Obtaining a degree in Kentucky through an online college or university allows you to set yourself apart from the competition. A degree can help qualify you for advanced positions and prepare you for certifications and licenses connected to high-paying careers.
State residents benefit from in-state tuition discounts, attending colleges with local name recognition, and the chance to build a network of local connections to increase employment opportunities.
Higher Learning Initiatives in Kentucky
GEAR UP Kentucky
GEAR UP Kentucky is an education initiative aimed at increasing the number of students who go on to state colleges after graduating from high school. The Council on Postsecondary Education was given $26.9 million by the Kentucky state government to spend over a six-year period to cultivate a culture among younger students and encourage them to earn their degrees.
Working with school educators and administrators, the GEAR UP Kentucky initiative strives to improve college enrollment by addressing five major areas in primary and secondary education. These include giving students the aspiration to attend college; providing the educational rigor to prepare them; setting up expectations for higher education options; holding schools accountable for the success of students; and sustaining the effort to create a college-focused student body.
Regional Stewardship Program
The Regional Stewardship Program is a Kentucky-based initiative whereby the state universities support, build up, and reach out to the communities around them. Faculty, staff, and students work through the Regional Stewardship Program to lend their resources to surrounding communities in need. The initiative promotes development throughout communities in the state with the belief that improving the well-being of residents will result in a more robust and talented student body. Funds are available to state universities that allow them to organize, execute, and promote substantial community outreach and support initiatives.
P-16 Councils are coalitions of citizens, business owners, educators, and local officials who craft initiatives aimed at improving education at all grade levels, college included. The P-16 Councils throughout Kentucky strive to make education better and more attainable for all citizens. Among the many initiatives endorsed by P-16 Councils is Project Lead the Way, a national organization that works with educators and state legislators to promote science and math education among younger students, paving the way for tomorrow’s engineers, scientists, and mathematicians.
Popular Degree Programs in Kentucky
Industries with high employment vary by state, and college majors tend to reflect each state’s leading industries. For instance, Kentucky boasts high employment numbers for paralegals, lawyers, elementary school teachers, preschool teachers, and childcare workers. The state’s two most common majors relate to these careers: pre-law and legal studies, and early childhood education.
- Pre-Law and Legal Studies: Any degree that prepares students for law school qualifies as pre-law. Highlighted skills in these programs include research, logic, writing, and communication. Essentially, Kentucky residents can earn a pre-law degree for careers in the legal field, but these degrees also deliver skills for occupations in other disciplines. For instance, legal writing skills may lead to technical writing careers.
- Early Childhood Education: This degree focuses on the social, cognitive, physical, and emotional development of young children. Graduates pursue careers related to preschools, childcare, and elementary schools. Some of these careers boast high employment numbers in Kentucky, such as education administrators for elementary and secondary school.
Paying for College in Kentucky
College can prove expensive when combined with everyday living costs. To manage expenses, candidates should compare schools’ costs with their budgets to determine which college best fits their needs. Remember to include costs for textbooks, online fees, and course materials.
Tuition at public Kentucky colleges typically exceed the national average. Students also pay fees and textbook costs while attending Kentucky online colleges and universities, and must manage living and travel expenses.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18
|Public Two Year||Public Four Year|
Source: College Board
Employment Outlook in Kentucky
Kentucky’s unemployment rate surpasses the national average by .7%, which indicates a job shortage. With fewer opportunities, residents should earn credentials to stand out from their competition, such as college degrees.
Kentuckians earn over $8,000 less per year than the typical American, on average. This should give learners more incentive to earn a degree since advanced education can lead to higher salaries. For instance, mean wages for physical therapists in Kentucky exceed $80,000, which surpasses the state’s and nation’s overall averages. However, a professional degree or doctorate is required for these positions. For better career opportunities, residents should pursue degrees from accredited online colleges in Kentucky.
Accreditation for Colleges in Kentucky
Accrediting agencies review schools, programs, and departments based on set standards. Candidates should only consider accredited schools since certain forms of financial aid only extend to students at accredited institutions, and because future employers and schools may not accept a degree earned at an unaccredited school.
Regional accrediting agencies review schools within a specific region, whereas national accreditation extends across the nation. Both types of accreditation hold value. For instance, vocational and career programs often hold national accreditation, and these programs may involve fewer courses outside the student’s major. Regional accreditation provides easier credit transfers between schools. Most schools list a regional agency as their primary accrediting body.
Online programs and in-person courses typically involve the same curricula and faculty. For this reason, online programs hold the same accreditation as traditional options. However, online programs may boast accreditation through organizations such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
Students taking online college classes in Kentucky should look for regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Learners can use the U.S. Department of Education’s database to determine if a school holds accreditation, and if so, what accrediting body approves it.
Scholarships for Kentucky Online College Students
To manage college expenses, students can apply for financial aid, including grants and scholarships that do not require repayment. Colleges, private organizations, and government agencies award these funds based on merit, academic major, financial need, personal history, culture, or location. Candidates attending the best online colleges in Kentucky, for instance, may qualify for the following opportunities, based on residency.
- Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship
Who Can Apply: High school students in Kentucky earn KEES money with a 2.5 GPA or an ACT score of 15. The scholarship increases with higher GPAs and ACT scores. For instance, a 3.8 GPA amounts to $450 for every college year, while a 3.2 earns $300. Additional ways to earn this funding include advanced placement exams.
- Early Childhood Development Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Kentucky residents use this funding for undergraduate degrees related to early childhood, the Kentucky Early Childhood Development Director’s Certificate, and the child development associate credential. Candidates must work at early childhood organizations.
Amount: As much as $1,800
- Coal County Scholarship Program for Pharmacy Students
Who Can Apply: Applicants must live in coal counties within Kentucky, such as Henderson or Whitley. Recipients must attend pharmacy school within the state and agree to work in a Kentucky coal county after graduation to avoid repaying funds.
- College Access Program Grant
Who Can Apply: Kentucky residents must enroll in programs that require at least two years. Students may study part time or full time to earn this need-based funding.
Amount: As much as $1,900
- Teacher Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Current teachers and candidates working toward teaching certifications may qualify. Applicants must boast Kentucky residency and enroll at an in-state institution. Recipients of this need-based scholarship agree to teach at Kentucky schools after graduating.
Amount: As much as $2,500 each semester
- Kentucky Coal County College Completion Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Candidates from Kentucky coal counties should apply. Students must complete 60 credits for a bachelor’s before applying, but may study part time. Recipients cannot hold a previously earned bachelor’s.
- Dual Credit Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: High school juniors and seniors in Kentucky can use this scholarship to complete two college courses at Kentucky universities and colleges. Recipients must participate in counseling sessions each year they receive funding.
- Shannon O' Daniel Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: High school students from most Kentucky counties and selected areas in Indiana qualify, with verification of epilepsy treatments. Candidates must fill out the application and submit two essays discussing goals and epilepsy struggles.
- Pat R. Caniff Scholarship Trust
Who Can Apply: High school students may earn this funding after living in Kentucky for two years to pursue a career in funeral processes. Recipients work in Kentucky as funeral directors or embalmers for two years after graduating.
- Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, Alberta C. Kaufman Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Residents of Indiana or Kentucky with a 3.0 GPA may qualify. Applicants must provide autobiographical introductions and essays discussing influential people in their lives.
Resources for Students in Kentucky
- Kentucky Educational Television: Kentucky Educational Television (KET) delivers resources for young children, K-12 learners, and adults. Adult learners can view information on general equivalency diplomas or purchase online, DVD, and workbook resources on academic topics, such as math, literacy, and health. Kentucky colleges use KET as a part of their curricula.
- Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority: This resource provides information on Kentucky’s pre-college curriculum and financial aid opportunities. The website also offers guidance on transferring, choosing careers, and making healthier choices in school. The organization delivers publications on topics like adults re-enrolling in college and students applying for financial aid.
- Kentucky Skills U: This resource helps adult Kentucky residents grasp basic concepts, such as reading, and assists these individuals in pursuing general equivalency diplomas. Candidates can also earn the Kentucky Essential Skills Certificate and learn English through these programs.
- GEAR UP 2 College and Career: This program helps middle and high school students in Kentucky prepare for college through grants, courses, technical help, coaching, campus days, and mentoring. The resource provides guidance on college funding, warning signs of dropping out, and virtual school tours. GEAR UP helps Kentucky students succeed in higher education.
- Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education: This website connects viewers to resources, including the Kentucky Virtual Library and the GEAR UP program. The council provides information on attaining a high school equivalency diploma, transferring, and earning dual credit. The organization also delivers publications on topics such as enrollment and student loan repayment.
Online Schools in Kentucky
- Graduation Rate: 76%
- Average Net Price: $26,476
- Graduation Rate: 46%
- Average Net Price: $10,662
- Graduation Rate: 44%
- Average Net Price: $14,573
Eastern Kentucky University
- Graduation Rate: 37%
- Average Net Price: $11,656
Kentucky Christian University
- Graduation Rate: 41%
- Average Net Price: $19,836
Kentucky Wesleyan College
- Graduation Rate: 36%
- Average Net Price: $17,323
Kentucky State University
- Graduation Rate: 14%
- Average Net Price: $8,508
Lindsey Wilson College
- Graduation Rate: 32%
- Average Net Price: $16,461
University of Louisville
- Graduation Rate: 52%
- Average Net Price: $14,452
- Graduation Rate: 51%
- Average Net Price: $18,904
Murray State University
- Graduation Rate: 54%
- Average Net Price: $10,436
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY
- Graduation Rate: 37%
- Average Net Price: $8,753
- Graduation Rate: 38%
- Average Net Price: $19,401
University of the Cumberlands
- Graduation Rate: 45%
- Average Net Price: $17,517
University of Kentucky
- Graduation Rate: 58%
- Average Net Price: $14,975
- Graduation Rate: 36%
- Average Net Price: $20,759
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY
- Graduation Rate: 50%
- Average Net Price: $14,225