2022 best colleges in Kentucky

The Kentucky higher education scene offers a blend of quality academics, history, and innovation, including the state’s largest school, the University of Kentucky. Home to the first emergency room and first successful hand transplant in the world, the University of Louisville School of Medicine has been a pioneer in the medical field since its inception. Berea College, a private liberal arts institution, was the first college to be fully racially integrated and co-educational in the Southern United States. Today, it’s recognized for its unique operating model which provides four-year scholarships to all students and instead requires students to hold on-campus jobs.

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Earningsplus: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state.

Rankings: The ranking order is based on the economic score. The economic score is calculated using a school’s payback and earningsplus performance.

Net cost
Payback
Earnings
EarningsPlus
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Kentucky | #25 in Liberal Arts

Berea College

Berea, Kentucky

Economic score: 1.94

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $5,184

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $37,154

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $5,986

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 33%
Graduation rate: 64%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#2 in Kentucky | #117 in National Universities

University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Economic score: 1.95

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $17,127

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $54,458

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $11,318

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 97%
Graduation rate: 65%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#3 in Kentucky | #118 in National Universities

Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Economic score: 1.96

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $9,049

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $44,814

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $1,674

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 88%
Graduation rate: 49%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#4 in Kentucky

Thomas More University

Crestview Hills, Kentucky

Economic score: 2.06

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $19,161

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $55,566

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $12,426

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 92%
Graduation rate: 50%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#5 in Kentucky | #47 in Liberal Arts

Centre College

Danville, Kentucky

Economic score: 2.47

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $22,251

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $57,976

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $14,836

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 73%
Graduation rate: 83%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#6 in Kentucky | #202 in National Universities

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Economic score: 2.61

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $16,867

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $49,875

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $6,735

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 66%
Graduation rate: 54%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#7 in Kentucky | #218 in National Universities

Bellarmine University

Louisville, Kentucky

Economic score: 2.79

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $23,121

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $52,312

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $9,172

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 83%
Graduation rate: 67%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#8 in Kentucky

Murray State University

Murray, Kentucky

Economic score: 2.97

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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Net cost: $11,390

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,894

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,246

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 78%
Graduation rate: 57%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#9 in Kentucky | #107 in Liberal Arts

Georgetown College

Georgetown, Kentucky

Economic score: 3.80

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $17,300

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $45,697

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $2,557

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 73%
Graduation rate: 58%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#10 in Kentucky | #302 in National Universities

Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Economic score: 3.82

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $11,962

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $39,268

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $3,872

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 98%
Graduation rate: 48%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#11 in Kentucky | #117 in Liberal Arts

Transylvania University

Lexington, Kentucky

Economic score: 4.01

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $23,906

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $49,994

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $6,854

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 93%
Graduation rate: 75%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#12 in Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Economic score: 4.10

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $14,149

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $40,500

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $2,640

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 98%
Graduation rate: 50%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#13 in Kentucky | #329 in National Universities

University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Economic score: 4.39

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,894

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,506

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,634

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 82%
Graduation rate: 55%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#14 in Kentucky | #340 in National Universities

Spalding University

Louisville, Kentucky

Economic score: 4.72

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $25,992

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 5.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $47,088

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $3,948

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 94%
Graduation rate: 47%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#15 in Kentucky

Morehead State University

Morehead, Kentucky

Economic score: 4.73

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $12,421

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $37,486

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $5,654

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 77%
Graduation rate: 49%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#16 in Kentucky | #155 in Liberal Arts

University of Pikeville

Pikeville, Kentucky

Economic score: 5.52

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $18,406

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 5.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,466

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,674

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 54%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#17 in Kentucky

Asbury University

Wilmore, Kentucky

Economic score: 6.93

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $27,631

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 6.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,352

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,788

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 76%
Graduation rate: 61%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#18 in Kentucky

Midway University

Midway, Kentucky

Economic score: 7.44

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $22,706

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 6.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $38,294

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $4,846

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 74%
Graduation rate: 47%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#19 in Kentucky

Lindsey Wilson College

Columbia, Kentucky

Economic score: 9.70

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $15,435

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 7.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $32,910

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $10,230

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 49%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

Kentucky State University

Frankfort, Kentucky

Economic score: 3.77

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $7,076

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $34,717

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $8,423

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 84%
Graduation rate: 30%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

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