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The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Kentucky

What’s Covered:

 

Did you know that Kentucky is home to a number of colleges and universities? And if you’re a resident, you don’t have to break the bank to advance your learning. We’ve rounded up the most affordable colleges in the state.

 

Tips for Saving Money on College

 

1. Look into whether the school meets 100% of your need.

 

Many top-tier institutions commit to meeting 100% of financial need of accepted students. This is great news for talented applicants, many of whom may not be able to afford their education otherwise. Be sure to investigate whether the schools on your list meet full need.

 

2. Apply for scholarships.

 

Scholarships are an excellent resource for helping offset the cost of your college education. Look into niche awards, which often attract a smaller pool of candidates than broader scholarships, increasing your odds of winning. Don’t forget about institutional scholarships, either.

 

3. Attend an in-state school.

 

For residents, in-state public colleges and universities tend to be highly affordable. If you’re looking to cut costs, make sure you consider schools in your home state. Usually, you’ll also have the option of commuting to public, in-state schools, which will cut back on room and board costs, too.

 

4. Don’t limit your search to public institutions.

 

Sometimes, private colleges and universities can be even more affordable than public institutions if they offer generous financial aid. Be sure to look into schools’ financial aid policies and typical awards before you dismiss private options outright.

 

The Most Affordable Colleges in Kentucky

 

1. Kentucky State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $7,700/$11,550

Location: Frankfort

Acceptance Rate: 84%

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,600

 

A public HBCU, KSU was founded in 1886 as the State Normal School for Colored Persons. Today, the university offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees across five colleges. A highly diverse institution, KSU boasts the lowest student-faculty ratio among public schools in Kentucky and a strong sense of community. 

 

Learn more about Kentucky State and what it takes to get accepted.

 

2. Murray State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $7,968/$17,148

Location: Murray

Acceptance Rate: 77%

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,000

 

Nationally ranked for academics, athletics, affordability, and value, Murray State has existed for 100 years and offers an array of programs. Some of the most popular undergraduate fields include Animal Health Technology, Agricultural Science, Nursing, Biology, Business Administration, and Occupational Safety and Health. The so-called Racers have distinguished themselves in fields like engineering, government, technology, art, and athletics. 

 

Additionally, U.S. News ranks it as a Best College for Veterans. 

 

Learn more about Murray State and what it takes to get accepted.

 

3. Morehead State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $8,970/$13,556 

Location: Morehead

Acceptance Rate: 77%

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,300

 

With 142 undergraduate programs and 68 graduate programs, MSU has a robust curriculum and engages students while prioritizing student success. 

 

The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, MSU’s early college high school, was established in 2014. Students take MSU classes as high school juniors and seniors and graduate with at least 60 hours of college credit.

 

Learn more about Morehead State and what it takes to get accepted.

 

4. Eastern Kentucky University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $9,266/$19,338

Location: Richmond

Acceptance Rate: 98%

Undergrad Enrollment: 13,300

 

EKY is a comprehensive university with branch campuses in four additional towns, in addition to its main campus in Richmond. The university offers robust online programs, as well as an Honors program. Students have been distinguished as Fulbright scholars and received many additional recognitions.

 

Learn more about EKU and what it takes to get accepted.

 

5. University of the Cumberlands

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $9,875/$9,875 

Location: Williamsburg

Acceptance Rate: 81%

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,200

 

A Top 10 Military Friendly University, Cumberlands offers 45 undergraduate programs, including new majors in Journalism and Public Relations, Criminal Justice, and Spanish. The university also offers several graduate programs, such as an MSPA in Physician Assistant Studies and an MACS in Christian Studies. In addition to the main campus in Williamsburg, Cumberlands has an additional location in Florence.

 

Cumberlands also ranks as a top Christian college and a top college in Kentucky.

 

Learn more about Cumberlands and what it takes to get accepted.

 

6. Northern Kentucky University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $9,912/$19,872

Location: Highland Heights

Acceptance Rate: 87%

Undergrad Enrollment: 11,900

 

With more than 80 majors, 22 master’s programs, and one law school, NKU has a number of claims to fame. For example, the university ranks among the most innovative universities in the world. One study ranks NKU’s Graphic Design program as the best in Kentucky. Across seven colleges, including an Honors College, NKU offers a number of creative programs and schools

 

Learn more about NKU and what it takes to get accepted.

 

7. Western Kentucky University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $10,802/$26,496

Location: Bowling Green

Acceptance Rate: 98%

Undergrad Enrollment: 17,000

 

Sitting atop a beautiful hill overlooking the city of Bowling Green, WKU is known for far more than its stunning campus. Across five colleges, the university offers 80 majors and 70 minors, and students may earn a Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Social Work.

 

WKU also offers 15 associate degree programs, a number of master’s degrees, and three doctorates.

 

Learn more about WKU and what it takes to get accepted.

 

8. University of Kentucky

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $11,135/$29,945

Location: Lexington

Acceptance Rate: 96%

Undergrad Enrollment: 22,100

 

One of just eight institutions in the U.S. with a “full complement” of liberal arts, engineering, professional, agricultural, and medical colleges and disciplines on one contiguous campus, UK consists of 16 degree-granting colleges, the Lewis Honors College, and the Graduate School. The campus offers numerous resources designed to support students and fosters a deep sense of community.

 

Learn more about UK and what it takes to get accepted.

 

9. University of Louisville

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $11,966/$28,312 

Location: Louisville

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Undergrad Enrollment: 15,600

 

Across Louisville’s three campuses, the research university instructs diverse undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The university prides itself on being a “premier anti-racist metropolitan research university.” Founded in 1798, it was the first city-owned public university in the country. It is also well known for the Cardinals, who have won several championships. 

 

Learn more about Louisville and what it takes to get accepted.

 

10. Alice Lloyd College

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $12,000/$12,000

Location: Pippa Passes

Acceptance Rate: 21%

Undergrad Enrollment: 600

 

According to Alice Lloyd College, a degree from the liberal arts school is a testament to your leadership capabilities. Founded as a work college by Alice Spencer Geddes Lloyd and June Buchanan, ALC began awarding bachelor’s degrees in the 1980s. Today, it is a high-ranking regional Southern College and the no. 2 Best Value School, as per U.S. News’ 2018 rankings. It is also well known for its Voices of Appalachia choir.

 

Although the college is non-denominational, its mission underscores Christian values. 

 

Learn more about Alice Lloyd and what it takes to get accepted.

 

Find more affordable colleges and universities in Kentucky.

 

How Much Will You Pay for College?

 

Students rarely end up paying the advertised sticker price for their college education. Use CollegeVine’s free financial aid calculator to find out how much you can expect your tuition and expense to cost at hundreds of colleges and universities across the country. You can compare expected family contributions at a range of schools — and as an added bonus, you’ll improve your chances of winning a scholarship through CollegeVine! 

 


Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.