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Online Colleges in Kentucky

Most Affordable Online Colleges
School Interviews
Misty Hanks
- Director of Distance Education & Instructional Design, Morehead State University
"Morehead State has both graduate and undergraduate online programs and is committed to providing rigorous degree and certificate programs that support working adults."
See entire interview

Introduction

Kentucky is making significant strides in web-based education, earning a "B" for innovation in online learning in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's 2012 Leaders & Laggards Report. Boosting higher education through online alternatives could be a boon to the state's economy.

According to the 2012 Chamber of Commerce report, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is home to eight public four-year institutions and 16 public two-year colleges, some of which are online colleges. Kentucky Virtual Campus has information on a wide selection of online degrees, courses and certificates available to students in the state. Participants include Northern Kentucky University, Midway College, Western Kentucky University and University of Kentucky. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System Online offers information about two-year programs that can be taken online, and in 2013, this included courses at about 16 colleges across the state.

There are 4.3 million residents of Kentucky, and more than 80 percent of those older than 25 have earned a high school diploma. Of that group, 8.5 percent have a graduate or professional degree; 12.5 percent have a bachelor's degree; and 27 percent have an associate degree or have attended some college.

The 1.7 million workers in the state of Kentucky earn an average hourly wage of $19, which equates to an average annual income of $39,520. Those workers who are looking to improve their marketability by earning a bachelor's degree can choose from 50 colleges and universities in Kentucky.

Most Affordable Colleges in Kentucky

The following list ranks schools in Kentucky that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the actual degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, accreditation and notable alumni. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2014-2015) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.

1

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College

Tuition/Year
$3,456
Graduation Rate
20%
# of Online Degrees
NA
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

Southcentral Kentucky offers a varying number of online classes each spring, fall and summer term. There are classes in math, science, computers and a wide variety of topics. During registration and add/drop periods, the list of available classes is updated on a daily basis, saving you time and aggravation.
School Website: 
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2

Gateway Community and Technical College

Tuition/Year
$3,536
Graduation Rate
34%
# of Online Degrees
NA
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

At Gateway, online classes are fully accredited, fulfill many degree requirements and are offered in 5, 8, 10 and 12-week options. Classes are offered in a full array of subjects, including history, writing, business and math.
School Website: 
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3

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College

Tuition/Year
$3,600
Graduation Rate
25%
# of Online Degrees
38
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

Southeast Kentucky invites students to "get a degree from your living room" by taking online classes through its own curriculum or by signing up for any of the 1,100 online classes offered through the Kentucky Virtual Campus. The school's Learn by Term program offers online Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree programs in a wide variety of subjects.
School Website: 
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4

Kentucky State University

Tuition/Year
$6,276
Graduation Rate
18%
# of Online Degrees
7
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

KSU offers Bachelor's degree programs online in the areas of Applied Information Technology; Criminal Justice; Psychology; and Public Administration. Its Master's degree programs are in Aquaculture and Special Education, and it also has a doctoral program in Nursing Practice.
School Website: 
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5

Murray State University

Tuition/Year
$7,044
Graduation Rate
53%
# of Online Degrees
7
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

For 24 straight years Murray State University has been recognized by "U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges" as one of the top regional universities in the United States. It's continuing its high academic standards with its online degree programs in Kentucky. It online undergraduate programs are offered in Business Administration; Computer Information Systems; Integrated Studies; Logistics and Supply Chain Management; Nursing; and Telecommunications Systems Management. Its Master's degree programs are offered in Business Administration; Human Development and Leadership; Information systems; Library Media; Occupational Safety and Health; Public Administration; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages; Nursing; and Telecommunications Management. It also offers a doctorate in Nursing Practice.
School Website: 
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6

Kentucky Mountain Bible College

Tuition/Year
$7,140
Graduation Rate
78%
# of Online Degrees
4
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

It may not be big, but it has lofty aspirations. Kentucky Mountain Bible College offers online classes for both personal enrichment and for college credit, including courses on English Bible Survey; Foundations of Faith; Theology of Holiness; and Acts. The school is located in the beautiful eastern Kentucky region, and it boasts a student-faculty ratio of 6 to 1.
School Website: 
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7

Morehead State University

Tuition/Year
$7,498
Graduation Rate
40%
# of Online Degrees
30
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

U.S. News & World Report has named Morehead State University one of the top public universities in the South for 11 straight years. Like other schools in Kentucky, Morehead specializes in "completer" degree programs for students who have an Associate's degree and want to study online to earn their Bachelor's degree. These degree completion programs are offered in Accounting; Leadership in Medical Imaging; General Studies; General Business; Professional Studies; Small Business Management; Nursing; Technology Management; and Computer Information Systems. Other fully online Bachelor's degrees are offered in Accounting; Business Administration-Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Track; Business Administration-General Business track; Computer Information Systems; General Business; Leadership in Medical Imaging; Nursing; Technology Management; and University Studies. Its online Master's degree programs include Adult and Higher Education; Educational Technology; Educational Technology, Rank I; English; Adult and Higher Education; Management Information Systems; Master of Business Administration; Business Administration-Health Systems Management Track; Teaching; Social Science; and Wellness Promotion.
School Website: 
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8

Eastern Kentucky University

Tuition/Year
$7,536
Graduation Rate
39%
# of Online Degrees
41
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Eastern Kentucky notes that the same respected faculty who teach on campus are also leading the school's online degree programs in Kentucky. The school offers six start dates each year, making its wide selection of online degree programs more available to students in Kentucky, around the country, and the world. Its Associate degree programs include General Studies, General Studies degree completion; Paralegal Studies; Law Enforcement; and Police Studies. Its 18 undergraduate degrees range from Fire Science to Occupational Safety, and its online Master's degree offerings run the gamut from Construction Management to Instructional Leadership.
School Website: 
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9

Northern Kentucky University

Tuition/Year
$8,376
Graduation Rate
38%
# of Online Degrees
15
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Northern Kentucky is located just 7 miles outside of Cincinnati in Highland Heights, Kentucky, in a growing and friendly suburban campus. But what is drawing many students to Northern Kentucky is its online degree programs. NKU offers Bachelor's degrees in Communication Studies; Criminal Justice; History; Integrative Studies; Organizational Leadership; Business Informatics; Health Science; Library Informatics; and Nursing. Its online Master's degrees include Education Teacher Leadership; Nursing; Health Informatics; Health Science; and Education Specialist. It also offers a doctorate in Nursing Practice.
School Website: 
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10

Western Kentucky University

Tuition/Year
$8,722
Graduation Rate
44%
# of Online Degrees
33
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Western Kentucky offers a full range of online degree programs in Kentucky, including two-year, four-year and postgraduate degrees. The schools three online Associate degree programs include Early Childhood Education; Interdisciplinary Studies; and Water Resource Management. It's Bachelor's degree programs offered online include Sociology; Family and Consumer Sciences (with concentrations on Child Studies and Family Studies; Organizational Leadership; and Interdisciplinary Studies. It also offers degree completion programs for students with an Associate's degree or some college credit. These "2+2" degree programs include Computer Information Technology; Dental Hygiene; Environmental Health Science; Business Administration; Nursing; Systems Management; and Technology Management. It's 22 Master's degrees offered online run the gamut from Criminology to Sports Media and Branding.
School Website: 
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11

University of Louisville

Tuition/Year
$9,946
Graduation Rate
53%
# of Online Degrees
17
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

All of the University of Louisville's online degree programs are nationally recognized and fully accredited, making online degree programs in Kentucky available to residents of other states and countries. At Louisville, online undergraduate degrees are offered in Nursing; Organizational Leadership and Learning; Justice Administration; Communication (Arts); and Communication (Science). Master's degrees online are offered in Justice Administration; Social Work; Human Resource Leadership (with an emphasis in either Human Resource Leadership or Workplace Learning and Performance); Engineering Management; Civil Engineering; Computer Science; Higher Education; and Special Education (with concentrations in Moderate and Severe Disabilities, Learning and Behavioral Disorders, Autism, and Assistive Technology).
School Website: 
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12

University of Kentucky

Tuition/Year
$10,110
Graduation Rate
62%
# of Online Degrees
4
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Although UK offers both Bachelor's, Master's and certificate programs through hybrid programs that combine online classes with face-to-face meetings on the Lexington campus, its fully online programs are only offering Master's degrees. These Master's degrees include Library and Information Science; Manufacturing Systems Engineering; Arts Administration; and Rehabilitation Counseling.
School Website: 
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13

Frontier Nursing University

Tuition/Year
$13,970
Graduation Rate
NA
# of Online Degrees
17
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Although Frontier, in Hyden, Kentucky, offers online classes in such programs as Nurse-Midwifery; Family Nurse Practitioner; Women's Health NP; Doctor of Nursing Practice; Postmaster's DNP; and Nursing, the school emphasizes "community-based education." After students come to campus for an orientation period, they return to their respective communities to learn at their own pace. Faculty deliver classes online and through computer forums, email, chats, video or audio lectures and interactive sessions.
School Website: 
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14

Daymar College-Paducah Main

Tuition/Year
$18,000
Graduation Rate
32%
# of Online Degrees
13
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Daymar College has campuses in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee but it also offers a variety of programs online leading to associate and bachelor's degrees. These programs include Accounting; Business Management; Criminal Justice; Criminal Justice Administration; Billing & Coding Specialist; Healthcare Administration; Medical Assisting; Nursing; and Pharmacy Technology. For each of its programs, Daymar tracks and reports on its website how long each program takes, how much it costs and what percentage of graduates went on to get jobs in that field.
School Website: 
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15

Kentucky Wesleyan College

Tuition/Year
$21,200
Graduation Rate
38%
# of Online Degrees
3
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Kentucky Wesleyan College offers three bachelor's of science degrees in Business Administration; Criminal Justice and Criminology; and General Studies. The school prides itself on the accomplishments of its online graduates, many of whom go on to study at prestigious graduate and professional schools. KWC is also proud of its faculty; more than 80 percent hold doctorates or terminal degrees.
School Website: 
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16

Midway College

Tuition/Year
$22,150
Graduation Rate
52%
# of Online Degrees
8
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Midway is a private college founded in 1847, but despite its rich history, it has made a name for itself by embracing modern technology in order to bring a variety of online degree programs to a broad spectrum of learners both within the state and elsewhere. It offers Associate degrees in Business and Medical Assisting, and online Bachelor's degrees in Elementary/Middle School Education; Healthcare Administration; Interdisciplinary Studies; Psychology; and Public Safety Administration. In addition, if offers an online Master's degree in Business Administration.
School Website: 
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17

Campbellsville University

Tuition/Year
$22,196
Graduation Rate
44%
# of Online Degrees
14
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Campbellsville, rated one of the top Christian universities in the country, offers a broad range of Associate, undergraduate and graduate degree programs entirely online. The school has been operating since 1906, and admits students from more than 35 countries, making both online and face-to-face classes diverse and exciting. Associate degrees are offered in General Studies; Criminal Justice; Christian Studies; Business Administration (with a Management or Human Resource Management emphasis); and Nursing. Bachelor's degrees are offered in Business; Criminal Justice; and Nursing. Master's degrees online are offered in Business Administration; Special Education; Education Online; Online Teaching; Theology; Teacher Leadership in Special Education; and School Improvement.
School Website: 
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School Interviews

Misty Hanks, Director of Distance Education & Instructional Design, Morehead State University

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Morehead?

Morehead State has both graduate and undergraduate online programs and is committed to providing rigorous degree and certificate programs that support working adults. Our English master's degree program was rated ninth best by OnlineMastersPrograms.org. Our School of Business Administration was ranked in the 2015 rankings of the Top 50 Best Value Online Business Schools by Value Colleges and in Military Times' "Best For Vets: Business Schools 2015."

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Online degree programs offer the student a lot of flexibility but that does not mean that you do not need some kind of structure to be successful. I would recommend that an online student set aside time to work on schoolwork -- put it on your calendar. It is like they tell us about making time for exercise -- put it on your calendar and make it a priority. When I was working on an online degree the only time I could carve out for my studies was 5-6 a.m. I worked for one hour every day before going to work. I used my lunch hours to read textbooks, read a journal article, or proofread assignments. That work time adds up to 10 hours a week!

Also important is having a dedicated place to do your school work. If you do not have an office or a desk, then at a minimum, keep all your school materials in the same backpack. Keep everything you need together so that you don't waste time chasing down materials. Time is a precious commodity for everyone. Keeping your school materials all together helps you avoid needless searching and lets you use every minute learning.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

I think that most people have this vision of online learning as a very specific thing. Many think it is only about asynchronous communication and not as dynamic as a traditional face-to-face classroom. I think online learning will be a term that evolves to include a very broad spectrum of teaching and learning practices that can't be pigeon-holed. I think the idea that there is online learning, hybrid learning, and face-to-face learning is too limited. I think the lines between all three will be blurred and we'll add new technologies, tools, practices and approaches. I see online learning growing and I don't mean enrollment.

Top Cities For Students In Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Mean Wage

$42,210

Average Cost of a House

$235,424

# of Employed People

610,000

Total Population

750,000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$46,016

Economics

With nearly 610,000 workers, Louisville is the economic hub of the state of Kentucky. Workers there earn an average of $20.25 an hour, just above the state average, for an annual average income of $42,210. The Cost of Living Index for Louisville is 91.7, and the average cost of a house is $235,424.

Demographics

With more than 750,000 people living in the metropolitan area surrounding Louisville, this region supplies about a third of the state's workforce. The residents of the city of Louisville are slightly better educated than residents in the rest of the state. Of those older than 25, nearly 11 percent have a graduate or professional degree and nearly 16 percent have a bachelor's degree.

Fun Facts

Nothing says Kentucky like horse racing, so many visitors to the city make sure to visit Churchill Downs race track. Other popular sites include the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, the Kentucky Derby Museum, and the Louisville Zoo.

Lexington, Kentucky

Mean Wage

$41,000

Average Cost of a House

NA

# of Employed People

250,000

Total Population

300,000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$44,647

Economics

The metropolitan area of Lexington, home of the University of Kentucky, has 250,000 workers, and they earn on average $19.79 per hour for an annual income of about $41,000. The average cost of a home in Lexington is $209,034, and the Cost of Living Index is 89.6.

Demographics

Lexington provides about 15 percent of the state's workforce. Not surprisingly, it is one of better educated pockets in the state. Here, nearly one in five residents has a graduate or professional degree, and nearly one in four has a bachelor's degree. About 28 percent have attended college or earned an associate degree in Lexington.

Fun Facts

Lexington, of course, is a hotbed for college basketball, so during the college season visitors like to get in to see the perennially powerful Wildcats play in Rupp Arena. There is also a lot of history to see here, including the Mary Todd Lincoln House, the Kentucky Theater, and the Hunt-Morgan House.

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Mean Wage

$37,370

Average Cost of a House

$250,200

# of Employed People

60,000

Total Population

60,000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$36,927

Economics

Bowling Green's nearly 60,000 workers earn well under the state average. The average hourly pay is $17.97, and average annual pay is $37,370. The Cost of Living Index in Bowling Green is 89.6, and the average cost of a house is $250,200.

Demographics

Of the 32,000 residents of Bowling Green who are older than 25, 11 percent have a graduate or professional degree, 17 percent have a bachelor's degree and 27 percent have attended some college or earned an associate degree. The city provides just 3 percent of the state's workforce.

Fun Facts

Bowling Green has several significant points of interest for a town of its size. There is, for example, the Lost River Cave, Kentucky's only underground boat tour; Beech Bend Park; and the National Corvette Museum. Bowling Green is also home to Corsair Distillery, which gives visitors a taste of Kentucky's rich distilling history.

 
Other Kentucky Resources

  1. Campbellsville University, http://campbellsvillegps.com/online-education
  2. Daymar College, http://online.daymarcollege.edu/programs
  3. Eastern Kentucky University, http://ekuonline.eku.edu/earn-bachelors-degree-online
  4. Frontier Nursing University, http://www.frontier.edu/academics
  5. Fun things to Do in Louisville, http://www.gotolouisville.com/play/tours-itineraries/family-children/index.aspx
  6. Gateway Community and Technical College, http://www.gateway.kctcs.edu/en/Academics/Online_Learning/Online_Course_Schedule.aspx
  7. Kentucky Mountain Bible College, http://www.kmbc.edu/OnlineLearning
  8. Kentucky Mountain Bible College, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Mountain_Bible_College#Notable_alumni
  9. Kentucky State University, http://kysu.edu/academics/distance-education/online-degree-programs/
  10. Kentucky Wesleyan College, http://online.kwc.edu/
  11. Kentucky Wesleyan College, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Wesleyan_College#Notable_alumni
  12. List of University of Kentucky alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Kentucky_alumni
  13. List of University of Louisville People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Louisville_people
  14. List of Western Kentucky University People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Western_Kentucky_University_people
  15. Misty Hanks, interview with the author, April 2015
  16. Morehead State University, http://www.moreheadstate.edu/complete/?terms=online%20degree%20programs
  17. Murray State University, http://murraystate.net/distancelearning/programsdegrees/
  18. Northern Kentucky University, http://nkuonline.nku.edu/onlineprograms/programs.html
  19. Notable Alumni Campbellsville University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbellsville_University#Notable_alumni
  20. Notable Alumni Eastern Kentucky University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Kentucky_University#Notable_alumni
  21. Notable Alumni Kentucky State University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_State_University#Notable_alumni
  22. Notable Alumni Moorehead State University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morehead_State_University#Notable_alumni
  23. Notable Alumni Murray State University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_State_University#Notable_alumni
  24. Notable Alumni Northern Kentucky University, http://alumniconnect.nku.edu/?page=notablealumni
  25. Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, https://southcentral.kctcs.edu/en/kctcshome/Students/LearnByTerm/Online_Courses.aspx
  26. Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, http://southeast.kctcs.edu/Academics/Distance_Learning.aspx
  27. Things to do in Lexington, http://www.10best.com/destinations/kentucky/lexington/
  28. U.S. Census Bureau: American Factfinder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF
  29. University of Kentucky, http://www.uky.edu/DistanceLearning/current/programs/online.html
  30. University of Louisville, http://louisville.edu/online/programs/bachelors
  31. Western Kentucky University, http://www.wku.edu/online/bachelors/index.php