Best Colleges in Kentucky

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The state of Kentucky is known for several things, including high-quality bourbon, college basketball, and horse racing. Of course, those from other states may know Kentucky best for Colonel Sanders’ famous fried chicken. It’s no surprise that many graduating high school students may want to attend one of the best colleges in Kentucky, as besides sports and chicken, the state is also home to many prestigious institutions.

Some of the best colleges in Kentucky include the University of Kentucky in Lexington, the University of Louisville, and Centre College. There are a variety of private and public institutions, as well as many liberal arts colleges students can choose from. When looking for the colleges in Kentucky that fit students the best, students should consider factors like location, student body size, student-faculty ratio, and other aspects of student life.

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best public colleges in Kentucky

Best Public Colleges in Kentucky

University of Kentucky- This well-rounded public institution is unique in that it offers many full programs in a variety of niche fields. The University of Kentucky is one of eight colleges in America with a complete liberal arts, engineering, professional, agricultural, and medical program. Students who aren’t yet sure what they want to study will have many options open to them at this school. The student-to-faculty ratio is 11 to 1, meaning students will be able to participate in small class sizes, and most agree that professors work hard to teach their classes well.

With an acceptance rate of 96%, aspiring students should aim to have SAT scores of 1070 and 1280. Students who prefer the ACT should aim for a score of 22 points to 29 points. The average cost per year is $19,831. Most students will receive financial aid, and the average amount is $11,791. Some of the most popular majors at the University of Kentucky are communications, marketing, business, and nursing.

University of Louisville- Situated in the largest metropolitan area of Kentucky, the University of Louisville is a research university supported by the state. It transitioned from being a municipally supported public institution to becoming part of the university system in 1970. The University comprises three campuses. The Belknap Campus is spread over 287 acres, located three miles from downtown Louisville and home to eight of the university's 12 colleges and schools.

The University of Louisville (UofL) community comprises a diverse and academically exceptional student body, world-class faculty, pioneering researchers, successful alumni, and passionate fans. UofL takes pride in its inclusive and accomplished community. Additionally, the university maintains an acceptance rate of 75%.

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Best Private Colleges in Kentucky

Centre College- Indisputably one of the best colleges in Kentucky, this private institution located in Danville is known for its high-quality liberal arts education. With a student body of 1,333 undergraduate students, this school is on the smaller side. Students who attend Centre College also have access to a well-designed study abroad program that allows students to visit a variety of different countries for a global education. Some of the most popular majors among Center College students are economics, physiological psychology, international studies, and biology.

As a slightly more expensive college, the average year of tuition after deducting financial aid is $22,748. Centre College provides financial aid to 100% of students, and the average amount supplied is $33,999. This school has a high graduation rate of 83% and a high employment rate that records 93% of students finding employment two years after graduating. Six years after graduation, alumni can expect a yearly salary of around $45,500.

Bellarmine University- Located in Louisville, this private institution has a student body of 2,407 undergraduate students. The smaller student population allows for smaller class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 9 to 1. Some of the most popular majors at Bellarmine University are nursing, psychology, communications, and business. The acceptance rate for this university is 82%, meaning students should aim to score between a 1020 and 1280 on the SAT if they hope to attend Bellarmine University. On the ACT, this should translate from 21 points to 28 points.

The average cost per year after factoring in financial aid is $24,425. The typical amount of aid offered to a student annually is $32,626, and 100% of students will receive financial aid. 64% of Bellarmine University students will graduate, and 95% will be employed two years after completing their degree. Bellarmine University alumni can expect to earn around $45,700 per year.

Transylvania University- Another private institution ranked as one of the best colleges in Kentucky, the Transylvania University location in Lexington is a big draw for many students. Lexington is rated as the top safest city in America and is also the second-best city for new graduates to live in. The most popular majors among Transylvania University students are accounting, biology, psychology, and business.

With an acceptance rate of 92%, this university is less selective. Students with an SAT score of between 1070 and 1270 are likely to be admitted, as well as students with an ACT score of between 24 points and 30 points. After accounting for financial aid, a year's tuition will cost $26,054.The average amount of aid awarded to a student per year is $27,601, and 100% of students will receive financial aid.

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Best Community Colleges in Kentucky

Owensboro Community and Technical College- This two-year public institution has an acceptance rate of 100%. Some of the most popular majors at Owensboro Community and Technical College are liberal arts and humanities, electrician, welding, and information science. Many of the programs at this school are focused on occupational training, which may appeal to many students who want a clear path into the workforce.

The net cost of a year at this institution is $6,936, after deducting financial aid offers. The average amount of financial aid awarded to students annually is $5,667, and 98% of students will receive financial aid. 44% of Owensboro Community and Technical College students go on to graduate, and of those students, 85% are employed within two years of leaving school. The typical amount an alumni can expect to earn six years after graduating is $27,300.

Murray State University- Some of the more popular majors at this school are liberal arts and humanities, veterinary technician and assistant, business, and agriculture. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14 to 1, and the acceptance rate is 77%. Students should aim for an SAT score of between 1020 and 1230 points or an ACT score of between 21 points and 27 points.

The average cost of a year’s tuition at Murray State University is $11,628, after accounting for financial aid awarded. Nearly all students will receive financial aid, and the amount of aid that is typically awarded is $11,892 per year. This public institution has a graduation rate of 53%, and of those graduates, 93% will find employment two years after graduating.

Best Business Colleges in Kentucky

Midway University- This private institution offers over 20 programs for students to choose from. Some of the most popular majors at Midway University are nursing, business, psychology, equine studies, and sports and fitness management. Approximately 73% of students who apply will be accepted. Prospective students should aim to score between 990 and 1170 on the SAT or between 18 points and 24 points on the ACT.

The total cost of a year at Midway University is $24,781, after deducting financial aid awarded. Impressively, 100% of students will receive some kind of financial aid. The average amount of financial aid awarded is $16,857. About half of Midway University students will graduate, and 89% of those students will be employed within two years of graduating.

Georgetown College- This four-year private institution has a somewhat competitive acceptance rate of 72%. Georgetown College students' most popular majors include psychology, business, communications, and biology. Prospective students should aim for between 1040 and 1280 on the SAT or between 21 points and 27 points on the ACT.

The average year cost at Georgetown College is $28,056, after considering financial aid and scholarships. The typical amount of aid awarded to a single student in one year is $35,689, which is much higher than the national average of $7,535 in financial aid. The graduation rate at Georgetown College is 56%, and of those students, 93% will be employed two years after graduating.

colleges in kentucky

Best Colleges in Kentucky for Criminal Justice

Kentucky Wesleyan College- With a small student population, the student-faculty ratio is 15 to 1. Some of the most popular majors at Kentucky Wesleyan College are business, zoology and entomology, psychology, and health service preparatory studies. 62% of students that apply to this school will be accepted, so prospective students should aim for an SAT score of between 910 and 1090 or an ACT score of between 18 points and 25 points.

The average cost of a year at Kentucky Wesleyan College is $19,348, after accounting for financial aid given to students. 100% of students will receive financial aid, and the average amount of aid received is $20,662 per year. The graduation rate is 38%, and 94% of those students will have found employment two years after graduating. A Kentucky Wesleyan College alumni can expect a salary of around $36,700 per year after six years of experience in the workforce.

Eastern Kentucky University- This public institution has an acceptance rate of 98%. Some of the most popular majors among Eastern Kentucky University students are liberal arts and humanities, nursing, psychology, and criminal justice and law enforcement administration. In this mid-size institution, the student-faculty ratio is 15 to 1.

Prospective students should aim for an SAT score of between 950 and 1170 or an ACT score of between 19 and 25 points. After deducting financial aid, one year at Eastern Kentucky University will cost about $14,151. 99% of students receive an average of $9,729 in financial aid packages. 45% of students will graduate, and after two years, 905 of those students will be employed. After working for six years, Eastern Kentucky University students can expect a salary of around $36,100 per year.

Best Colleges in Kentucky for Education

Western Kentucky University- This public institution has a student-faculty ratio of 17 to 1. Some of the most popular majors among Western Kentucky University students are nursing, business, liberal arts and humanities, and elementary education. The acceptance rate is 97%, which means students should shoot for an SAT score of between 980 and 1180 or an ACT score of between 19 and 26.

A year of tuition at Western Kentucky University will cost about $12,705 after receiving financial aid. 98% of students will receive some form of financial assistance, and on average, students will receive $7,987 in aid per year. 52% of students will graduate, and of those graduates, 91% of students will be employed within two years. The median income for an alumni of Western Kentucky University after six years of experience is $34,700.

Northern Kentucky University- This public institution in Highland Heights has a student-faculty ratio of 12 to 1. Some of the most popular majors at this school include business, nursing, organizational behavior studies, and liberal arts and humanities. 87% of students who apply to Northern Kentucky University will be admitted, so students should aim for an SAT score of between 960 and 1190. For students who prefer the ACT, aim for 20 points to 26 points.

After accounting for financial assistance packages, the net price of a year at this institution is $9,664. The average amount of aid given to a student is $9,636 per year, and 99% of students will receive financial aid. 47% of students graduate, and within two years, 93% of those students will be employed. A Northern Kentucky University alumni with six years of experience can expect a salary of around $37,500 per year.

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Best Colleges in Kentucky for Pre-Med

Alice Lloyd College- This private institution in Pippa Passes has a student body of just 565 students and a competitive admissions rate of 21%. As a result of the small class size, the student-faculty ratio is 18 to 1, meaning students will have ample opportunity to get to know their professors. The top majors at Alice Lloyd College are biology, kinesiology, exercise science, and accounting. Prospective students should aim for an SAT score of between 860 and 1000 or an ACT score of between 16 and 21 points.

One year of tuition costs an average of $15,196 after considering financial aid packages. 96% of students will receive financial aid, and the typical amount of aid offered is $10,241 per year. Alice Lloyd College graduates 35% of enrolled students, and of the students that graduate, 85% are employed two years after they obtain their degrees. Alumni of this private school can expect to earn about $31,700 per year for six years after leaving Alice Lloyd College.

Berea College- Berea College is dedicated to serving students with boundless potential but facing financial constraints. Berea College stands apart from other institutions by addressing this challenge through a unique funding model. Unlike traditional colleges that heavily rely on tuition as a primary revenue source, Berea College covers every student's tuition through fundraising efforts.

At Berea College, every student is actively involved in campus employment, dedicating a minimum of 10 hours per week to work in one of our 130+ departments. Furthermore, over 60% of Berea College students actively engage in the Berea Patrons program. Through this initiative, students willingly allocate a portion of their earnings—typically around $3 per paycheck—to support the College's mission of providing a no-tuition promise for every student.

Best Colleges in Kentucky for Nursing

Lindsey Wilson College- This private institution has a student-faculty ratio of 14 to 1. Some of the most popular majors among Lindsey Wilson College students are human services, business, communications, and nursing. With an acceptance rate of 100%, students will have some leeway in both their SAT and ACT scores.

One year of tuition costs about $14,647 after deducting financial aid. An average of $23,701 is given to students in financial aid each year. 100% of students will receive financial aid. The graduation rate at Lindsey Willson College is 40%, and 85% of students will be employed after two years in the workforce. Alumni of Lindsey Wilson College can expect a salary of around $28,800 after gaining six years of experience.

Spalding University- This small, private institution has a student-faculty ratio of 6 to 1. The Spalding University in Louisville has a lot to offer students as well, as the suburban area has a variety of shops and parks. Some of the most popular majors at this school include nursing, health service preparatory studies, psychology, and business.

The price of a year at Spalding University is $23,003 after considering financial assistance. 99% of students will receive some form of financial assistance from the university, and the typical amount of aid given to a student is $15,153.

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Best Colleges for Psychology in Kentucky

University of Louisville- The student to faculty ratio is 9 to 1, allowing students to experience smaller class sizes. Some of the more popular majors include nursing, communications, psychology, and marketing. As one of the best colleges in Kentucky, the acceptance rate is more competitive at 65%.

The typical SAT window for the University of Louisville is 1050 to 1270. For the ACT, the equivalent is 21 points to 28 points. The average cost of a year’s tuition after financial aid is applied is $17,894, and 98% of students will receive an average of $11,709 in financial aid.

Best Art Colleges in Kentucky

Asbury University- This private Christian university is one of the smaller colleges in Kentucky. Some popular majors among Asbury University students are business, radio and television, elementary education, and kinesiology and exercise science.

The acceptance rate is 75%, and most Asbury University students who are admitted have an SAT score between 1080 and 1320. For students that prefer the ACT, 21 points to 28 points should be an adequate score.

The total cost of a year’s tuition at Asbury University is $23,086, after financial aid has been deducted. 100% of students will receive financial aid, and the typical amount of aid awarded is $19,824. Of the students that attend Asbury University, 64% will graduate, and 90% of graduates will be employed within two years of graduating.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What college is free in Kentucky?

Berea College stands apart from other institutions as the first integrated, co-educational college in the South. Since 1892, it has distinguished itself by not charging students any tuition fees.

Where does Kentucky rank in education?

According to the U.S. News & World Report, Kentucky holds the 32nd position in higher education rankings. While being ranked 32nd reflects the overall performance of Kentucky's higher education system, it's important to note that rankings can be influenced by numerous factors and methodologies employed by different ranking organizations.

Kentucky's higher education landscape offers a diverse range of institutions, including public universities, private colleges, community colleges, and technical schools. These institutions play a crucial role in equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary for their future careers. The state has made efforts to improve its educational offerings and provide accessible opportunities for students from all backgrounds.

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