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20 Cheapest Colleges in Kentucky in 2021

September 21, 2021 | Staff Writers

Cheapest Colleges in Kentucky
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Kentucky is a beautiful state offering a wide range of unique points of interests from national parks, to the Louisville Slugger Museum, to the Appalachian Mountains to the Ohio River, Kentucky has it all.  Kentucky even has excellent institutions for higher learning, many public research institutions as well as smaller private colleges.  Many of the private colleges are affiliated with a religion, so those desiring to engage in a faith based education can enroll in one of the many private institutions.

With over 50 institutions for higher learning in Kentucky, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your career pursuits.  Researching each option can be time consuming and even daunting.  There are however a few key items that remain the same when considering a college or university.  This first item to consider is usually the tuition rate.  Students want to receive an affordable education that they won’t be paying back in student loans for the second half of their life.  The cost of attending college needs to be an investment, not a liability.

Top 5 Most Affordable Colleges in Kentucky

Rank School Location
1University of LouisvilleLouisville, Kentucky
2Murray State UniversityMurray, Kentucky
3University of KentuckyLexington, Kentucky
4Alice Lloyd CollegePippa Passes, Kentucky
5Spalding UniversityLouisville, Kentucky

Another item to consider is the faculty to student ratio.  This can determine the amount of personalized education and mentoring students receive while they are in their degree program.  This will often be correlated to the quality of education received.

The last item that is worth knowing when applying to a college is the graduation rate of the institution.  This number shows a few different things.  First it tells you how many students stuck with the programs to the end, that in turn again translates as quality and investment.  Students are going to stay enrolled in a college that they feel invested in and feel is providing a quality education that will help them succeed in their career.  This retention is a large indicator if students feel like they are valued as a student and future professional or just another number.

It can be challenging seeking an affordable and quality education that has the right programs for you, but it is possible.  In fact, there are more options in Kentucky than many realize.  While some of the most affordable colleges in Kentucky are public institutions there are many of the cheapest colleges in Kentucky that are private due to the scholarships and financial aid offered.

Helping you know the options for affordable colleges is what we do, below are the top ranking cheapest colleges in Kentucky.  The methodology for ranking the following colleges included the cost of tuition, faculty to student ratio, and graduation rate.

For more programs check out our affordable community colleges page.

Here are the 20 Cheapest Colleges in Kentucky!

1

University of Louisville

  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 52%

Established in 1798, the University of Louisville was the first city-owned public institution for higher learning in the United States paving the way for future institutions to do likewise. With over 170 majors to choose from, students can explore their interests and talents as they earn an inexpensive degree. A sampling of degrees that are highly enrolled in include coaching, nursing, psychology, speech communications, law enforcement, criminal justice, and more. Not only are there a wide array of academic programs but the student life opportunities are even more numerous with over 400 organizations, clubs, intramural sports, athletic events, and more.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $11,656
Non-Resident Tuition: $27,278
Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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2

Murray State University

  • Murray, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 48%

Established in 1922, Murray State University is a public institution for higher learning that has expanded to operate their main campus in Murray as well as four other campuses in the region. Students can earn a degree through one of the six colleges; College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, School of Agriculture, School of Nursing and Health Professions, College of Business, College of Education and Human Services, or the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Approximately 9,400 students enroll every year to make up a vibrant campus family. Students enjoy a rodeo barn, agriculture exposition center, and many other state of the art facilities that are designed for agriculture training and experiential farming. With numerous internship opportunities and personalized education where professors know your name, students can’t help but succeed.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $9,084
Non-Resident Tuition: $24,540
Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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3

University of Kentucky

  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 63%

Established in 1865, the University of Kentucky is a public research institution that is the largest institution for higher learning in the state of Kentucky with more than 30,400 students enrolling each year. With a broad range of resources and a wide array of academic programs UK can excel in multidisciplinary studies and foster cooperative learning across programs. With 16 degree granting colleges, a Graduate School, and an Honors College, students will find a program to meet their interests and talents. With over 200 academic programs students can choose from majors such as marketing, engineering, journalism, business management, criminal justice, and more. Students can even design their own major as they collaborate with professors and other students.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $12,245
Non-Resident Tuition: $29,099
Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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4

Alice Lloyd College

  • Pippa Passes, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 33%

Established in 1923, Alice Lloyd College is a private work college where students can earn undergraduate degrees and professional certificates. Students at the undergraduate level can either earn a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts. These degrees emphasize elementary and middle school education for certified and uncertified teachers. Within these programs students can study nursing, biology, english, history, criminal justice and many more majors. Pre-professional degrees are also offered for those seeking to advance to a law or engineering school. Students have opportunities for leadership in student led organizations, ministry, student government and community service.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $11,550
Non-Resident Tuition: $11,550
Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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5

Spalding University

  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 51%

Established in 1814, Spalding University is a private Roman Catholic institution for higher learning affiliated with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. As a liberal arts institution that is deeply committed to compassion and community, students gain a faith based education that is rooted in serving the community. Spalding University is the most racially diverse institution in Kentucky, providing cultural awareness and sensitivity. Students can pursue over 60 cheap undergraduate and graduate degrees. Almost every undergraduate student will receive some for of financial aid, making their degree that much more affordable. Degree programs include business, nursing, education, criminal justice, psychology, social work, and more.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $24,500
Non-Resident Tuition: $24,500
Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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6

Sullivan University

  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

Sullivan University is a privately owned, for-profit institution for higher learning that awards certificates, undergraduate, and graduate degrees. Though Sullivan’s main campus is in Louisville, they also operate campuses in Lexington and Fort Knox as well as a robust online program. Students can pursue degrees in person or online in fields of study such as accounting, finance, legal studies, business, technology, design, and more. Programs are career focused and designed to provide students with real-world experience and hands-on learning throughout their education. Another added bonus is the small class sizes and flexible, non-traditional schedules.

At A Glance

Tuition: $13,860
Faculty to Student Ratio: 9 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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7

Morehead State University

  • Morehead, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 46%

Established in 1887, Morehead State University is a public institution for higher learning that provides 141 undergraduate degree programs and 70 graduate programs. Morehead State has ranked among the top institutions in the region and is ranked number one as the best college for financial aid in the state of Kentucky. Students have many options for fields of study with some of the most popular being nursing, education, biology, social work, and business administration. Student life is very vibrant with diverse student led clubs and organizations as well as athletic teams.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $9,070
Non-Resident Tuition: $13,546
Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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8

Kentucky State University

  • Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 19%

Established in 1886, Kentucky State University was originally founded as a state normal school for educating students and teachers. KSU offers low cost degree programs through the following colleges; College of Public Service and Leadership Studies, College of Natural, Applied and Health Sciences, the College of Business and Computational Sciences, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the College of Agriculture, Communities, and the Environment. There are more a wide array of majors to choose from that help students succeed not only in their educational goals but also in their career pursuits. Those seeking a degree in agriculture or environmental studies will be impressed with the state of the art facilities dedicated to these fields.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $8,090
Non-Resident Tuition: $19,390
Faculty to Student Ratio: 11 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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9

Eastern Kentucky University

  • Richmond, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 49%

Established in 1922, Eastern Kentucky University is a public institution for higher learning that has grown to operate not only its main campus in Richmond but four other campuses as well as a robus online program. EKU continues to offer high quality, affordable education in a number of areas of study including business, technology, health, sciences, arts, and more. Awarding degrees at every level, students can start and complete their education at Eastern Kentucky University. Student life is vibrant with over 200 clubs and organizations that are student led as well as athletics, and cultural activities, there is never a dull moment for students.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $9,666
Non-Resident Tuition: $19,444
Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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10

Northern Kentucky University

  • Highland Heights, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 37%

Established in 1968, Northern Kentucky University is a public institution that serves primarily undergraduate students although it does have several advanced degree programs at the master’s and doctoral levels as well. Students seeking a liberal arts degree will have a wide array of options through the six colleges including the arts, art and sciences, business, education, human services, health professions, informatics, and law. Located in Highland Heights, NKU is situated near the greater Cincinnati metro area providing many unique internship opportunities as well as cultural activities for students.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $10,032
Non-Resident Tuition: $19,680
Faculty to Student Ratio: 19 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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11

Western Kentucky University

  • Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 44%

Established in 1906 as a public institution for higher learning, Western Kentucky University has grown to enroll over 20,000 students each year on their main campus in Bowling Green as well as four regional campuses. The main campus is Bowling Green is one of the most beautiful campuses with gardens and sculptures. It is also ranked among the top ten college towns in the nation. Western Kentucky University offers undergraduate degrees in four areas of study including business, health sciences, liberal arts and sciences, and education. Many in-demand majors include elementary education, psychology, nursing, business administration, and more.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $10,512
Non-Resident Tuition: $26,280
Faculty to Student Ratio: 18 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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12

Beckfield College

  • Florence, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 20%

Established in 1984 as an educational service center, Beckfield College has Expanded to be an associate and bachelor degree granting institution at an affordable cost. Enrolling approximately 1,000 students each year, Beckfield remains a small institution with caring and dedicated faculty. Students can pursue degrees in either business administration, RN to BSN, to a three year BSN program. Though it is a smaller institution students can choose between in person courses on campus or online courses to fit their needs. They can also choose to enroll full-time or part-time in their desired degree program. With a low faculty to student ratio, faculty know each of their students.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $13,295
Non-Resident Tuition: $13,295
Faculty to Student Ratio: 11 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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13

University of Pikeville

  • Pikeville, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 73%

Established in 1889, the University of Pikeville is a private institution for higher learning affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. Approximately 2,300 students enroll each year in the undergraduate and graduate programs offered in their various departments. Many in-demand degrees are offered including psychology, business, nursing, social work, communications, criminal justice, youth services, and many more. UPIKE is also home to the only optometry school in the state, Kentucky College of Optometry as well as the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. UPIKE remains affordable and personal even as a higher ranking institution for higher learning.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $20,950
Non-Resident Tuition: $20,950
Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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14

Kentucky Christian University

  • Grayson, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 28%

Established in 1919, Kentucky Christian University was founded as a normal school, meaning it originally provided education for high school, junior college and trained teachers. Since its opening, Kentucky Christian University has expanded to award undergraduate and graduate degrees. Each year 500 students are enrolled in various academic programs including nursing, business, social work, biology, Bible Ministry and more. Students receive personalized attention with a low faculty to student ratio. Those desiring to attend online also have that option in some degree programs. Students also have access to many extra curricular activities when they are not in the classroom such as the robust Outdoor Adventure Fellowship with miles of hiking and biking trails.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $19,256
Non-Resident Tuition: $19,256
Faculty to Student Ratio: 11 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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15

Brescia University

  • Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 28%

Established in 1925, Brescia University is a private Catholic institution for higher learning. Originally founded as a junior college for women, it is now a coeducational university. Students have undergraduate degree options in academic departments of humanities, fine arts, mathematics, business, education, social work, and more. Students seeking to earn their degree online can do so in the degree programs of business psychology, liberal arts, integrated science, social work and more. Campus life includes athletics, student-led clubs and organizations, on campus ministry and more.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $22,100
Non-Resident Tuition: $22,100
Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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16

Midway University

  • Midway, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 35%

A private institution, Midway University was the only woman’s college in Kentucky until 2016, when it became a coeducational institution. Affiliated with the Christian Church, students will receive a faith centered education while attending Midway University. Students can pursue a two, four, or graduate degree either in person on campus or online. One of the few universities that had a department dedicated to Equine Studies where students can earn a specialized degree with hands-on experience. Other departments include Business, Health Sciences, and Arts and Sciences. Students can pursue many popular majors such as nursing, business administration, education, marketing, and more. Many extracurricular activities also draw students such as the athletic teams, equestrian competitions, clubs, and organizations.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $24,750
Non-Resident Tuition: $24,750
Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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17

Union College

  • Barbourville, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

Established in 1879, Union College is a private institution for higher learning affiliated with the United Methodist Church. As a smaller institution, students receive more personalized instruction and opportunities for leadership. Approximately 900 undergraduate students enroll each year along with 200 graduate students. Union College has 10 undergraduate departments that offer over 35 majors for students to earn a degree in. A sampling of those fields of study includes criminal justice, psychology, biology, business administration, accounting, and more. An area of pride for UC is the number of hours their students donate to service and volunteering within the community. It is within their community they learn to become true leaders.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $27,140
Non-Resident Tuition: $27,140
Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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18

University of the Cumberlands

  • Williamsburg, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

Established in 1888, University of the Cumberlands is a private institution affiliated with the Baptist Church. Students have over 40 majors to choose from for their undergraduate program at an affordable cost with many various opportunities for financial aid. Approximately 2,200 students enrolled are undergraduate students with 9,000 graduate students enrolling each year. Various opportunities are granted for experiential learning, from internships to study abroad programs. Student life is vibrant with plenty of clubs, organizations, athletics, and more. It is also known for alumni and their service in the military and government.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $23,000
Non-Resident Tuition: $23,000
Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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19

Lindsey Wilson College

  • Columbia, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 33%

Established in 1903, Lindsey Wilson College is a private institution that is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Established to train teachers, Lindsey Wilson College has since expanded to confer various levels of degrees in a variety of fields. Programs for degrees include business, education, humanities and fine arts, science and interdisciplinary studies, professional counseling, and nursing. With 95% of undergraduate students receiving financial aid, attending becomes more affordable than ever. Nearly half of the students live on campus, making student life engaging.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $24,850
Non-Resident Tuition: $24,850
Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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20

Campbellsville University

  • Campbellsville, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

Established in 1906, Campbellsville University is a private institution affiliated with the Baptist Church. From humble beginnings, Campbellsville University has grown to operate 5 off-campus centers for instruction as well as fully online programs. Approximately 4,300 students enroll each year to earn their degrees in one of the many majors available. Students can earn a degree at every level in fields such as accounting, arts, criminal justice, economic, education, and many many more. Students will receive an education where Christian principles are integrated into their courses in each program. Student life is vibrant with many clubs, athletics, concerts, and more.

At A Glance

Resident Tuition: $25,400
Non-Resident Tuition: $25,400
Faculty to Student Ratio: 19 to 1
Financial Aid: Yes
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Those seeking out the cheapest colleges in Kentucky but don’t want to sacrifice quality, look no further, these are the best bang for your buck.  Every college or university on this list is accredited and has passed the test for cost, faculty to student ratio, and graduation rate. Higher education should be an investment, not a risk.  With a degree from the cheapest colleges in Kentucky, it can be the best investment you ever made.

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BestValueSchools.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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