students are given support options, such as career prep advice. The school offers degrees in business, criminal justice, and health care. Most courses are available completely online. There are programs for paralegal studies, business management, pharmacy technology, and billing and coding specialists.
Daymar College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
Eastern Kentucky University students can earn degrees online through EKU Online. All online students pay the same tuition. Most programs are offered entirely online, and courses are 8 weeks long. The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in over 50 fields. Fields of study offered include fire protection administration, marketing, and computer science.
Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Kentucky State University’s degree programs seek to prepare students to serve others. The school offers online programs for nontraditional students. Both synchronous and asynchronous courses are available.
Students can choose from seven different online degree programs, including three bachelor’s, three master’s, and one doctorate. Fields of study offered include criminal justice, psychology, environmental studies, special education, and nursing.
Kentucky State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Kentucky Wesleyan College offers an online degree program that is designed to be flexible for students with busy schedules. Courses start twice each semester. Each one is 7 weeks long and entirely online. Students can choose from six online bachelor’s degree programs. Areas of study offered include business administration, criminal justice and criminology, graphic design, psychology, religion, and general studies.
Kentucky Wesleyan College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Nontraditional students can earn undergraduate or graduate degrees through Midway University’s evening and online undergraduate programs. Each module is 8 weeks long to accelerate the programs and help students earn their degrees faster. Fields of study offered include elementary education, equine management, public health, nursing, and graphic design.
Midway University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Morehead State University aims to provide its online students with flexible options so they can earn degrees on their own time while still giving them the support they need to be successful. While many programs are fully online, some are partially online. The school offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in fields like music education, technology management, and leadership in medical imaging.
Morehead State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Murray State University has been recognized as a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top Universities by Forbes. The school offers online programs for working students. Students can complete their degrees or earn full undergraduate degrees through one of 12 online programs, most of which are completely online. Fields of study offered include nursing and agribusiness.
Murray State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students at Northern Kentucky University can earn degrees online. The school’s online programs offer multiple start dates to work with students’ busy schedules and are provided in an accelerated format. The online courses are taught by the same faculty members as on-campus courses. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields like health administration and global supply chain management.
Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Spalding University offers flexible online programs for working and nontraditional students. Most classes are offered in 6 week blocks to accelerate degree completion. The school offers online programs for associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees, and many of these programs can be completed entirely online. Fields of study offered include health science, communication, school counseling, and occupational therapy.
Spalding University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Sullivan University is dedicated to providing nontraditional students with high-quality online degree programs. It aims to give students a flexible and affordable education that fits into their busy lifestyles. Many of its programs are fully online or available in a hybrid format. Students can earn associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees in fields like accounting, cybersecurity, and information technology.
Sullivan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Nontraditional students can earn their degrees through online and accelerated programs at Thomas More University.
TMU is a private university that seeks to provide students with an affordable Christian education. Students can choose between nine undergraduate and graduate online programs, most of which can be completed fully online. Fields of study offered include ethical leadership, nursing, teaching, and business administration.
Thomas More University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Union College’s online programs are designed to help students earn new degrees or finish previously started degrees in a flexible format. Most courses are 8 weeks long, and the school offers several start dates throughout the year. Students can earn undergraduate or graduate degrees entirely online in fields such as human resource management, nursing, and substance abuse.
Union College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Kentucky offers online degree programs designed for working students and those with families. Students can choose from over 80 programs for professional certificates or bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees, most of which are fully online. Fields of study offered include arts administration, social work, and digital mapping.
The University of Kentucky is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Louisville has received several recognitions for its online learning programs from U.S. News & World Report. UofL online students are taught by the same faculty members as on-campus students. UofL students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees through fully online programs. Fields of study offered include communication and biostatistics.
The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Pikeville offers four online degree programs to help professionals advance in their careers. Each program is entirely online, and most courses are asynchronous. Students can earn their nursing degree in the RN-to-BSN program. Master’s programs offered include a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Social Work (MSW), and a Teacher Leader MA in Education.
The University of Pikeville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges/
The University of the Cumberlands strives to provide its students with a high-quality education with the flexibility of online learning. Most degree programs are available entirely online. Currently, UC only offers undergraduate degrees online. Students may choose from over 40 programs. Fields of study offered include criminal justice, human services, coaching, and allied health.
The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Western Kentucky University as one of the best online programs for bachelor’s degrees. The school offers superior online support to its students. WKU offers over 80 online programs. Many are fully online and asynchronous. Students can earn undergraduate or graduate degrees in fields like business, science, or engineering.
Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
In spite of financial restrictions, Kentucky colleges are more attractive than ever! Thanks to the support of dozens of agencies, the state’s colleges and universities continue to increase their online learning offerings and financial aid resources, making Kentucky a solid choice for higher education.
You can also view our Online Colleges in Kansas and Online Colleges in Louisiana guides for more options.