Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Kentucky. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

All the colleges on this list are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC). This organization is federally recognized and accredits schools in the Southern states. SACSOC accredits based on multiple standards of excellence and uses peer review to ensure quality. A degree from an accredited college is typically professionally recognized, and it can be transferred to another accredited school for continuing education.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Kentucky

Best Online Colleges in Kentucky Badge
Intelligent Pick
University of Louisville
Best Certificate Programs
Eastern Kentucky University
Most Flexible Admissions
Midway University
Best Accelerated Programs
Northern Kentucky University
Best Christian University
Asbury University
Best Student Support Services
Western Kentucky University
Best Financial Aid
University of Kentucky
Best Graduate Degrees
Murray State University
Best Public University
Morehead State University
Best Catholic University
Brescia University

University of the Cumberlands

Kentucky State University

Spalding University

Union College

Kentucky Wesleyan College

Bellarmine University

Campbellsville University

Lindsey Wilson College

Kentucky Christian University

Georgetown College

Thomas More University

University of Pikeville

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Kentucky

Does Kentucky have good online colleges and universities?

Kentucky’s online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs are relatively well-regarded. For instance, U.S. News & World Report ranks Western Kentucky University as No. 35 and University of Louisville as No. 59 in the country for online bachelor’s degrees. At the graduate level, University of the Cumberlands ranks No. 7 in the country for Online Master’s in Criminal Justice; University of Kentucky ranks No. 14 for Online Master’s in Education; and University of Louisville ranks No. 42 for Online MBA. Kentucky also offers online courses, certificates, and degree options through its community college network.

Do online college credits in Kentucky cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Most online degree programs in Kentucky charge the same tuition for in-state and out-of-state students. That’s why an online program can be particularly affordable for out-of-state students. At the community college level, in-state students tend to pay less than out-of-state students.

Why should you choose Kentucky for online higher education?

Kentucky has well-respected online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs that consistently rank toward the top of nationwide comparisons. This tells you that as an online student, you will get a flexible education that does not sacrifice anything in the way of quality. Many of Kentucky’s offerings are also more affordable than those found in other states.

The Cost of Online College in Kentucky

How much does an online degree in Kentucky cost?

The cost of an online degree in Kentucky depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate courses are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Kentucky below:

  • Most affordable online college in Kentucky: University of the Cumberlands, $199 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Kentucky: Morehead State University, $572 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Kentucky to get in-state tuition rates?

Unlike other states, Kentucky does not have a set period (for instance, 12 months) that you must live in the state to establish residency. However, you still must prove you’re in the state for a reason other than education. This requires, for instance, working at least 30 hours per week in Kentucky, taking no college courses (or enrolling in less than six credit hours), and being financially independent.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Kentucky?

Kentucky offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through participation in the Southern Regional Education Board’s Academic Common Market, which enables residents of southern states to pay in-state tuition at institutions located in the south. This can end up saving you thousands, even tens of thousands, on your degree.

In addition, the state sponsors the Kentucky Tuition Grant, which awards need-based aid of $3,200 per year to Kentucky students who attend accredited private universities in the state. It also sponsors the College Access Program Grant, which provides funding to Kentucky students who demonstrate financial need and attend an eligible public or private college or university in the state. The grant provides up to $2,200 per year for students at two-year colleges and up to $2,900 per year for students at four-year universities. Eligibility for these grants is determined based on FAFSA application data, so it’s important to file early and accurately. The FAFSA will also show if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Kentucky

In addition to the Academic Common Market and state-sponsored grants, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Blue Grass Community Foundation Scholarships

This foundation offers a range of scholarships for Kentucky students, with one convenient, streamlined application. Award amounts vary but typically range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more.

Who’s eligible? Kentucky high school seniors who will attend an accredited two- or four-year institution. Specific requirements vary by scholarship.

Contact information: [email protected] | 859-225-3343

Learn more

Nursing Incentive Scholarship

Sponsored by the Kentucky Board of Nursing, this scholarship provides a maximum of $1,500 per semester or $3,000 per year to Kentucky students attending a program that leads to a degree in nursing.

Who’s eligible? Kentucky residents attending approved LPN, ADN, BSN, or graduate nursing programs.

Contact information: Online form | 502-429-3300

Learn more

​​​​​Scholarships Offered to Kentucky Governor’s Scholars

The Governor’s Scholars Program does not offer direct scholarships, but most major universities in Kentucky offer generous funding to Governor’s Scholars. Award amounts range from several thousand dollars per year to full tuition. As of 2018, the average award amount per scholar was $76,841.16.

Who’s eligible? Kentucky Governor’s Scholars who attend eligible universities in the state that offer special funding to Governor’s Scholars.

Contact information: Online form | 502-209-4420

Learn more

Teacher Scholarship Program

This state-sponsored program awards need-based funding to students planning to teach in an accredited school in Kentucky upon graduation. This is a service-obligation scholarship program, meaning that you must commit to teaching in a Kentucky public school for a set number of semesters (one for each semester during which you received the scholarship) upon earning your degree. The scholarship program awards up to $2,500 per semester.

Who’s eligible? Kentucky residents who attend an accredited institution in Kentucky and are earning a teaching degree at the bachelor’s or master’s level. Funding is need-based, so you must also demonstrate financial need.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-928-8926

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Careers in Kentucky

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Kentucky can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections 2018–2028, we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Kentucky:

​​Insurance Sales Agents

As the name suggests, insurance sales agents identify, contact, and recruit new clients to insure. In addition to sales, their work may include marketing, risk assessment, interviewing potential clients, and educating prospective clients on different policy options. Although most states only require insurance sales agents to have a high school diploma and insurance license, many companies prefer to hire candidates with at least an associate or bachelor’s degree. In Kentucky, insurance sales agents make an average salary of $57,620. Their compensation is often tied to their sales.

Software Developers, Applications

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers, especially app developers, are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high, with software developers earning an average salary of $97,810 per year in Kentucky.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Veterinary technologists and technicians are trained to assist veterinary doctors in their animal care. In Kentucky, veterinary techs earn an average annual salary of $31,520.

  • Growth: 25.7%
  • Degree options: Associate or Bachelor’s in Veterinary Technology, Associate or Bachelor’s in Animal Science

Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Across the nation, demand for health professionals is on the rise due to the country’s aging population and increased prevalence of chronic and acute disease. Kentucky is no exception. In addition to clinical practitioners, the state also needs qualified health professionals who can teach students to become doctors, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, etc. In Kentucky, health specialties professors earn an average annual salary of $101,940.

  • Projected growth: 25.4%
  • Degree options: Master of Public Health, Master of Nursing Science, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Veterinary Science, Doctor of Nursing, Doctor of Dentistry, doctorates in other health-related fields

Personal Care Aides

As Kentucky’s population ages and chronic and acute medical conditions become more prevalent, the state is in increasing need of personal care aides to assist patients, often older adults or disabled people, with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. In Kentucky, personal care aides make an average annual salary of $29,200.