Best Small Colleges in Kentucky 2024

Badge for BEST IN KENTUCKY SMALL COLLEGES

Small colleges in Kentucky are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

10 Best Small Colleges in Kentucky 2024

Sort by:
  1. Berea College
  2. Transylvania University
  3. Centre College
  4. Bellarmine University
  5. University of Pikeville
  6. Georgetown College
  7. Kentucky State University
  8. Sullivan University
  9. Asbury University
  10. Spalding University
  1. Transylvania University
  2. Berea College
  3. Centre College
  4. Kentucky State University
  5. Georgetown College
  6. Bellarmine University
  7. Asbury University
  8. University of Pikeville
  9. Spalding University
  10. Kentucky Wesleyan College
  1. Thomas More University 96%
  2. Transylvania University 92%
  3. Spalding University 90%
  4. Bellarmine University 86%
  5. Midway University 78%
  6. Asbury University 77%
  7. Georgetown College 75%
  8. Centre College 68%
  9. Kentucky Wesleyan College 67%
  10. Kentucky State University 65%
  1. Alice Lloyd College 21 to 1
  2. Union College, Kentucky 17 to 1
  3. Lindsey Wilson College 16 to 1
  4. Midway University 15 to 1
  5. Thomas More University 14 to 1
  6. Kentucky State University 14 to 1
  7. Kentucky Wesleyan College 14 to 1
  8. University of Pikeville 14 to 1
  9. Bellarmine University 13 to 1
  10. Asbury University 12 to 1
  1. Centre College $46,000
  2. Bellarmine University $44,920
  3. Berea College $43,612
  4. Transylvania University $42,520
  5. Georgetown College $41,200
  6. Thomas More University $34,760
  7. Asbury University $32,652
  8. Kentucky Wesleyan College $29,660
  9. Union College, Kentucky $28,889
  10. Brescia University $26,950
  1. Sullivan University $15,840
  2. Brescia University $15,500
  3. Bellarmine University $13,652
  4. Spalding University $12,006
  5. Georgetown College $11,070
  6. Thomas More University $10,440
  7. Asbury University $9,990
  8. Lindsey Wilson College $9,548
  9. University of Pikeville $8,370
  10. Union College, Kentucky $8,160
  1. Kentucky Christian University
  2. Thomas More University
  3. Kentucky Wesleyan College
  4. Alice Lloyd College
  5. Brescia University
  6. Midway University
  7. Lindsey Wilson College
  8. Union College, Kentucky
  9. Spalding University
  10. Asbury University
  1. Lindsey Wilson College
  2. Midway University
  3. Thomas More University
  4. Alice Lloyd College
  5. Union College, Kentucky
  6. Kentucky Christian University
  7. Brescia University
  8. Sullivan University
  9. Kentucky Wesleyan College
  10. Spalding University
  1. Berea College 33%
  2. Alice Lloyd College 36%
  3. Brescia University 53%
  4. Union College, Kentucky 56%
  5. Kentucky Christian University 58%
  6. Kentucky State University 65%
  7. Kentucky Wesleyan College 67%
  8. Centre College 68%
  9. Georgetown College 75%
  10. Asbury University 77%
  1. Berea College 9 to 1
  2. Centre College 10 to 1
  3. Transylvania University 10 to 1
  4. Sullivan University 10 to 1
  5. Spalding University 11 to 1
  6. Brescia University 11 to 1
  7. Asbury University 12 to 1
  8. Georgetown College 12 to 1
  9. Kentucky Christian University 12 to 1
  10. Bellarmine University 13 to 1
  1. Kentucky State University $7,700
  2. Sullivan University $13,500
  3. Alice Lloyd College $14,230
  4. Kentucky Christian University $22,130
  5. University of Pikeville $22,650
  6. Midway University $24,850
  7. Lindsey Wilson College $25,718
  8. Spalding University $26,550
  9. Brescia University $26,950
  10. Union College, Kentucky $28,889
  1. Kentucky Christian University $4,950
  2. Midway University $7,314
  3. Kentucky State University $7,560
  4. Union College, Kentucky $8,160
  5. University of Pikeville $8,370
  6. Lindsey Wilson College $9,548
  7. Asbury University $9,990
  8. Thomas More University $10,440
  9. Georgetown College $11,070
  10. Spalding University $12,006

Colleges and Universities in Kentucky

Students who wish to attend traditional and online colleges in Kentucky have plenty of excellent options. Traditional students and distance learners alike have an array of affordable, accessible, and reputable undergraduate and graduate degrees to choose from.

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. Online students pay the same in state tuition rates when enrolling in these public options.

Prospective students planning 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. There are, however, some affordable private options with tuition rates as low as $9,000.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

The largest and top-rated public university is the University of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky has over 30,000 students and costs about $12,000. UK offers a wide range of traditional and fully online programs in areas like political science, chemistry, and literature.

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 highly regarded graduate and undergraduate degrees in fields like mathematics, communications, business, and history.

Eastern Kentucky University is also among the top public colleges in Kentucky, with more than 14,000 students enrolled in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

In addition, Kentucky encourages graduating education students to apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. This financial aid program awards $5,000 to $17,500 toward Federal Stafford loans to those remaining in 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. Both traditional and online Students wanting to study in a state that Abraham Lincoln and Muhammad Ali 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 brick-and-mortar and online schools the state of Kentucky has to offer.


What are Kentucky’s Colleges & Universities?

Kentucky’s Best Overall

Kentucky's Best Small Colleges and Universities Badge
Download Badge

The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Kentucky is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 18 small colleges in Kentucky. The list below of the 30 best small colleges in Kentucky. To be included schools must fully accredited, and must have student body populations below 5,000 students.

Back to Top

Best Small Colleges in Kentucky 2023

  1. #2

    Transylvania University

    Lexington , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/27

    Career Outlook for degree at Transylvania University

    Cost of Degree: $43,670
    Expenses: $16,100
    Starting Salary: $50,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 18 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  2. #3

    Centre College

    Danville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/29

    Career Outlook for degree at Centre College

    Cost of Degree: $48,070
    Expenses: $15,400
    Starting Salary: $53,800
    Cost Recoup Time: 18 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  3. #5

    University of Pikeville

    Pikeville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Pikeville

    Cost of Degree: $23,150
    Expenses: $11,580
    Starting Salary: $39,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of Pikeville known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Pikeville’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #6

    Georgetown College

    Georgetown , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Georgetown College

    Cost of Degree: $41,600
    Expenses: $14,774
    Starting Salary: $50,500
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    955/17

    Career Outlook for degree at Kentucky State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,004
    Expenses: $12,571
    Starting Salary: $31,300
    Cost Recoup Time: 13 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Kentucky State University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #8

    Sullivan University

    Louisville , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    4K

    Career Outlook for degree at Sullivan University

    Cost of Degree: $14,220
    Expenses: $18,501
    Starting Salary: $35,100
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Sullivan University known for?

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

    Sullivan University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Hospitality Management
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Leadership
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Finance
    • Healthcare Management
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Justice and Public Safety Administration
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Cyber Security Professional
    • Network Support Administration and Security
    • Web Design and Application Development
    • System Support and Administration
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #9

    Asbury University

    Wilmore , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/24

    Career Outlook for degree at Asbury University

    Cost of Degree: $33,146
    Expenses: $13,370
    Starting Salary: $40,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  8. #10

    Spalding University

    Louisville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    999/19

    Career Outlook for degree at Spalding University

    Cost of Degree: $27,050
    Expenses: $16,490
    Starting Salary: $48,300
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  9. #11

    Union College, Kentucky

    Barbourville , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Union College, Kentucky

    Cost of Degree: $30,065
    Expenses: $13,861
    Starting Salary: $36,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 18 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Union College, Kentucky known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Union College, Kentucky’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Law Enforcement
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #12

    Lindsey Wilson College

    Columbia , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at Lindsey Wilson College

    Cost of Degree: $26,228
    Expenses: $15,929
    Starting Salary: $31,300
    Cost Recoup Time: 19 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Lindsey Wilson College known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Lindsey Wilson College’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services And Counseling
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #13

    Midway University

    Midway , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Midway University

    Cost of Degree: $25,050
    Expenses: $17,000
    Starting Salary: $37,400
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Midway University known for?

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

    Midway University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Care Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Education Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Math
    • Science
    • Social Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Human Resource Management
    • Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Mathematics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Middle School Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Social Studies
    • Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Secondary Education
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Math
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sport Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #14

    Brescia University

    Owensboro , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/22

    Career Outlook for degree at Brescia University

    Cost of Degree: $27,950
    Expenses: $15,640
    Starting Salary: $48,000
    Cost Recoup Time: 15 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Brescia University known for?

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

    Brescia University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Integrated Studies
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Integrated Studies
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Theology
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. #15

    Alice Lloyd College

    Pippa Passes , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    930/18

    Career Outlook for degree at Alice Lloyd College

    Cost of Degree: $14,250
    Expenses: $16,360
    Starting Salary: $41,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 13 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Alice Lloyd College known for?

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

  14. #16

    Kentucky Wesleyan College

    Owensboro , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Kentucky Wesleyan College

    Cost of Degree: $31,300
    Expenses: $15,598
    Starting Salary: $41,700
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Kentucky Wesleyan College known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Online Degrees

    BA in Graphic Design
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice And Criminology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Religion
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. #17

    Thomas More University

    Crestview Hills , KY

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Thomas More University

    Cost of Degree: $35,810
    Starting Salary: $58,900
    What is Thomas More University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    Thomas More University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BES in Ethical Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BES in Individualized Program
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  16. Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    841/18

    Career Outlook for degree at Kentucky Christian University

    Cost of Degree: $23,700
    Expenses: $15,496
    Starting Salary: $36,500
    Cost Recoup Time: 17 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Kentucky Christian University known for?

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

    Kentucky Christian University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Counseling Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Biology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA in History
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Management
    • Sports Management
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Teacher Education- Middle School: Grades 5-9
    Degree Concentrations
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Social Studies
    • Science
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Teacher Education- Primary through grade 5
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
Back to Top

Kentucky’s Best Small College in Your Area of Interest

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 utilized 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. Kentucky Wesleyan College
  6. Asbury University
  7. Bellarmine University
  8. Georgetown College
  9. Lindsey Wilson College
  10. Thomas More University
Do you have a question about this topic? Ask it here