The Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

The Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

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Kentucky has recently introduced several education initiatives designed to support students and teachers and improve public education in the state.

Offered through the Kentucky Council on Secondary Education, the Kentucky Virtual Campus promotes distance education programs. The state participates in the Southern Regional Education Board’s Educational Technology Cooperative, which supports and expands the use of technology in southern schools. While tuition at Kentucky colleges and universities is slightly higher than the national average, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs reports that the state awards over $200 million in grants to college students annually.

While there are only a few online colleges in KY, these schools offer a broad selection of programs. The University of Kentucky offers more than 20 online programs, including a master’s degree in tourism and retail management and a certificate in historic preservation. Kentucky State University offers several bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, as well as online certificates in aquatic sciences and information technology.

Online programs allow students to enjoy more flexible schedules and save money by avoiding on–campus housing, commuting, and other traditional college expenses. Completing a degree online can be particularly helpful for individuals who have job and family responsibilities. Students who choose to enroll in one of the online schools in KY have options at every degree level.

Top 10 Online Colleges in Kentucky 2020

#1 University of Louisville Louisville, KY
#2 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY
#3 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
#4 Brescia University Owensboro, KY
#5 Asbury University Wilmore, KY
#6 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
#7 Midway University Midway, KY
#8 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY
#9 Murray State University Murray, KY
#10 Campbellsville University Campbellsville, KY

The Best Online Colleges in Kentucky

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Brescia University 

Owensboro, KY Apply Now

About this school

Brescia University, established in 1950, is a Roman Catholic university. The university grew out of two universities which merged in 1950: Mount Saint Joseph Junior College for Women and Owensboro. The university is named after the city of Brescia, the Italian city where the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph was originally established. The university has over 900 students enrolled in six academic colleges.

Brescia University offers several associate, bachelor’s, master and certificate programs through BUonline. Some of their more popular programs include associate degrees in business and graphic design, bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology, master’s degrees in management and certificates in accounting.

Online student resources include technical support and an online library with librarians available via email, text message or over the phone as well as access to a variety of scholarly articles and journal databases.

Graduation Rate

Asbury University 

Wilmore, KY Apply Now

About this school

Asbury University, founded in 1890, is a private, Christian college. Asbury University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and is a member of the Christian College Consortium. Asbury boasts an enrollment of 1,700 students around the globe.

Accelerated online bachelor’s degree completion programs are available in elementary education, leadership and ministry, organizational management, and instruction design, as well as an online associate of science degree.

Asbury University’s Digital Storytelling program, which combines online courses with short–term in–person instruction allows students to complete a blended Master’s in Communications. Students without an undergraduate degree in media also must attend a two–week to four–week on–campus session.

Online courses at Asbury University feature asynchronous elements and real–time collaborations.

Graduation Rate

Northern Kentucky University 

Highland Heights, KY Apply Now

About this school

Northern Kentucky University is a liberal arts university established in 1968. The university was originally the University of Kentucky’s northern campus, but splintered off as its own four–year college in 1968. The school has over 13,000 students in attendance and six academic colleges.

Northern Kentucky University offers several online bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, specialist and certificate programs. Bachelor’s degrees include history and library informatics. Master’s degree programs include education and nursing. Doctoral degrees include nursing, while specialist degrees include multiple topics in education. Certifications include cybersecurity and business informatics.

Online student resources include an online library with access to a librarian via text message, instant messenger or over the phone.

Graduation Rate

Midway University 

Midway, KY Apply Now

About this school

Midway University, established in 1847, is unique in that its Day College is reserved for female students only and is the only university in Kentucky with an all–female college. This stems from the university’s founding as a school for female orphans. The Day College offers majors within business, equine studies, nursing and teacher education. The Christian liberal arts university is co–ed otherwise, offering classes on weekends, evenings and online for its roughly 1,100 adult learners.

Midway University offers a variety of associate and bachelor’s degrees online. Associate degree options include business administration, while bachelor’s degree offerings include business administration, criminal justice, marketing and several topics in education.

Resources available to online students include online tutoring, online job boards, technical support and an online library with access to an assortment of online scholarly article, journal and eBook databases as well as library materials by mail.

Graduation Rate

University of the Cumberlands 

Williamsburg, KY Apply Now

About this school

The University of the Cumberlands, established in 1889, is a Southern Baptist university. The university awarded its first graduate degree in 1988, which led to its graduate college becoming a critical component of the university today. In 2006, the university began offering graduate degrees entirely online, beginning with education degrees to its more than 3,000 students. Doctoral and specialist degrees are also available with more on the horizon.

The University of the Cumberlands offers several bachelor’s, master, doctoral and specialist programs online. Bachelor’s degrees include psychology and criminal justice. Master’s degree options include business administration and information systems security. Doctoral degree offerings include leadership and clinical psychology, while specialist degrees include education.

Online student resources include an online job board and an online library with access to over 50,000 online periodicals, a wealth of streaming media and more than 80 full text research databases.

Graduation Rate

Murray State University 

Murray, KY Apply Now

About this school

Murray State University has a variety of online bachelor’s, masters and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degree programs include business administration and integrated studies. Online master’s degree programs include agriculture and organizational communication. Online certification options include professional writing and nonprofit leadership.

Online student resources include technical support, career services, counseling, disability services, an online writing center with toll–free Grammar Hotlines and an online library with access to a variety of online databases, academic journals and government document databases, as well as librarians available via live chat, text message and over the phone.

Graduation Rate

Campbellsville University 

Campbellsville, KY Apply Now

About this school

The Russel Creek Baptist Association founded Campbellsville University in 1906. The university, open to students of all denominations, has over 3,000 students. Over 90% of these students receive financial aid. In addition, the university is a NAIA Gold Star Champions of Character Institution, one of only a handful in America.

Campbellsville University offers several online associate, bachelor’s, master and certificate programs. Associate degrees include business administration and criminal justice. Bachelor’s degrees include social work and nursing. Master’s degrees include sport management and multiple topics in education, while certificates include Christian ministry.

Resources for online students include an online library with librarian live chat and access to a wide variety of online databases, eBooks, electronic journals and much more.

Graduation Rate

Union College 

Barbourville, KY Apply Now

About this school

Located in Barbourville, Union is among the top online schools in Kentucky. The college offers six undergraduate programs in business administration, general management, general studies, law enforcement, nursing, and substance abuse. The school also offers graduate programs in business, administration, and athletic administration.

Most distance learning programs feature eight-week courses and students are able to begin their studies at six different points throughout the year. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Union accepts transfer students who are in good standing at an accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Applicants must also submit college transcripts and ACT or SAT scores if they have completed fewer than 24 credits.

Graduation Rate

Morehead State University 

Morehead, KY Apply Now

About this school

Morehead State University first opened its doors in 1887 as a Christian–based teacher’s college, but the state bought it out in 1922. The school has four academic colleges and provides more than 220 degree programs, more than 20 of which are available online.

Morehead State University offers several online bachelor’s, master and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degree programs include business administration and computer information systems. Online master’s degree programs include educational technology and social science, while online certifications include special education.

Online student resources include an online job board, 24/7 online tutoring, online mock job interviews, online health services and an online library with librarian live chat, free delivery for library materials and access to over 100 databases.


University of Kentucky 

Lexington, KY Apply Now

About this school

UK is the state's largest postsecondary institution. The school offers a variety of online undergraduate and graduate degrees spanning 10 different colleges and schools. UK even offers an online master's degree in manufacturing systems engineering that allows professionals to increase their knowledge and advance in their careers while still working full-time.

Online classes use several different technologies to deliver content, including discussion boards, learning management platforms, video streaming, web conferencing, and email. Some courses are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. Distance learners at UK also benefit from various student services, including academic advising, a digital library, financial aid assistance, a disability center, career guidance and counseling. The services and programs offered make the university stand out as one of the best online schools in Kentucky.

Graduation Rate

Kentucky Wesleyan College 

Owensboro, KY Apply Now

About this school

Kentucky Wesleyan offers six programs completely online, making it one of the most popular online schools in KY. These programs and courses are ideal for adult learners, especially those with personal and professional obligations that keep them from attending on-campus classes on a full-time basis.

Kentucky Wesleyan's distance learning programs feature seven-week classes with start dates every two months, allowing students to earn their degrees as efficiently as possible. Most classes are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. Students may choose from online bachelor's degrees in business administration, criminal justice, general studies, graphic design, psychology, and religion. Most students graduate in three to four years, and all programs accept transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities.

Graduation Rate

Lindsey Wilson College 

Columbia, KY Apply Now

About this school

Like other online colleges in Kentucky, LWC is a great option for those who want to earn their degree online while receiving the same high-quality education as their on-campus peers. The school offers fully six programs in business administration, criminal justice, human services, and nursing, along with graduate degrees in business, counseling, and educational leadership.

The college's online bachelor's degrees feature eight-week courses. Transfer students with an associate degree from a Kentucky college may complete earn their bachelor's in just 18 months. About 95% of all LWC students receive some form of financial aid, such as grants, subsidized loans, and scholarships. Victory Media designated LWC as a Military Friendly School due to the services it offers military veteran learners. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate

Kentucky Christian University 

Grayson, KY Apply Now

About this school

KWC offers an online bachelor's degree in history that is ideal for students preparing to enter law school. Graduates commonly go on to secure placement in some of the nation's top law programs and graduate schools, making it one of the more distinct online colleges in KY.

Applicants must submit their high school diploma or college transcripts, a personal essay, and ACT or SAT scores to be considered. They must also provide two or three character references from their pastors, church leaders, teachers, employers, or youth ministers. The college only accepts those with high school or college GPAs of at least 2.0 and ACT scores of 18 or above. Student who attend KWC must adhere to a code of ethics based on Christian principles.

Graduation Rate

Kentucky State University 

Frankfort, KY Apply Now

About this school

KSU, the state's smallest public four-year school, offers online bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice, psychology, and public administration. It also offers an online master's degree in special education and a doctorate in nursing practice, along with three online certificate programs.

All online courses are delivered through Blackboard, which provides students access to lectures, course materials, discussion boards, and assignments. Students benefit from most of the same services available to on-campus learners, including financial aid assistance, an online bookstore, a digital library, online tutoring, and a course management system. All part-time online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Like many online schools in Kentucky, KSU's distance learning programs are ideal for working adults, state government employees, military personnel, and others who have considerable responsibilities outside of their coursework.

Graduation Rate

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Colleges

Online Colleges in Kentucky Ranking Guidelines

We selected the online schools in Kentucky based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, and faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.