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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.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Kentucky

Best Online Colleges in Kentucky Badge

Midway University

Asbury University

University of Louisville

Eastern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University

Murray State University

Morehead State University

University of Kentucky

Brescia University

University of the Cumberlands

Kentucky State University

Campbellsville University

Spalding University

Union College

Bellarmine University

Lindsey Wilson College

Kentucky Wesleyan College

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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 University of Kentucky as No. 49 in the country for best online bachelor’s degree programs. At the graduate level, University of the Cumberlands ranks No. 10 for Online Master’s in Criminal Justice; University of Kentucky ranks No. 11 for Online Master’s in Special Education; and University of Louisville ranks No. 49 for Online Master’s in Business Administration. Kentucky also offers online courses, certificates, and degree options through its community college network.

That said, there are many excellent online college programs available in other states as well. If you’re open to attending a school that’s located in another state, check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges. In addition to showing you the top 30 options in the entire United States for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

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 (though 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: University of Kentucky, $595 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?

The requirements for in-state tuition in Kentucky vary by school. To access these discounted rates, you will likely need to prove that you’re in the state for a reason other than education for a certain period of time. This requires, for instance, working at least 30 hours per week in Kentucky 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 up to $3,300 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 — this grant provides up to $2,500 per year for students at two-year colleges and up to $5,300 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 $5,000.

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

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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

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Governor’s Scholars Program

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

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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

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Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries 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 (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Kentucky:

Nurse Practitioners

NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with an emphasis on preventative care and health education. They are quickly becoming many Americans’ preferred primary care professionals. NPs tend to be well-compensated; in Kentucky, they earn an average salary of $109,290.

Home Health and Personal Care Aides

As Kentucky’s population ages, 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 $30,150.

Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Demand for health professionals is on the rise due to Kentucky’s aging population and increased prevalence of chronic and acute disease. 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 $104,150.

  • Growth: 22%
  • 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

Software Developers and Testers

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers and testers are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high — in Kentucky, software developers earn an average salary of $103,980, and software testers make $78,030.

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 $34,010.

  • Growth: 12.1%
  • Degree options: Associate or Bachelor’s in Veterinary Technology, Associate or Bachelor’s in Animal Science

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