Best Private Colleges in Kentucky 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Kentucky.

Best Private Colleges in Kentucky 2022

Colleges and Universities in Kentucky

Between community colleges, technical schools, and universities, Kentucky has 24 public schools. The community colleges and technical schools average $4,000 for tuition, and tuition for public universities ranges from $8,000 to $12,000. Those looking to attend private colleges can choose from 26 schools, of which 21 are religiously affiliated. The cost to attend private schools tends to be higher, reaching $42,000 in Kentucky, but there are some affordable options with tuition rates as low as $9,000.

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The largest and top-rated public university is the University of Kentucky, which has over 30,000 students and costs about $12,000. Political science, chemistry, and literature are all possible majors. Students who attend either the University of Louisville or Western Kentucky University will become part of a friendly basketball rivalry. Both of these universities also offer varying fields of study, including mathematics, communications, business, and history. In addition, Kentucky encourages graduating education students to apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, which awards $5,000 to $17,500 toward Federal Stafford loans to those remaining the profession.

There is something for everyone in The Bluegrass State. Kentucky is home to the famous Kentucky Derby, the Daniel Boone National Forest, and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Students wanting to study where Abraham Lincoln and Muhammad Ali both called home have 50 higher learning institutions from which to choose.

Kentucky has it all — associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Check out the top programs and find which institution is the right one for you.


What are Kentucky’s Colleges & Universities?

Kentucky’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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How do we determine Kentucky's best private colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 19 private universities in Kentucky. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in Kentucky, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in Kentucky

  1. #2

    Transylvania University

    Lexington , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/26

    What is Transylvania University known for?

    Transylvania University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #3

    Centre College

    Danville , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/29

    What is Centre College known for?

    Centre College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #4

    Bellarmine University

    Louisville , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/25

    What is Bellarmine University known for?

    Bellarmine University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    Campbellsville University

    Campbellsville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Campbellsville University known for?

    Campbellsville University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Economics
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    University of Pikeville

    Pikeville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    What is University of Pikeville known for?

    University of Pikeville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • History
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    University of the Cumberlands

    Williamsburg , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    What is University of the Cumberlands known for?

    University of the Cumberlands’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Georgetown College

    Georgetown , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1161/24

    What is Georgetown College known for?

    Georgetown College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Sullivan University

    Louisville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Sullivan University known for?

    Sullivan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
  9. #10

    Asbury University

    Wilmore , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1190/24

    What is Asbury University known for?

    Asbury University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. #11

    Spalding University

    Louisville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1040/19

    What is Spalding University known for?

    Spalding University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    Union College

    Barbourville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Union College known for?

    Union College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    Lindsey Wilson College

    Columbia , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Lindsey Wilson College known for?

    Lindsey Wilson College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • History
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Midway University

    Midway , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/21

    What is Midway University known for?

    Midway University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
  14. #15

    Brescia University

    Owensboro , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/23

    What is Brescia University known for?

    Brescia University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
  15. #16

    Alice Lloyd College

    Pippa Passes , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    960/20

    What is Alice Lloyd College known for?

    Alice Lloyd College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • History
    • Education
    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Kentucky Wesleyan College

    Owensboro , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1099/23

    What is Kentucky Wesleyan College known for?

    Kentucky Wesleyan College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Law
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Communications
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Thomas More University

    Crestview Hills , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/22

    What is Thomas More University known for?

    Thomas More University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    28%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    916/19

    What is Kentucky Christian University known for?

    Kentucky Christian University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

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Kentucky’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Transylvania University
  2. Berea College
  3. Centre College
  4. Spalding University
  5. Asbury University
  6. Bellarmine University
  7. University of the Cumberlands
  8. Georgetown College
  9. Thomas More University