When it comes to online degrees, Kentucky offers its residents plenty of choices. The state has invested heavily in its remote study options. This is evident in the number of renowned state and private universities providing online education for students at all stages of life and all higher education levels.
Of course, that choice also comes with potential challenges. Between Louisville and Midway, the University of Kentucky and Union College, how could you possibly choose the best Kentucky online degree program for your needs?
The answer is often complex. When it comes to higher education, there is no simple best choice. Instead, the answer depends on what you're looking for. From “most personal attention to students” to “highest mid-career salaries of graduates,” these are the 10 best Kentucky online universities to choose from.
What We'll Cover
- Highest Graduation Rate: Asbury University
- Lowest Tuition: University of the Cumberlands
- Most School Spirit: University of Louisville
- Biggest Mid-Career Salary: University of Kentucky
- Most Personal Attention: Kentucky Wesleyan College
- Most Kentucky Online Degree Options: Western Kentucky University
- Most Storied History: Midway University
- Best Non-Kentucky Online College for Non-degree Seeking Students: Southern New Hampshire University
- Which Kentucky Online University is Right for You?
Highest Graduation Rate: Asbury University
Online college can be difficult for remote students. The remote learning aspect is not always intuitive, and life can more easily get in the way. Graduation rates, then, are a great way to judge whether the school you're considering is worth your tuition dollars. When it comes to this criterion, Asbury University leads Kentucky online universities with an impressive 69 percent.
That more than two-thirds of online students graduate from Asbury is impressive, considering that it's higher than average for most in-person state schools. Asbury University is a Christian liberal arts university with approximately 2,000 students, most of whom study in-person. However, its adult remote programs (ranging from associate to bachelor's and master's degrees in social work, leadership, communication and education) make it a top online college in Kentucky.
Of course, that quality education comes with a price. Asbury charges more tuition than most other schools on this list, and every online student has to pay per-credit rates. Still, it's a great choice if you're worrying about the quality of the online format.
Lowest Tuition: University of the Cumberlands
Compare the relatively high per-credit tuition at other online colleges with the University of the Cumberlands and you’ll find it is a great deal financially for its online students. In fact, it's only $199 per credit hour for undergraduate students, which OnlineU ranks as the lowest among all Kentucky online degrees on its list.
Like Asbury, the University of the Cumberlands is a private Christian university. Each year, about 12,000 students work toward their bachelor's and master's degrees. Online options include associate degrees, bachelor's degrees and even an RN to BSN track.
That low price, however, comes with a lower graduation rate of about 41 percent. That's about average for online degrees across the United States, but far below Asbury. The low tuition, combined with plenty of choices and a low graduation rate, make the University of the Cumberlands perfect for students just looking to finish their degrees or take some individual classes online.
Most School Spirit: University of Louisville
You've heard about the Cardinals, of course. The University of Louisville is among the most storied in the nation, with basketball and football histories that reach back an entire century. Founded in 1798, it was the first city-owned public university in the United States. To this day, few schools come close to the school spirit and alumni loyalty you experience as one of 21,000 current students.
It's not always easy to build school spirit as an online student, of course. But at the University of Louisville, it's possible. The school makes a conscious effort to integrate its remote students into the school community, including watch parties for football and basketball games and much more. Attend here, even as a remote student, and you'll be a Cardinal for life.
Of course, that's not the only thing the University of Louisville has to offer as one of Kentucky's best online universities. A graduation rate of 54 percent is respectful, and so are the many online resources, from disability services to an online library complete with live chat. You'll get the studying done, but you'll feel good about that school name on your resume, as well.
Biggest Mid-Career Salary: University of Kentucky
Next to Louisville, the University of Kentucky is the other school in the state most commonly known for its athletics. However, it has so much more to offer, as evidenced by the reason it's on this list: Out of all Kentucky's online colleges, it has the highest mid-career salary average for its graduates at an impressive $85,800.
Do the number of NBA athletes this school has produced skew those numbers? Maybe a little. But, there are other reasons for the success of its online grads. A graduation rate of 65 percent is impressive, especially for a school known for its athletics. Additionally, it has a 17:1 faculty-student ratio, a sign that you will get the personal attention you need to succeed among its 29,000 students.
Most Personal Attention: Kentucky Wesleyan College
Speaking of faculty-to-student ratio, let’s talk about Kentucky Wesleyan College. Faculty-to-student ratio is a great measure to figure out whether the school you enroll in will give each of its students the attention they need to succeed. That's especially vital for online degrees, where professors and students are generally separated by computer screen. In addition, if a low faculty-to-student ratio stands for more personalized attention, Kentucky Wesleyan College comes out as a clear winner in this category with a ratio of 12:1.
The 17:1 cited for the University of Kentucky is good. But, 12:1 is almost as good as it gets. It means that the 783 undergraduate students enrolled at the school can always rely on the help of their professors when they need it. Kentucky Wesleyan is small, offering only six degree programs that are entirely online. In addition, its flexible seven-week classes with start dates every two months offer flexibility.
Most Kentucky Online Degree Options: Western Kentucky University
Whereas Kentucky Wesleyan is small and personalized, Western Kentucky has the options. In fact, it offers more than 100 online programs that range from certificates to master's degrees. Thirty degrees alone are master's degrees, perfect for continuing education. Even if you just want to take a single online class, you have 1,700 options to pick from.
That degree of choice is why Western Kentucky routinely shows up in lists of the best Kentucky online degrees. On the flip side, the graduation rate (45 percent) is respectable but not outstanding, ranking in the middle of the pack. Similarly, tuition ($16,100 on average) and mid-career salary ($71,500) rank in the middle as well. It's a solid online school that quickly rises to the top in the categories of choice and program flexibility.
Most Storied History: Midway University
Let's face it. Part of the charm of a college education is the institutional history you can dip into. Especially for liberal arts students, history and tradition become almost as important as the degree program or format chosen. When it comes to history and tradition, there is one clear choice on this list: Midway University.
Midway was founded in 1847 as a school for orphaned and disadvantaged women, and has since grown into a state-of-the-art liberal arts university that serves more than 1,500 students. True to its tradition, the school is strongest in education-related disciplines, but you can also find online degrees in business, criminal justice and communication.
Especially for its size, the school has a strong online reputation, and its resources reflect that. Remote students can take advantage of online tutoring, digital job boards, and even an online and mail-in library program. Combine that with the rich tradition of the university, and you have the rare online experience that almost feels like you're studying in-person.
Best Non-Kentucky Online College for Non-degree Seeking Students: Southern New Hampshire University
When it comes to online schools, it's difficult to not at least be aware of Southern New Hampshire University. SNHU has spent massive amounts of marketing dollars to raise its national profile, evolving from a small technical college founded in 1932 to one of the largest online universities in the nation.
Today, SNHU enrolls more than 80,000 students across the country. Despite its marketing tactics, which are reminiscent of for-profit universities, this is still a non-profit, accredited university that leads to a quality degree. It does all that with one of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, while allowing students to choose from more than 200 entirely online programs.
The graduation rate of 44 percent is average, but not stellar. The sheer number of online degrees to choose from and low tuition, combined with an entire university structure optimized for online students, make SNHU impossible to exclude from any list of online universities, in Kentucky or otherwise. This school should absolutely be on your consideration list.
Which Kentucky Online University is Right for You?
Choosing a university for your degree, online or not, is a significant decision that comes with significant consequences. You'll spend thousands in tuition and years of your time to get that degree. Choose wisely, depending on the factors most important to you. Take this list into account, but perform your own research to choose among the best and most relevant Kentucky online degrees for your situation.