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Online Colleges in Kentucky

Most Affordable Online Colleges
Article Sources

Sources:

  1. Eastern Kentucky University, http://ekuonline.eku.edu/earn-bachelors-degree-online
  2. Fun things to Do in Louisville, http://www.gotolouisville.com/play/tours-itineraries/family-children/index.aspx
  3. Gateway Community and Technical College, http://www.gateway.kctcs.edu/en/Academics/Online_Learning/Online_Course_Schedule.aspx
  4. Kentucky Mountain Bible College, http://www.kmbc.edu/OnlineLearning
  5. Kentucky State University, http://kysu.edu/academics/distance-education/online-degree-programs/
  6. Misty Hanks, interview with the author, April 2015
  7. Morehead State University, http://www.moreheadstate.edu/complete/?terms=online%20degree%20programs
  8. Murray State University, http://murraystate.net/distancelearning/programsdegrees/
  9. Northern Kentucky University, http://nkuonline.nku.edu/onlineprograms/programs.html
  10. Regional Accrediting Organizations 2016-2017, Council for Higher Education Accreditation,  accessed January 2017, http://www.chea.org/Directories/regional.asp
  11. Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, https://southcentral.kctcs.edu/en/kctcshome/Students/LearnByTerm/Online_Courses.aspx
  12. Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, http://southeast.kctcs.edu/Academics/Distance_Learning.aspx
  13. Things to do in Lexington, http://www.10best.com/destinations/kentucky/lexington/
  14. U.S. Census Bureau: American Factfinder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF
  15. University of Kentucky, http://www.uky.edu/DistanceLearning/current/programs/online.html
  16. Western Kentucky University, http://www.wku.edu/online/bachelors/index.php
  17. KHEAA Administered Programs, Accessed April 2017, https://www.kheaa.com/website/kheaa/kheaaprograms?main=1
  18. KHEAA Real Cost of College, Accessed April 2017, https://www.kheaa.com/website/kheaa/pay_realcost?main=1
  19. Kentucky Schools' Net Price Calculators, Accessed April 2017, https://www.kheaa.com/website/kheaa/pay_schoolnpc?main=1
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Kentucky is the birthplace of some of America's most famous and legendary citizens, including Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln and Muhammad Ali, to name just a few. Many great Kentucky legends, including Thomas Hunt Morgan, Wendell Berry and Sam Abell, got their careers started with an education from a university in Kentucky. Such an opportunity is available to more people than ever today, now that many esteemed Kentucky colleges are offering degree programs online.

Kentucky is home to several of the most respected colleges and universities in the country, including University of Louisville and University of Kentucky. According to the national Center for Education Statistics, there are 56 institutions in the state where students can earn associate degrees, and 43 colleges and universities that offer bachelor's degree programs. The statewide Kentucky Virtual Campus (KYVC) was created by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to serve distance learners throughout the Bluegrass State. The KYVC consists of more than 35 institutions across the state who provide online degree programs and e-learning services for online students across the state of Kentucky and beyond.

There are other virtual campuses in Kentucky as well. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is a consortium of 16 community and technical colleges with more than 70 campuses located in all parts of the state. The system created KCTCS Online to serve distance learners by providing many different 100-percent online degree programs, as well as flexible online courses for students taking classes on campus. Meanwhile, the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities includes all 19 of the state's non-profit private four-year universities. System-wide enrollment in fall of 2015 was more than 35,000 students.

Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

There are many different options for distance learners who want to earn a degree online, which can be confusing and counterproductive to actually being able to make a decision. To help narrow down your choices, we have created this list of the 10 best online colleges in Kentucky. Our list was compiled using data gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), analyzed with our proprietary methodology. For more details on how we made this list, see the bottom of the page.

1

Midway University, Midway

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$22,250
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
83.89%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
25
School Type
4-year

Midway University is one of the oldest educational institutions in the state of Kentucky. It was founded in 1847 as a school to serve orphaned girls and disadvantaged women. Today, the university's splendid educational experience and rich tapestry of traditions are available to prospective students of all genders and from all states.

Courses at Midway are offered in an accelerated eight-week format, with five start times each year. The university offers an online associate program in business administration; 20 online bachelor's programs; and online graduate programs in business, education and nursing. Support for online students at Midway University includes career services such as resume writing, writing assistance and help with job searches, and academic support such as tutoring and testing assistance.

Transfer students can get college credit for certain types of prior knowledge through the university's Credit for Prior Learning program. Credit can come from previous college coursework, military experience, or a portfolio of work that demonstrates proficiency in a certain subject. Students can earn as many as 21 credits toward a degree program through this program.

2

Gateway Community and Technical College, Florence

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,704
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
39.38%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
30
School Type
2-year

Gateway Community and Technical College serves residents of northern Kentucky with campus locations in Florence and Boone. Students who earn associate degrees from Gateway Community and Technical College can transfer to any public four-year institution in the state of Kentucky.

Online courses at Gateway are offered in five, eight, 10 and 12-week formats. Other online courses are also available for Gateway students through Kentucky Community and Technical College System Online (KCTCS) or Learn on Demand, in case the courses you're looking for are not provided by Gateway itself.

The college offers a 2/8/2 program -- an accelerated online Associate of Arts or Science degree program that can be completed by taking two classes every eight weeks for two years. Thus the name: two classes/ eight weeks/ two years = 2/8/2. Gateway also has a dedicated Center for eLearning to help students with all aspects of their online education.

3

West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Paducah

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,624
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
44.97%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
27
School Type
2-year

West Kentucky Community and Technical College has delivered online classes for more than 20 years, and more than 4,570 students were enrolled in at least one online class in 2015. The college's online learning department helps guide students through all aspects of their online education, including proctored exams, technical support, academic advising and academic assistance.

Students at WKCTC can pursue online degrees through Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Online, which offers two methods for online content delivery:

  • Learn By Term
  • Learn On Demand

Learn By Term courses follow a standard 16-week semester format; Learn On Demand, meanwhile, offers self-paced courses with multiple start dates that can be 6-15 weeks long in the fall and spring, or 6-10 weeks long if taken during summer. While most courses are offered completely online regardless of method, some require proctored exams or lab activities that will need to take place at a location approved by both the KCTCS and the student.

4

Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,482
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38.31%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
61
School Type
4-year

Western Kentucky University was founded in 1906 as Kentucky State Normal School. In addition to the main campus at Bowling Green, WKU has regional campuses in Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, Glasgow and Owensboro.

WKU Online Learning provides online associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs for distance learners, as well as graduate certificate and endorsement programs. The university has three online associate degree programs: early childhood education, interdisciplinary studies, and LPN to ASN. In addition, there are 15 online bachelor's degree programs, some of which are "2+2" degree plans -- an accelerated format designed for students who have completed requirements for an associate degree prior to enrollment.

Distance learners at Western Kentucky University also have online access to the university library, IT help desk, and many more services geared toward helping their academic and personal success, including:

  • Writing lab services
  • Math lab
  • Tutoring
  • Presentation and success coaching
5

Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,150
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
49.68%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
41
School Type
4-year

Eastern Kentucky University has regional campuses in Manchester, Danville, Corbin and Richmond. The multiple EKU Online courses have six start dates each year and are offered in accelerated eight-week terms. Degree programs at EKU are available online for all degree levels, from associate to doctoral, and in a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Education
  • Fire, arson and explosion investigation
  • Justice, police & leadership
  • Police studies
  • Social intelligence

EKU provides full access to its library and student services departments for online learners. Need a book for a paper or report? EKU's library staff can deliver it to your door via UPS courier regardless of where you live. EKU students also receive a full version of Microsoft Office at no charge.

Eastern Kentucky University is authorized to grant degrees in all states except California, Florida and Massachusetts.

6

Owensboro Community and Technical College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,624
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38.17%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
25
School Type
2-year

Owensboro Community and Technical College primarily serves residents of Daviess, Ohio, McLean and Hancock counties, but it also has a much broader reach through Kentucky Virtual Campus (KYVC), the statewide network for online education.

While it doesn't specifically offer online programs itself, OCTC offers nearly 200 online courses for students who are working toward completing requirements for associate degrees. It also offers "extended campus courses," where students can take their college courses at an off-site location, such as a local high school or community center. Due to OCTC's membership as part of KYVC and KCTCS Online, students also have access to multiple distance learning programs, even if they are not specifically Owensboro programs.

Tools and resources for distance learners at OCTC include an online readiness assessment, Blackboard online orientation, and online academic support and resources. Learning resources include online writing labs and tutoring through the Brainfuse Web site.

7

Maysville Community and Technical College, Maysville

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,624
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
54.08%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
23
School Type
2-year

Maysville Community and Technical College has campus locations in Maysville, Cynthiana, Mount Sterling and Morehead. As part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Maysville offers distance learning through KCTCS Online.

Students pursuing associate degrees at Maysville can register for a wide range of courses and programs through KCTCS Online. There are two pathways for online study: Learn By Term and Learn On Demand. Learn By Term courses follow the timeline of a typical academic semester. Learn On Demand Courses are self-paced to allow for greater flexibility for distance learners.

MCTC students can receive up to 20 college credits for skills learned through work or other experiences through the college's Credit for Prior Learning program. The MCTC Student Support Services program can help distance learners with academic and personal counseling, tutoring, and scheduling visits to four-year universities for students interested in continuing their education to the baccalaureate level.

8

Madisonville Community College, Madisonville

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,624
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
36.21%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
27
School Type
2-year

Madisonville Community College serves residents of the Pennyroyal (Pennyrile) region of western Kentucky through three campus locations: two in Madisonville and one in Central City.

Instructors at MCC offer many of their courses online for on-campus students who are pursuing associate degrees. The college also offers distance learning options through Kentucky Virtual Campus; students can register for individual classes through KYVC, or pursue many fully online degree programs. Students at MCC also can take courses through Kentucky Community and Technical College System Online.

MCC provides distance learners with online tech support, test proctoring services, and access to the D. Badgett Griffin Learning Space, where they can get personal computer and academic assistance and peer tutoring in many different subjects.

9

Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Lexington

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,704
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
47.16%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
33
School Type
2-year

Bluegrass Community and Technical College serves the Bluegrass Region of northern Kentucky through campus locations in Lexington, Cooper, Leestown, Newtown, Winchester, Lawrenceburg and Georgetown.

In addition to offering daytime, evening and weekend courses at its six campuses, BCTC provides multiple online courses and associate degree programs, including a 2+2 program in teacher preparation. Students at the college can take classes from any of the 16 colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System; however, a quarter of all credits earned must be completed at BCTC.

Support services for distance learners includes access to the BCTC Teaching and Learning Center eCommunity, which provides a wide range of assistance for online students. Other student services include academic advising and support, distance learning student orientation, and proctored exams.

10

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, Bowling Green

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,624
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37.41%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
14
School Type
2-year

Founded in 1939, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College serves residents of south-central Kentucky from campus locations in Bowling Green and Glasgow, and a learning center at Franklin. Resources for distance learners at SKYCTC include Blackboard help desk and support, access to the Kentucky Virtual Library and KCTCS distance learning bookstore, peer and professional tutoring, and more.

Like all other colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, SKYCTC offers online courses and programs through KCTCS Online or KYVC. Through these, students can take courses from any of the systems' statewide partnered colleges, as well as pursue one of various associate degree programs. Courses can be taken in a traditional 16-week semester format, or in smaller "bite-sized" modules lasting three to five weeks, through KCTCS Online's "Learn On Demand" format.

Affordable Online Colleges in Kentucky

The following list features schools in Kentucky that offer online degree programs at low tuition costs. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Kentucky

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Ashland Community and Technical College$3,62449.74%212-year
Big Sandy Community and Technical College$3,62449.27%232-year
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College$3,62447.48%302-year
Hazard Community and Technical College$3,62444.44%242-year
Henderson Community College$3,62444.91%122-year

Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Kentucky

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Clear Creek Baptist Bible College$6,79261.59%34-year
Murray State University$7,60831.26%184-year
Kentucky State University$7,75452.52%14-year
Morehead State University$8,09845.43%194-year
Eastern Kentucky University$8,15049.68%414-year

College Accreditation in Kentucky

Students can evaluate the strength of a college or university in many ways. They can review retention rates, graduation rates and graduate placement statistics. Accreditation is another important factor to consider.

Accreditation can come from several sources. Some organizations accredit specific types of schools. For instance, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools oversees private institutions. Other bodies may accredit a specific degree program. However, regional accreditation is available to all postsecondary schools. The following is the regional accrediting body in Kentucky:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Colleges in Kentucky that lack this accreditation may have other credentials listed on their website. If so, check carefully to ensure its accreditation is from a valid organization that is approved by the Department of Education.

School Interviews

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.

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.

Financial Aid in Kentucky

Kentucky Loans

The state of Kentucky does not provide students with loans for college, preferring instead to offer assistance through scholarships and grants administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA). Before acquiring a federal or private loan, students are encouraged to apply for these state-specific awards, as well as other scholarships, grants, work-study programs and tuition waivers for which they are eligible. At that point, if you are still in need of additional funding for college, you can look into federal and private student loan programs. To qualify for federal aid, you will need to fill out the FAFSA and supply information about your family's financial situation.

Get more in-depth information about how to qualify for student loans by checking out the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Kentucky

  • KHEAA Real Cost of College is a resource for Kentucky students to get an idea of how much of their tuition will actually need to be paid by them or their family. Often, the cost is less than families might think. There is also a handy link to a list of Kentucky Schools' Net Price Calculators for students to get an even more specific idea of what they might be expected to pay for their education at their Kentucky school of choice.

Featured Cities in Kentucky

Data on these featured cities is sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metro Area

Total Population

1,261,936

Median salary for high school grads

$27,434

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$46,588

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

25.1%

Median rent

$746

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-Fayette, KY Metro Area

Total Population

489,799

Median salary for high school grads

$26,336

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$45,530

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

37.7%

Median rent

$764

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, KY Metro Area

Total Population

164,245

Median salary for high school grads

$25,991

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$40,158

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

37.8%

Median rent

$677

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.

 
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