Best Colleges in Kentucky

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Once you’ve decided to pursue a college degree, you’ll need to condense your list of prospective schools. With so many postsecondary institutions to choose from, this can be an overwhelming process. Students who want to attend school in Kentucky will find 34 regionally-accredited state universities and colleges to consider, along with dozens of two-year programs.

When evaluating colleges, students must consider a number of factors across schools, from tuition to campus life. We have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Kentucky, including the top four-year and two-year schools. Our proprietary algorithm incorporates performance marker data from federal education databases, including information on acceptance, retention, enrollment and graduation rates. Below, you’ll find our list of the best colleges in Kentucky.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Our list of the top online colleges in Kentucky was determined by our in-house algorithm. The list only includes schools offering fully accredited online programs. Prospective students will also find the technical dimensions and educational initiatives at each school in their profiles below.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

Berea College

 4/562.23%Berea, KY


Founded on Christian values, Berea College has the distinction of being the first college in the south to welcome African American students into mixed classrooms. Berea is also unique among Kentucky colleges for providing each student with a Tuition Promise Scholarship of $24,300 annually, ensuring that students do not pay tuition.

Students may pursue 32 majors in arts and sciences, including a dual-degree in engineering in partnership with the University of Kentucky. Campus life offers many clubs, sports teams, and a service learning program that allows students to apply lessons learned in the classroom to help local communities.

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Centre College

 5/582.14%Danville, KY


Recognized for getting to know their students on a personal level, Centre’s professors establish the school asabove the rest . From their very first year, students are invited to professors’ homes and often form deep relationships with them.

This commitment to student development helps students thrive and is reinforced by The Centre Guarantee, which ensures that all students are provided with an opportunity to intern or conduct research, study abroad, and graduate in four years. If those three requirements aren’t met, Centre provides up to a year of additional tuition-free education.

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University of Louisville

 2/553.53%Louisville, KY


Having desegregated classes in 1950-51, the University of Louisville is proud to be a leader in diversity among Kentucky colleges. In addition to a variety of compelling majors such as Atmospheric Science, Pan-African Studies, and Public Health, the university offers the opportunity to study Military Science and become part of the Air Force or Army ROTC.

University of Louisville’s three campuses are located near Kentucky’s most vibrant metro area, allowing students easy access to the city’s symphony, theatre, and Speed Art Museum. Students are also able to enjoy Louisville, Kentucky’s finely designed, nationally top-ranked parks.

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Asbury University

 4/567.73%Wilmore, KY


Asbury is ideal for students seeking a broad variety of majors, rigorous academics, and a spiritually guided approach to the world. Asbury’s Evangelical foundation has produced many Christian leaders among its 20,000 alumni. However, the university does not receive financial contributions from any religious denomination and offers a full liberal arts curriculum.

Students may choose from 52 majors spanning the fields of fine arts, business, education, and communication arts. Asbury also offers a rich campus life and a variety of men’s and women’s sports leagues, including a golf option.

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University of Kentucky

 3/561.39%Lexington, KY


University of Kentucky is known for its vibrancy and dynamism. Students who attend the university may choose from over 200 liberal arts and technical majors. Dedicated to research, UK offers undergraduate students research opportunities and is diligently working toward its goal of being ranked within the top 20 research universities in the United States.

Diversity is another factor in UK’s rich makeup. Its student body represents 117 countries, all 50 states, and every one of Kentucky’s counties. Exciting Living Learning programs allow students to meet even more people of varied backgrounds.

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Transylvania University

 5/570.48%Lexington, KY

As one of the Kentucky colleges located inside an urban area, Transylvania University offers students the unique opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. 90% of students work, intern, and perform community service in the downtown Lexington, Kentucky community in which the university’s 70-acre campus sits.

This practical experience reinforces the academic training students receive in 38 liberal arts and scientific majors including Art History, Economics, and Theatre as well as Biology, Chemistry, and Neuroscience. There are also over 70 student organizations and clubs to choose from for on campus engagement.

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Murray State University

 2/552%Murray, KY

Murray is unique among Kentucky colleges for creating the first successful residential college program in an American public university. Murray’s residential colleges are faculty-led communities that plan learning opportunities, social events, and over 3,000 other activities for both on campus and commuter students. In addition to these special programs, students have their choice of membership in over 150 campus clubs.

The university’s varied options extend to the academic arena as well, with almost 120 majors to choose from. With an average class size of just 21, students receive the benefits of a research university combined with lots of one-on-one attention.

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Northern Kentucky University

 2/536.18%Highland Heights, KY

Northern is exceptional among Kentucky colleges for its work with veterans. Northern celebrates its veteran students through special recognition ceremonies and works to foster community among them by holding special veterans social events. Veterans also enjoy a designated lounge, peer counseling program, and assistance with finding on campus resources and off campus internships.

With 67 bachelor’s degrees to choose from, all students receive an excellent education and look forward to over 200 employers recruiting on campus every year. Students also engage with campus life and a variety of sports teams including men’s and women’s baseball, golf, and tennis.

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Georgetown College

 5/554.88%Georgetown, KY

Georgetown College fuses excellent education with an active, multidimensional Christian community. Informed by Baptist principles, the college inspires students to discover the truth about God by discovering the truth about the world. With over 50 majors including European Studies, Exercise Science, and Christian Leadership to select from, students are able to pursue their scholastic interests in an environment sustained by values.

Campus life is robust and offers many Christian service options. Traditional offerings such as Greek life, student organizations, and numerous intramural sports are also available.

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Midway University

 4/543.33%Midway, KY

Of all the outstanding colleges in Kentucky, Midway is the state’s only women’s college. Founded in 1847, Midway’s original mission was to educate disadvantaged and orphaned women in order to prevent their spending a lifetime as maids or laborers.

Today, Midway provides young women from all walks of life with a rigorous education in such fields as business, nursing, and teaching. Equine Education is another popular major at Midway as the campus, which is located in Kentucky’s internationally famous horse country, is surrounded by the world’s most renowned horse farms and functions as one itself.

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Spalding University

 4/538.24%Louisville, KY

Spalding is unique for having established the state’s first baccalaureate program in nursing back in 1933. Since then, the program has continued to perform strongly and serves as a leader in the field.

Guided by its founders, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Spalding deeply believes in community service. With this ideal in mind, it created the Egan Service Learning Program to help students who help the university. In exchange for performing community service on and off campus, program participants receive sizable discounts on residence hall costs.

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Eastern Kentucky University

 2/541.86%Richmond, KY

Eastern offers an ample assortment of distinctive undergraduate programs. Animal Studies, Apparel Design and Merchandising, Aviation, Communication Disorders, and Fire Protection Administration are just some of the fascinating majors available at Eastern that students won’t find at other Kentucky colleges.

Eastern’s campus life is also unique. Its dining halls are known for serving delicious food while the athletic facility provides innovative programs to burn calories. With a free commuter bike program, indoor climbing wall, outdoor equipment rental, kayak clinic, and back country cooking workshop, Eastern students can have fun, stay physically fit, and learn intriguing new skills.

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Bellarmine University

 5/567.55%Louisville, KY

Bellarmine provides a superb education guided by Catholic values. Students may select from 64 majors including Music, Sports Administration, Respiratory Therapy, and Theology. The university also offers six pre-professional programs in Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Physical Therapy, and Pre-Veterinary.

The beautiful, 175-acre campus sits atop three hills located a short walk from an assortment of unique coffee shops, eateries, and local stores. Downtown Louisville is also just a few minutes from campus, giving students opportunities to interact with peers from other Kentucky colleges located in the area and engage with the city’s exceptional cultural attractions.

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Kentucky Wesleyan College

 4/540.64%Owensboro, KY

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1, students will receive individualized attention and form strong relationships with their professors. Wesleyan believes that relationships are what will make the leaders of tomorrow and contribute to their success. Participation in the college’s 45 clubs and Greek life options is an integral part of the Wesleyan experience.

Of course Wesleyan also offers strong academic programs in 31 subject areas. Notable majors include Fitness & Sports Management, Health Sciences, and Zoology. Wesleyan is not only one of the only colleges in Kentucky to offer Zoology, but one of the only ones in the entire country.

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Campbellsville University

 4/539.37%Campbellsville, KY

Campbellsville offers more than 80 majors and 27 varsity teams that compete in 17 sports, making it one of the most exciting colleges in Kentucky. Notable majors include Organizational Management, Film, and Biblical Studies. Students may also engage in a number of pre-professional programs including Pre-Optometry and Pre-Engineering.

Christian values are an essential component of the Campbellsville experience. The university encourages students to ask faith-based questions and believes that the experience of doing so strengthens their relationships with God. Over 60 clubs and organizations also allow students to explore a wide range of interests.

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Western Kentucky University

 2/543.55%Bowling Green, KY

Western has been consistently recognized among Kentucky colleges as a leader for veteran students. For instance, as part of its veterans services Western provides military students with free textbooks.

Western is also an academic leader. Effective fall 2016, it will offer a major in Geosciences with concentrations in Water Technology and Wastewater Management. Other notable majors include Photojournalism and Political Communication. Additionally, Western has a lot to offer outside the classroom. Students seeking to participate in sports have plenty to choose from. Men’s teams feature Baseball, Cross Country, and Swimming & Diving and women’s include Golf, Softball, and Volleyball.

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Thomas More College

 4/546.21%Crestview Hills, KY

Thomas More College offers more than 42 undergraduate majors in such fields as criminal justice, physics, and theology. One noteworthy, new program at this Kentucky college is the Marine Biology track, part of the greater Biology major.

The campus is located right by downtown Cincinnati, giving students the opportunity to explore the hustle and bustle of a major city and partake in its many cultural offerings. There are also over 45 on campus clubs like Marching Band and Choir that allow for fun and learning beyond the classroom. Those interested in Greek life also have many options to choose from.

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Morehead State University

 2/542.73%Morehead, KY

Students who attend Morehead State may select from over 130 majors, making Morehead one of the liveliest Kentucky colleges. Biomedical Sciences, Special Education, Convergent Media, Radiology, and Sport Management are some of the university’s most popular programs.

Morehead State has an impressive campus consisting of more than 700 acres. Although the campus houses more than 50 structures such as libraries and residence halls, its most remarkable feature is easily the space tracking system that Morehead State erected with its partner, NASA. It is therefore no surprise that Morehead State offers a bachelor’s degree in Astrophysics.

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University of the Cumberlands

 3/535.56%Williamsburg, KY

Campus life at University of the Cumberlands is extremely rich and stimulating. In addition to opportunities for student government and community outreach, the university is home to a number of national honors societies including the Eta Beta Rho society for Hebrew.

Furthermore, one of the things that really sets Cumberlands apart from other Kentucky colleges is its diverse sports portfolio. Cumberlands offers both men’s and women’s Archery, men’s and women’s Lacrosse, and men’s and women’s Wrestling. More traditional options such as men’s and women’s Baseball, Tennis, and Golf are available as well.

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Brescia University

 3/525.66%Owensboro, KY

Brescia was founded on the Ursuline Catholic tradition of transforming the student and society through education. Like other excellent Kentucky colleges, Brescia offers a variety of academic majors such as History or Pre-law that are centered in the liberal arts.

In addition to supporting students with classroom-based learning, Brescia encourages participation in the broader university community for the learning opportunities such participation offers. Students may join the university’s many student-led organizations, sports teams, and ministry events. Ministry events are an especially important part of campus life for their role in the community building process.

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Kentucky State University

 2/519.79%Frankfort, KY

KSU’s 882-acre campus includes a 204-acre farm used exclusively for agricultural research, a distinctive feature among Kentucky colleges. The campus also devotes 306 acres to environmental education.

Students have the option to pursue 24 bachelor’s degrees in mathematics, journalism, social studies, business administration, and computer science, among other fields. Freshman and sophomore students are required to live on campus unless they are a veteran, married, live with a parent or guardian within 50 miles of the university, or are over the age of 21. Freshman students are allowed to have a car provided they register it with the university.

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Union College

 4/531.97%Barbourville, KY

Union’s approach to education and student life is grounded on four pillars, making it special among Kentucky colleges. First, it inspires its students to be devoted to public and community service. Second, Union is proud of its welcoming and warm Appalachian culture. Next, it draws values from its Methodist background. And finally, it offers a rigorous academic experience in liberal arts.

Ten academic departments including business, natural science, and psychology offer students a variety of majors. With average class sizes of 20 students, classroom instruction is strengthened by deep relationships with and personal attention from professors.

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University of Pikeville

 3/539.55%Pikeville, KY

Pikeville’s liberal arts curriculum trains students to develop effective critical thinking, communication, and quantitative skills in order to prepare them to be leaders in their communities. By promoting cultural awareness and working to open students’ minds to different points of view, Pikeville also distinguishes itself as a leader.

As its name suggests, the university is located in Pikeville, Kentucky, a leading financial center. The city hosts the university’s basketball teams and offers students a number of attractions such as public festivals, eateries, and more.

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Saint Catharine College

 3/531.08%Saint Catharine, KY

Founded on Catholic and Dominican heritage, Saint Catharine College is proud to welcome students of all faiths into a nurturing community that combines liberal arts education with hands-on professional training. For example, its field-based teacher education program places students into classroom-based internships from the program’s outset.

Especially distinctive from other Kentucky colleges is the Radiation Therapy program, as it is the only one in the state and one of just 80 in the whole country. It is also the only college in the world that offers a farming program based on the ideas of Wendell Berry.

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Lindsey Wilson College

 4/534.92%Columbia, KY

Lindsey Wilson College offers students a rich student life full of student organizations and a wide variety of sports teams combined with a challenging liberal arts education. Thanks to the college’s ties with the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, students also have the opportunity to join faith-based groups such as the Prayer Team and Creative Arts Ministry.

This Kentucky college strives to make students feel welcome and at home as they build community and expand their scholastic horizons. Academic offerings include Art, Biology, Education, Psychology, and Communications. The college also has a program in Recreation and Tourism.

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The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training estimates that by 2018, some form of postsecondary education will be required for 29% of all jobs and 48% of new positions in Kentucky. The state’s educational apparatus is working to prepare future generations to meet the demand for an educated workforce.

The Kentucky Adult Education Committee hopes to enroll 30% of the state’s high school graduates in postsecondary education within two years of receiving their diploma or GED by 2020. The year 2012 marked the first time that Kentucky’s associate degree attainment rate ranked above the national average. In the same year, Kentucky’s Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) awarded the fourth highest number of credentials in the country among community college systems.

KCTCS currently operates 16 colleges on more than 70 campuses across Kentucky. Associate degrees are also available through many of the state’s public universities. A two-year associate degree is a viable option for students who have not determined what they want to study, or those who wish to complete their postsecondary education quickly and enter the workforce after two years of school. Below, we take a look at the top two-year programs in the state.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

 1/536.76%Paducah, KY


West Kentucky Community and Technical College is a two-year public institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, with more than 6,500 student. Popular programs include Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies, Nursing (RN Training), Business Administration and Management, and Information Technology.

In 2015, the Aspen Institute named WKCTC one of the top three community colleges in the U.S. for a second time. Most students are part-time, and 89% receive financial aid. WKCTC is home to the Clemens Fine Arts Center and the Paducah School of Art & Design.

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Madisonville Community College

 1/528.57%Madisonville, KY


With three campuses and auxiliary locations, Madisonville Community College is an active member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges. Nursing, Advanced Integrated Technology, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Allied Health are among its most recognized associate degree programs.

The college awards more than 300 scholarships annually. MCC is home to the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, a performing arts center and art gallery. MCC was one of the first Kentucky colleges to include a Workforce Development Office to provide training service for area businesses.

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Owensboro Community and Technical College

 1/530.87%Owensboro, KY


A two-year public college, Owensboro Community and Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges. OCTC has four physical locations and an extensive online program. OCTC students enjoy access to some of the most distinctive programs offered by Kentucky colleges, including the first two-year degree in Veterinary Technology, the first Healthcare Facilities Leadership program in the U.S., the Advanced Technology Center, and training in alternative fuels.

OCTC students who transfer to four-year colleges earn higher grades than students who started at these schools. More than 60% of enrolled students are part-time.

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Gateway Community and Technical College

 1/529.63%Florence, KY


Gateway Community and Technical College is one of the fastest growing community colleges in Kentucky. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, it offers associate’s degrees in Business Administration, Criminal Justice and more, plus certificates and diplomas in fields ranging from Automotive Technology to Visual Communication.

Gateway students can take classes at five locations in three different communities. The Gateway VETS program eases the transition from the military to college for veterans, including awarding college credit for military service. The College also offers an Honors Program, giving academically successful students scholarships and increased faculty contact.

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Hazard Community and Technical College

 1/530.62%Hazard, KY


Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, Hazard Community and Technical College has five campuses and distance education options. Nearly 60% of students are part-time, and 85% receive financial aid. HCTC offers 200 different degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Academic programs include Business Administration Systems, Collision Repair Technology, and Visual Communications: Multimedia.

HCTC’s Professional Studio Artist program, for students pursuing a career in music and offered through the Kentucky School of Bluegrass & Traditional Music, is unique among Kentucky colleges. HCTC is a member of the University of the Mountains, which increases access to bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

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Maysville Community and Technical College

 1/529.19%Maysville, KY

Serving northeastern Kentucky with five different campuses, Maysville Community and Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges. It is one of the 16 two-year Kentucky colleges making up the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. MCTC offers certificates, diplomas, and associate’s degrees in more than 25 different fields.

Popular programs include Nursing, Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, Information Technology, Energy Systems Technology, Automotive Technology, and Culinary Arts. MCTC was recognized as a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs Magazine. MCTC offers students access to more than 20 unique scholarship opportunities.

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Elizabethtown Community and Technical College

 1/524.13%Elizabethtown, KY

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges and awards associate’s degrees in Arts, Science, and Applied Science. Seven technical programs, ranging from Automotive Technology to Respiratory Care, have national or state accreditation.

ECTC operates three campuses - including one on the Fort Knox military base -- and seven additional locations. A partnership with Western Kentucky University and articulation agreements with 14 four-year institutions help ECTC graduates continue their studies. ECTC works closely with the Army Continuing Education System to provide educational services to the military community.

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Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College

 1/524.58%Bowling Green, KY

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College provides educational opportunities for students planning to transfer to a four-year school as well as students planning to start their careers immediately. SKYCTC offers more than 30 degrees, diplomas, and certificates in four major fields on six campuses in three communities; Bowling Green, Glasgow, and Franklin.

SKYCTC has one of the lowest tuition rates of colleges in Kentucky. NightSKY, evening courses at SKYCTC, makes it possible for students with daytime commitments to pursue associate’s degrees or training for career advancement.

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Simmons College of Kentucky

 1/5N/ALouisville, KY

Simmons College of Kentucky is a private college accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), which is a national accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). It is designated a “historically black college or university.”

Simmons offers associate degree programs in General Studies and Religious Studies. Bachelor’s degree programs in Religious Studies are also available on campus, along with programs in Business Administration, Communications, and Sociology. With a 95% increase in enrollment, Simmons is one of the fastest growing colleges in Kentucky.

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Somerset Community College

 1/524.98%Somerset, KY

Somerset Community College is one of the fastest growing community colleges in Kentucky. With accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, SCC offers associate’s degrees in Health Sciences, Arts & Sciences, Applied Technology, and Business Administration, as well as career-building certificates and diplomas in many fields. Some programs, such as Criminal Justice and Medical Information: Technology, are completely online.

SCC has two main campuses and four centers offering daytime, evening, and weekend classes.In the 2012-2013 academic year, 267 students received $460,000 in scholarships from SCC, demonstrating the SCC commitment to providing students financial support.

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Henderson Community College

 1/524.74%Henderson, KY

More than 2,200 students pursue academic, technical, and transfer programs at Henderson Community College each year, and another 4,000 participate in its Adult Education programs. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, HCC is one of 16 two-year open-admissions colleges in Kentucky awarding the associate’s degree.

HCC offers classes in 16 areas at its main location in Henderson, and the Herron Center in Morganfield. Popular programs include Nursing, Agriculture Technology, Business Administration, Early Childhood Education and Information Technology. HCC also hosts the oldest full time adult education program at a community college in Kentucky.

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Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College

 1/529.18%Cumberland, KY

With accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College’s academic associate’s degree programs transfer readily to four-year colleges in Kentucky and beyond. More than half of SKCTC students are typically enrolled in transfer programs. In addition to its associate’s degree programs, Southeast offers more than 50 two-year programs, diplomas, and certificates in fields ranging from Air Conditioning to Surgical Technology.

The National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officially recognized that all five SKCTC campuses are StormReady® Supporters, with systems to protect people and property during severe weather.

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Jefferson Community and Technical College

 1/512.61%Louisville, KY

Each semester, 13,000 students take class at one of Jefferson Community and Technical College’s six campuses or through its extensive online program. Jefferson is the largest of the 16 Kentucky Colleges comprising the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. With accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, Jefferson offers more than 70 programs of study and 300 degree, diploma, and certificate options. Graduates can easily transfer to any college in Kentucky to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

JCTC students enjoy opportunities with area businesses, including UPS and its Metropolitan College, Norton Healthcare and Jewish Hospital, and St. Mary’s Healthcare.

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Hopkinsville Community College

 1/521.3%Hopkinsville, KY

Hopkinsville Community College serves more than 3,700 students each year, providing access to academic and technical associate degrees, diploma, and certificate programs in occupational fields, continuing education, distance education, and more. HCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges. Associate of Arts/Sciences, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Business Administration, Office-Systems Technology are among HCC’s most popular programs.

Sixty-four percent of HCC students are over 25. Environmental sustainability is a priority, and HCC was one of the first colleges in Kentucky to apply for a Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System evaluation.

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Bluegrass Community and Technical College

 1/516.87%Lexington, KY

Bluegrass Community and Technical College, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges, offers a Bluegrass Transfer Ambassador program assisting students planning to transfer.

BCTC is one of the largest Kentucky colleges, operating six campuses, plus two additional sites. Students take daytime, evening, weekend, and online classes, pursuing associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in more than 40 areas. Popular fields include Computer and Information Technologies, Cosmetology, Business Management and Marketing, Surgical Technology, Early Childhood Education, Automotive Technology, Respiratory Care, and Nursing. More than half of the student body is part-time.

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Big Sandy Community and Technical College

 1/520.04%Prestonsburg, KY

Big Sandy Community and Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges and is one of 16 two-year Kentucky colleges making up the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. BSCTC offers Associate of Arts, Associate of Sciences, and Associate of Applied Science degrees, as well as diplomas and certificates. More than 200 different credentials are available from this school, through 25 different academic and technical programs.

In 2015, 92% of students attending BSCTC received some sort of financial aid, thanks to the Big Sandy College Education Foundation, an independent non-profit supporting access to higher education.

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Ashland Community and Technical College

 1/519.73%Ashland, KY

With 30 different programs, Ashland Community and Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Colleges.The five most popular programs at ACTC are Associate in Arts/ Science, Associate Degree Nursing, Business Administration, Applied Process Technologies, and Medical Information Technology.

Like many two-year Kentucky Colleges, ACTC enhances access to education by offering classes at multiple campuses (3) and online. Through a partnership with Morehead State University, students may complete Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work, University Studies, and Education in Elementary, MIddle School, and Special Education on the ACTC College Drive Campus.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Kentucky, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Bluegrass State.

Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State for good reason: the land’s fertile soil yields acres of the soft, emerald-colored grass found throughout the state’s pastureland. Bordered by the Ohio River to the north and the Mississippi river to the west, Kentucky has more miles of running water — 1,100 navigable miles — than any state besides Alaska. Residents also enjoy views of the Appalachian Mountains, which lie across the eastern quarter of the state.

Beyond its natural beauty, Kentucky is known for its southern heritage and traditions, including its signature Bluegrass music, horse racing and barbeque. The state is also a haven for Civil War buffs, and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Alongside its rich tradition, Kentucky is home to thriving urban centers in its northern and southern central regions, including Louisville and Frankfort, the state capital.

According to a recent study, unemployment rates fell in 119 Kentucky counties between April 2014 and 2015, and the state’s unemployment rate as a whole has dropped to nearly 5%.

Regional Spotlight: North Central Kentucky

  • Major Cities: Frankfort; Lexington; Louisville; Radcliff; Elizabethtown; Covington; Richmond
  • Attractions: Churchill Downs and Kentucky Horse Park; Louisville Slugger Museum; Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts; Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail; Big Bone Lick State Park; Kentucky Speedway; Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
  • Cost of Living: Lexington
  • Popular Schools: University of Kentucky; University of Louisville, Northern Kentucky University; Bellarmine University; Eastern Kentucky University; Kentucky State University

Regional Spotlight: South Central Kentucky

  • Major Cities: Bowling Green
  • Attractions: Mammoth Cave National Park; Fort Williams; National Corvette Museum: Daniel Boone National Forest
  • Cost of Living: Bowling Green
  • Popular Schools: Western Kentucky University; Campbellsville University

Regional Spotlight: Eastern Kentucky

  • Major Cities: Ashland
  • Attractions: Broke Leg Falls; Kentucky Folk Arts Center; Coal Miners Museum; Paramount Arts Center; US 23 Country Music Highway Museum
  • Cost of Living: Ashland
  • Popular Schools: Alice Lloyd College; Morehead State University


All residents of Kentucky are eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges in the state. In-state tuition is significantly more affordable than out-of-state rates and students moving to Kentucky naturally want to establish residency to take advantage of the lower price tag.

For Minors:

Minors must prove that their guardians live in the state to claim residency themselves. To establish Kentucky residency, a minor must reside with a parent or guardian within the state’s boundaries. If the parents are divorced or separated, the minor must live with a parent in Kentucky. Minors must provide evidence that they lived with their parent in Kentucky before turning 18 and prove their intention to continue living with that parent until they begin school.

For Adults:

Students age 18 and older who plan to claim residence must meet specific criteria:

  • You must live in Kentucky for at least one year prior to declaring residence.
  • You must prove intent to make Kentucky your permanent home.
  • You must prove your financial independence. Adults under age 23 may need to declare emancipation from their parents.

Additional Resources

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Official State Links