Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Kentucky offers more than Derby parties. You can enroll in an affordable online college in Kentucky and pursue one of the fastest growing jobs in the state.
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Updated February 28, 2024

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While the horses in Kentucky run fast, their college enrollment rates have slowed down. In an effort to combat declining college enrollments, the Bluegrass State has set a goal of getting 60% of working-age adults in Kentucky to obtain a college credential by 2030.

Kentucky offers a relatively low cost of living, about 5.5% lower than the national average, which is good news for your college budget. Online colleges in Kentucky may offer further savings since you never have to step on campus.

Here, you can discover what Kentucky online colleges cost and the scholarships available to Kentuckians.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online Colleges in KY 2024

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#1 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

University of the Cumberlands

  • Williamsburg, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $220
Out-of-State | $220

University of the Cumberlands maintains a commitment to a distinctive, supportive, and affordable education. The school offers transparent tuition through its "one-price promise," which removes additional fees and hidden costs. Tuition covers most school-related costs, including parking, laundry, and textbooks. 

The school's online branch offers dozens of programs, with a maximum class size of 30. Online students can access counseling services for support with mental health conditions relating to substance use, anxiety, and depression. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,875
Out-of-state
$9,875
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,282
Out-of-state
$4,282
Retention Rate
67%
Acceptance Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
19,272
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

University of Louisville

  • Louisville, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $527
Out-of-State | $527

University of Louisville, one of the first city-owned public schools, enrolls over 23,000 students and focuses heavily on research. The university's research efforts advance healthcare policy, empower communities, and explore emerging technologies to help the future economy. 

The institution offers over 60 fully online programs, including accounting, business, and computer science. Admission does not require you to submit essays, letters of recommendation, or standardized test scores. Federal government employees can earn a 10% tuition bonus through the Federal Academic Alliance scholarship. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,174
Out-of-state
$28,520
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,524
Out-of-state
$27,638
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
22,140
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

University of Kentucky

  • Lexington, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $541
Out-of-State | $1,382

University of Kentucky, home to 16 colleges, offers over 200 academic programs. The public institution's mission statement focuses on facilitating learning, expanding knowledge, and serving a global community. The school offers nearly half of its programs online through asynchronous and synchronous delivery. 

Each applicant must complete an online form, pay a $50 fee, and submit official transcripts. The school offers academic scholarships for new enrollees, currently enrolled learners, and transfer students. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,247
Out-of-state
$30,245
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,311
Out-of-state
$32,185
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
30,390
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Western Kentucky University

  • Bowling Green, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $450
Out-of-State | $540

Western Kentucky University, located in the third-largest city in Kentucky, features over 90 online degree and certificate programs. Online attendees can choose from more than 1,700 individual classes. The school offers live, web-based classes and asynchronous coursework. Web classes may require up to two in-person meetings, which instructors will specify in the class notes. 

Online programs provide attendees with free additional support tools, including online tutoring, career services, and student success coaches. These faculty members can help students with time management, learning strategies, and developing lifelong skills.  

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,992
Out-of-state
$27,000
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,140
Out-of-state
$18,340
Retention Rate
73%
Acceptance Rate
98%
Students Enrolled
16,750
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Northern Kentucky University

  • Highland Heights, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $473
Out-of-State | $473

Northern Kentucky University, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, has over 16,000 students and 200 student organizations. The fully asynchronous online programs offer multiple start dates for students to create a flexible schedule. 

The school's online programs have various admission requirements. Typically, a candidate must submit an online application, pay a non-refundable fee, possess a 2.0 minimum GPA, and/or have completed some postsecondary classwork. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,008
Out-of-state
$20,064
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,900
Out-of-state
$15,210
Retention Rate
70%
Acceptance Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
15,979
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Campbellsville University

  • Campbellsville, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $346-$424
Out-of-State | $346-$424

Campbellsville University, a Christian school, was founded in 1906. The university has campus centers and institutional sites around Kentucky, along with an online school. Online attendees can choose from 80 programs, including 17 bachelor's and 44 advanced degrees. The distance learning environment provides opportunities to complete coursework, discuss with professors, and interact with classmates. 

The institution offers six start dates throughout the year. Enrollees may apply for academic scholarships, which can provide up to full tuition coverage. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,900
Out-of-state
$24,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,473
Out-of-state
$8,473
Retention Rate
61%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
10,238
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Asbury University

  • Wilmore, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $399
Out-of-State | $399

Asbury University provides over 130 areas of study, teaches students critical thinking skills, and offers hands-on experiences. The school has seven online degrees, including bachelor's programs in business management, social work, and digital content creation. Classes last for eight weeks, and the school offers five start dates throughout the year. 

Students can enter scholarship competitions or receive aid based on need and/or merit. Every incoming first-year student receives financial aid benefits. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$32,084
Out-of-state
$32,084
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,990
Out-of-state
$9,990
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
1,720
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Murray State University

  • Murray, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $405
Out-of-State | $405

Murray State University, a public institution founded in 1922, awards over $100 million annually in scholarships and financial aid. The school's online programs offer degree and non-degree options, including certificates, endorsements, and non-credit programs. Enrollees pursuing undergraduate degrees can choose from 12 majors, including business administration, human services, and logistics. 

Each candidate must submit an online application, a $40 fee, and official high school transcripts. Individuals with GPAs of 2.75 or higher will receive admission. The university reviews students with 2.0-2.74 GPAs holistically.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,040
Out-of-state
$17,316
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,982
Out-of-state
$13,644
Retention Rate
75%
Acceptance Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
9,414
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Brescia University

  • Owensboro, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $450
Out-of-State | $450

Brescia University, located along the Ohio River in Kentucky, was founded in 1925 as a women's junior college. The school now offers co-educational courses at its campus and online through BUonline. BUonline features 10 online programs, which primarily use accelerated eight-week courses. 

Individuals can submit applications year-round and start classes immediately after acceptance. Each applicant receives an admission counselor to assist with the registration process. The institution reviews individuals on a holistic basis and can work with prospective enrollees who do not meet the minimum requirements. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$26,000
Out-of-state
$26,000
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,500
Out-of-state
$15,500
Retention Rate
66%
Acceptance Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
841
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
71% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

Midway University

  • Midway, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Undergraduate Cost per Credit:
In-State | $395
Out-of-State | $395

Midway University enrolls over 20% of its student body in online learning. Distance programs offer five annual start times for its eight-week courses. Enrollees can choose from 20 online undergraduate degrees, including accounting, coaching, and criminal justice. 

First-year applicants can submit online forms with their official transcripts. Individuals under the age of 24 don't need to submit official test scores. Enrollees can pursue multiple Midway University scholarships, including merit-based, athletic, and out-of-state awards. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,500
Out-of-state
$24,500
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,314
Out-of-state
$7,314
Retention Rate
67%
Acceptance Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
1,390
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Price Check

A 2020 survey found that any college education can increase a Kentucky high school graduate's earnings over a lifetime by $200,000.

Cost of Living in Kentucky

Kentucky offers a lot beyond bourdon, fried chicken, and horses. Among 12 southeast states, Kentucky ranks as the third most affordable state to live in. A low cost of living is an ideal scenario for student budgets.

That means housing, transportation, and healthcare are cheaper in the Bluegrass State. The average one-bedroom apartment rents for $677, and the average studio apartment costs $573 in Kentucky. Groceries in Kentucky cost an average of $309 per person each month.

Average Cost of Living in Kentucky
Cost of Living Category Average Price
Monthly Mortgage $1,241
Monthly Rent $830
Monthly Electricity Bill $125
Monthly Grocery & Food Costs $309
Annual Transportation Costs $5,477
Annual Healthcare Costs $7,430
Source: SoFi

Kentucky Scholarships

Kentucky businesses, nonprofits, and universities reserve scholarships exclusively for Kentuckians enrolled in local colleges. To qualify for some scholarships, you may need to live in a specific county or major in a specific subject.

Scholarship awards provide funds on a merit or need basis to students attending two-year and four-year accredited schools in Kentucky.

10 Fast-Growing Jobs in Kentucky

Students entering the Kentucky job market can expect to see positive growth in many occupations. Earning a college degree can help you become eligible for these in-demand positions.

The Kentucky Center for Statistics estimates a 55% growth in nurse practitioners from 2020-2030. Other fast-growing occupations include physical therapist assistants, logisticians, and health services managers.

Positions in tech also offer considerable stability. Information security analysts are projected to grow by 31%, and data science and mathematical science occupations should increase by 28%.

Fast-Growing Careers in Kentucky 2020-2030
Job Projected Growth Education Required
Nurse Practitioners 55% Master's degree
Physical Therapist Assistants 34% Associate's degree
Logisticians 34% Bachelor's degree
Medical and Health Services Managers 33% Bachelor's degree
Physician Assistants 33% Master's degree
Statisticians 31% Master's degree
Information Security Analysts 31% Bachelor's degree
Epidemiologists 29% Master's degree
Occupational Therapy Assistants 29% Associate's degree
Data Scientists and Mathematical Science Occupations 28% Bachelor's degree
Source: Kentucky Center for Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Online College in Kentucky


What is the cheapest online college in Kentucky?

Murray State offers one of the cheapest online tuition prices in Kentucky. In-state undergraduate students pay an estimated $9,432 per year. Out-of-state learners pay about $18,888 each year.

Murray State offers residency tuition to students in select counties in Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana.

What is the easiest online college to get into in Kentucky?

According to the NCES, Midway University admits 94% of applicants. However, to put this number in context, consider that Midway has a small student population of 1,441.

On the other hand, Western Kentucky University, a school with a student body of 16,493, accepts 97% of applicants.

How much does online college cost in Kentucky?

Colleges usually charge the same tuition and fees for online and on-campus students. Four-year public colleges in Kentucky charge undergraduates an average of $10,976 for tuition and fees, above the national average of $9,375.

Schools sometimes have a fixed tuition rate for all online students, regardless of where they live. By eliminating on-campus housing and transportation fees, online learning offers a cheaper education. That said, online programs may not always offer the same financial aid opportunities.

Is online college free in Kentucky?

No. However, Kentucky students can look for financial aid opportunities to help them pay for college. The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship offers Kentucky residents with a high school diploma or GED the opportunity to get up to four months of free tuition. The scholarship goes to students pursuing an associate degree or certificate at qualifying colleges and universities.

Do I need to be a resident of Kentucky to attend an online college in Kentucky?

Students from all over the world can attend an online college in Kentucky. Online learning offers the opportunity to learn in a diverse classroom with students from all over the country getting admitted. Distance learning programs generally open admissions to students across all state borders.

However, certain degrees, such as nursing, require in-person commitments.

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AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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