Best Value Colleges in Kentucky

The Bluegrass State is rich with a unique history and lots of natural wonders.  Read More

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1Thomas More College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$386,000
Total 4 Year Cost$153,000
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,000
2University of Kentucky (UK)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$360,000
Total 4 Year Cost$94,200
Grad Rate61%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,500
3University of Kentucky (UK)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$317,000
Total 4 Year Cost$137,000
Grad Rate61%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,500
4Northern Kentucky University (NKU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$268,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,100
Grad Rate36%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,200
5Bellarmine University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$259,000
Total 4 Year Cost$205,000
Grad Rate68%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,500
6University of Louisville(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$243,000
Total 4 Year Cost$91,200
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,200
7Western Kentucky University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$240,000
Total 4 Year Cost$74,400
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,300
8Northern Kentucky University (NKU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$236,000
Total 4 Year Cost$108,000
Grad Rate36%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,200
9Eastern Kentucky University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$229,000
Total 4 Year Cost$74,900
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,100
10Murray State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$219,000
Total 4 Year Cost$75,200
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,200
11 (tie)Eastern Kentucky University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$189,000
Total 4 Year Cost$115,000
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,100
11 (tie)University of Louisville(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$189,000
Total 4 Year Cost$145,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,200
13Western Kentucky University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$187,000
Total 4 Year Cost$127,000
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,300
14Murray State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$171,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,200
15Sullivan University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$125,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Grad Rate45%
Time to GraduateN/A
Loan Amt$57,200

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

From natural caves to producing the majority of the world's bourbon, this state has a lot to offer anyone who wants to spend the next four years in Kentucky getting their education. The state is home to a huge park system that includes one national park, two national recreation areas, two natural history parks and 45 state parks. The cost of living in Kentucky is cheaper than the national average, and you can save yourself some additional money by picking a college that's going to stretch your dollar the furthest. Use PayScale's College ROI report as a guide to finding out which schools in Kentucky have the highest 20-year net ROI, which is the amount of money you earn 20 years after you graduate.

Unlike most states in our college ROI report, you don't typically see private liberal arts colleges taking the title as the number one in value. But in Kentucky, Thomas More College, a private school, takes the number one spot. Thomas More College is ranked nationally on our list at 269. The school has a small enrollment of around 1,900 students, which means smaller class sizes and more 1 on 1 time with your instructor. If you're thinking about attending Thomas More, expect to pay a tuition of $153,000. Thomas More alumni report a median 20-year net ROI of $383,000, which makes it a top school for ROI.

If attending a small liberal arts school isn't what you had in mind, consider attending the University of Kentucky. UK has a tuition of $94,200 for in-state students, but alumni report a high 20-year net ROI of $360,000. There are around 22,000 undergraduates who call KU home. When not in class, students enjoy living in the horse capital of the world - aka Lexington. But Lexington is more than just horses. It's one of the cleanest cities in America, and it's home to plenty of entertainment. Especially in the summer months.

For an even lower tuition, Northern Kentucky University is a worthwhile option to consider. Tuition at NKU for in-state students is $76,100 and NKU alumni report a median 20-year net ROI of $268,000. Compared to UK, NKU has a smaller enrollment, at 16,000 students. Even so, NKU still offers the tradition aspects of a large college, including athletics and a Greek life system. Popular majors at NKU include journalism, business, and government.