2022 best colleges in Kentucky best-colleges

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.

Degree premium: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state. This is called “Vs. state average” in school profiles below.

Ranking: The payback rate is divided by the degree premium (set as a percentage), the lower the number the higher the rank. (i.e. payback=1, degree premium 20% higher than state school median: 1/120% = .883.

Net cost
Earnings
Payback
Degree premium
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Kentucky

Berea College

Berea, Kentucky

Admission rate: 33%

Grad rate: 64%

Net cost: $5,184

Payback: 1.7 Years

Earnings: $37,154

Vs. state average: - $5,986

Economic score: 1.94

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#2 in Kentucky

University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Admission rate: 97%

Grad rate: 65%

Net cost: $17,127

Payback: 2.5 Years

Earnings: $54,458

Vs. state average: + $11,318

Economic score: 1.95

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#3 in Kentucky

Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Admission rate: 88%

Grad rate: 49%

Net cost: $9,049

Payback: 2.0 Years

Earnings: $44,814

Vs. state average: + $1,674

Economic score: 1.96

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#4 in Kentucky

Thomas More University

Crestview Hills, Kentucky

Admission rate: 92%

Grad rate: 50%

Net cost: $19,161

Payback: 2.7 Years

Earnings: $55,566

Vs. state average: + $12,426

Economic score: 2.06

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#5 in Kentucky

Centre College

Danville, Kentucky

Admission rate: 73%

Grad rate: 83%

Net cost: $22,251

Payback: 3.3 Years

Earnings: $57,976

Vs. state average: + $14,836

Economic score: 2.47

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#6 in Kentucky

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Admission rate: 66%

Grad rate: 54%

Net cost: $16,867

Payback: 3.0 Years

Earnings: $49,875

Vs. state average: + $6,735

Economic score: 2.61

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#7 in Kentucky

Bellarmine University

Louisville, Kentucky

Admission rate: 83%

Grad rate: 67%

Net cost: $23,121

Payback: 3.4 Years

Earnings: $52,312

Vs. state average: + $9,172

Economic score: 2.79

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#8 in Kentucky

Murray State University

Murray, Kentucky

Admission rate: 78%

Grad rate: 57%

Net cost: $11,390

Payback: 2.9 Years

Earnings: $41,894

Vs. state average: - $1,246

Economic score: 2.97

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#9 in Kentucky

Georgetown College

Georgetown, Kentucky

Admission rate: 73%

Grad rate: 58%

Net cost: $17,300

Payback: 4.0 Years

Earnings: $45,697

Vs. state average: + $2,557

Economic score: 3.80

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#10 in Kentucky

Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Admission rate: 98%

Grad rate: 48%

Net cost: $11,962

Payback: 3.5 Years

Earnings: $39,268

Vs. state average: - $3,872

Economic score: 3.82

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#11 in Kentucky

Transylvania University

Lexington, Kentucky

Admission rate: 93%

Grad rate: 75%

Net cost: $23,906

Payback: 4.7 Years

Earnings: $49,994

Vs. state average: + $6,854

Economic score: 4.01

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#12 in Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Admission rate: 98%

Grad rate: 50%

Net cost: $14,149

Payback: 3.8 Years

Earnings: $40,500

Vs. state average: - $2,640

Economic score: 4.10

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#13 in Kentucky

University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Admission rate: 82%

Grad rate: 55%

Net cost: $16,894

Payback: 4.2 Years

Earnings: $41,506

Vs. state average: - $1,634

Economic score: 4.39

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#14 in Kentucky

Spalding University

Louisville, Kentucky

Admission rate: 94%

Grad rate: 47%

Net cost: $25,992

Payback: 5.2 Years

Earnings: $47,088

Vs. state average: + $3,948

Economic score: 4.72

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#15 in Kentucky

Morehead State University

Morehead, Kentucky

Admission rate: 77%

Grad rate: 49%

Net cost: $12,421

Payback: 4.1 Years

Earnings: $37,486

Vs. state average: - $5,654

Economic score: 4.73

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#16 in Kentucky

University of Pikeville

Pikeville, Kentucky

Admission rate: N/A

Grad rate: 54%

Net cost: $18,406

Payback: 5.3 Years

Earnings: $41,466

Vs. state average: - $1,674

Economic score: 5.52

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#17 in Kentucky

Asbury University

Wilmore, Kentucky

Admission rate: 76%

Grad rate: 61%

Net cost: $27,631

Payback: 6.6 Years

Earnings: $41,352

Vs. state average: - $1,788

Economic score: 6.93

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#18 in Kentucky

Midway University

Midway, Kentucky

Admission rate: 74%

Grad rate: 47%

Net cost: $22,706

Payback: 6.6 Years

Earnings: $38,294

Vs. state average: - $4,846

Economic score: 7.44

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#19 in Kentucky

Lindsey Wilson College

Columbia, Kentucky

Admission rate: N/A

Grad rate: 49%

Net cost: $15,435

Payback: 7.4 Years

Earnings: $32,910

Vs. state average: - $10,230

Economic score: 9.70

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#20 in Kentucky

Kentucky State University

Frankfort, Kentucky

Admission rate: 84%

Grad rate: 30%

Net cost: $7,076

Payback: 3.0 Years

Earnings: $34,717

Vs. state average: - $8,423

Economic score: 3.77

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