Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools
More than 51,000 students are enrolled in Kentucky’s private colleges, and another 213,000 in Kentucky’s many state and public institutions. To support an even broader range of students, some schools are getting creative to bolster enrollment, including favoring need-based financial aid packages and growing online education offerings, meaning increased higher education accessibility to students around the nation. So which of Kentucky’s online colleges and universities offer a best-in-class experience for online students? Find the answer to this and other frequently asked questions about earning a college degree online in Kentucky below.
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Best Online Colleges in Kentucky 2020
Students can choose from a variety of affordable online schools and colleges in Kentucky. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average tuition rate for Kentucky postsecondary institutions was less than the national average for the 2017-2018 academic year. Many online programs offer more flexible scheduling options and lower tuition rates than on-campus programs.
This guide can help you research colleges, understand tuition rates and fees, and consider the benefits of earning a degree. The following sections highlight statistics on salary potential, tuition rates, and adult education in the state. The guide also includes links to scholarships, grants, and organizations.
Top Online Bachelor Schools and Colleges in Kentucky
The University of Kentucky is the state's largest university and the flagship of its public university system. UK offers a substantial number of fully online and hybrid degrees and certificates through its UK Online program. Fields of study include agriculture, communications, education, engineering, fine arts, nursing, physical therapy and social work, among many others. Students can also find 17 graduate-level certificate programs offered. Non-resident students taking only online courses during the spring and fall semesters pay the same tuition rates as Kentucky residents.
Nearly 40 degrees and certificates can be earned through distance learning at Morehead State University. A wide range of study fields is offered, including education, business administration and health care. Rank 1 programs in career & technical education and educational technology are also available. Programs of note include a Master of Arts in sport management and a nursing BSN post-licensure program. Most MSU distance-learning programs can be completed fully online, although some bachelor's degree programs are presented in a 2+2 degree-completion format requiring students to have completed their non-major coursework prior to beginning their online studies.
Murray State University offers a wide range of online learning options, including 8 bachelor's degrees, 15 master's degrees, 2 certificates and 3 teaching endorsements. 2 doctoral degrees and a general studies associate degree are also available. Fields of study include agriculture, business administration, education, information systems, nursing, public administration and many others. Degree and certificate completion times vary by program, but students should expect to devote a minimum of 6 to 8 hours per week participating in the online learning environment.
The University of Louisville's Online Learning program offers 9 bachelor's and 10 master's degrees, as well as 6 certificates and 3 teaching endorsements, all of which feature coursework that can be completed 100% online. Fields of study include communications, computer science, criminal justice, education, engineering, social work and many more. Length of time required to complete a UL online degree, certificate or endorsement varies by program, but many bachelor's degrees can be completed in as little as 2 years, and some master's programs require as little as 3 semesters. Active-duty military are eligible for tuition discount rates, and tuition assistance is available for both active military and veterans.
Bellarmine University offers online master's programs in Education, Higher Education Leadership and Social Justice, and Health Science (Health Promotion and Social Change track or the Healthcare Leadership track). Educators can also choose Rank 1 post-master's programs to enhance their career prospects. Students complete courses in Moodle and follow the typical semester schedule. Small classes of no more than 25 students highlight the interaction among peers and professors. Online student services include academic and tech support, library and learning resources, and any other services available to on-campus students.
Online options abound at Northern Kentucky University, including programs in business, healthcare, nursing and sociology. Full bachelor's degrees require 120 hours, but might be completed in less than four years, depending upon a student's chosen schedule. Many master's programs require between 30 and 38 credit hours, leading to completion in as little as one year. Multiple start dates and 7-week terms add even more flexibility. Student services offer assistance with advising, tutoring and more, and the Veterans Resource Station helps ensure those who have served can enjoy a streamlined online experience.
Students at Eastern Kentucky University can choose from online degrees in dozens of fields, including some more unique options, such as those in police studies, social intelligence, veterans studies and fire science. Six start dates throughout the year allow for more flexibility, while eight-week courses through the Blackboard learning platform help build a quick, solid educational foundation. Online tutoring and robust resources, as well as dedicated student advisors, round out the assistance offered to distance learners.
With over 100 online degree options, Western Kentucky University covers almost every academic field at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, as well as both undergraduate and graduate certificates. Award-winning online support includes online math and writing labs, tutoring, presentation and success coaching, and much more. This robust support helps students through the rigorous accelerated courses that allow for scheduling flexibility and completion of degree programs in anywhere from two to three years, depending upon the degree level and previous credits brought to WKU.
Through the Office of Adult and Professional Studies at Ashbury University, students can complete their bachelor's degree in education, business, ministry or social work. The fully online programs offer start dates in August, October, January or March. Courses are delivered in an eight-week accelerated format. A generous transfer credit policy helps ensure prior learning is applied to the degree completion, helping students complete their program in two years or less. Set tuition rates plus many scholarship options help bring college within reach for online learners.
Undergraduate students at Lindsey Wilson College can opt for online degrees in business administration, criminal justice, human services and counseling, and nursing (RN to BSN), while graduate students can choose the MBA, counseling and human development or Teacher as Leader programs. Accelerated, eight-week courses allow for flexibility, and the time to completion can be shortened with the application of generous prior learning credits. LWC Online is one of the many reasons Lindsey Wilson College is considered a military-friendly school.
Top Online Associate Schools and Colleges in Kentucky
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How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Kentucky?
With so many options, prospective students should thoroughly research online schools and colleges in Kentucky before choosing a program. The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education provides a list of postsecondary institutions in the state.
How Much More Do College Grads in Kentucky Make?
While no degree guarantees a particular salary, data shows that higher degrees typically lead to greater earning potential. According to PayScale, starting salaries for bachelor's degree-holders in Kentucky range from $33,600 to $51,700, depending on the individual's college and field of study.
The table below illustrates how median annual salaries tend to increase with additional education.
Annual Full-Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
|LESS THAN A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA||HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA||ASSOCIATE DEGREE|
Annual Full-Time and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
|BACHELOR'S DEGREE||MASTER'S DEGREE||DOCTORAL DEGREE|
Paying for Online College in Kentucky: Tuition and Financial Aid
Most students need assistance funding their college education. Learners can explore financial aid options including scholarships, grants, federal and state aid, and student loans.
According to NCES, the average tuition rate for Kentucky colleges during the 2017-2018 academic year was less than the national average. The tables below compare the average costs of in-state and out-of-state tuition in Kentucky to the national averages.
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
|IN-STATE TUITION||OUT-OF-STATE TUITION||NATIONAL AVERAGE|
|$7,924||$20,061||$9,037 (In-State)$25,657 (Out-of-State)|
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
|TUITION||OUT-OF-STATE TUITION||NATIONAL AVERAGE|
Cost Considerations for Online Students in Kentucky
The figures above include only tuition and fees. These numbers do not factor in additional costs, such as transportation and housing costs. Below are some common cost considerations for online learners.
- Residency Requirements
- Some online programs require campus visits during the summer or for part of a semester. Learners may need to pay for room and board during this time.
- Textbook Fees
- Distance education courses typically require physical or digital textbooks. Students should budget for books and other learning materials.
- Technology Fees
- Colleges often charge online learners a technology fee, which may occur once or annually.
- Required Travel
- Some online programs include components that require travel. Learners may need to visit testing centers to take exams or commute to an internship.
- Tuition Agreements
- Some colleges offer reduced tuition rates for distance learners. These discounts often depend on the school's residency requirements, where the student lives, and reciprocity agreements.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Kentucky
In-state learners often pay significantly reduced tuition rates. Some online schools and colleges in Kentucky offer all online students in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency status. Students should contact their school's financial aid office to learn whether they qualify for in-state tuition rates.
Distance learners can also research tuition reciprocity agreements. Kentucky is part of the Academic Common Market, a Southern Regional Education Board program that allows out-of-state students in the Southern United States to receive in-state tuition at participating schools.
Paying for College in Kentucky: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Students can receive financial aid from their university, the government, and independent organizations. Scholarships and grants are ideal forms of tuition assistance since they do not require repayment. The following sections include links to financial aid opportunities for Kentucky students.
Scholarships for Kentucky College Students
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports female undergraduate students in eligible majors. Applicants must be full-time freshmen, sophomores, or juniors who demonstrate leadership ability and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $1,000 to $1,500
Who Can Apply: Applicants must submit transcripts and a short essay about their career goals. Recipients must enroll in a Kentucky postsecondary institution. The committee awards five scholarships each year.
Who Can Apply: The NIADA Foundation offers four scholarships each year to students with accomplishments in education, leadership, and service. Recipients may attend any school.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship helps college students working toward their first training certificate or associate degree. Applicants must be Kentucky residents who have not earned a credential higher than an associate degree.
Amount: Up to $4,000 per year
Who Can Apply: This scholarship program is open to Kentucky high school students who meet academic requirements. Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA and must meet standardized test score requirements.
Amount: $125 to $500
Grants for Kentucky College Students
Who Can Apply: This grant aids students at proprietary schools, public and private colleges, and technical universities. Applicants must be Kentucky residents who demonstrate financial need and attend a qualifying school.
Amount: Up to $2,000
Who Can Apply: This need-based grant helps state residents attend eligible Kentucky private institutions. Applicants must enroll full time in a bachelor's or associate degree program. Each school makes the final decision regarding grant awards.
Amount: Up to $3,000
Who Can Apply: This need-based funding from the federal government does not have a GPA requirement. Each student's grant amount is based on information submitted through their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Who Can Apply: This grant is awarded based solely on financial need. Applicants must enroll as undergraduate students at a U.S. postsecondary institution and must submit the FAFSA form.
Amount: $100 to $4,000
Who Can Apply: This grant assists undergraduate students preparing for careers as educators. Recipients agree to teach in an elementary or secondary school that serves low-income families after graduation.
Amount: Up to $4,000 per year
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Kentucky
Accrediting agencies evaluate institutions and programs to determine whether they meet academic standards. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), approve accrediting agencies and monitor the accreditation process.
Both on-campus and online schools and colleges in Kentucky can earn accreditation. Postsecondary institutions can receive several types of accreditation, including regional or national accreditation.
Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of institutional accreditation. Regional accrediting agencies typically evaluate public institutions. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges awards regional accreditation to Kentucky institutions.
National agencies typically accredit technical and vocational schools. Credits earned from nationally accredited schools do not typically transfer to regionally accredited institutions.
Programs and departments can earn subject-specific accreditation. These specialized accrediting agencies generally comprise professionals and experts in the field. Students can find lists of subject-specific accrediting bodies and accredited programs through the Department of Education database and the CHEA online directory.
Most accredited schools highlight their accreditation status on their website, and degree pages typically include information about programmatic accreditation.
Online College and Adult Education in Kentucky
Online schools and colleges in Kentucky are often convenient options for professionals who want to change or advance their career. The following sections provide key facts about adult education and state initiatives.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Kentucky
Adult Education Programs for Kentucky Students
- Kentucky Skills U
- This free education service supports Kentucky residents pursuing a GED credential. With centers available in every county, this program provides easy access to learning and academic counseling services.
- College Goal Kentucky
- This charitable program helps learners complete their financial aid application. Students receive assistance completing their FAFSA form from financial aid professionals in postsecondary institutions throughout the state.
- Intensive English USA
- This organization helps non-native English speakers improve their writing, reading, and speaking skills. The website helps students find intensive English programs that suit their needs.
Online College Resources for Kentucky Students
The Kentucky state government, the federal government, and independent organizations provide information about the application process and financial aid. The resources below can be beneficial for students researching online schools and colleges in Kentucky.
Kentucky Higher Education Assistance AuthorityKHEAA helps prospective college students plan their education, choose a school, and apply for financial aid. This website provides resources for students of all ages.
Kentucky Department of EducationThe state's education department offers online resources for postsecondary students at Kentucky institutions. The website includes financial aid information, career planning advice, and links to external resources.
KnowHow2GoKYThis website prepares students of all ages for postsecondary education. Learners can find advice regarding financial aid, applications, and transfers. The website also offers information for parents of college students.
Federal Student AidThe federal government offers many financial aid options for college students. This website helps learners research financial aid opportunities and determine which programs they qualify for.
BigFugureBigFuture walks students through the college application process and provides information on standardized tests and financial aid. Students with a login can access all of BigFuture's features.