2021 Best Colleges in Kentucky Badge

2021 Best Colleges in Kentucky by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

This list of the best Kentucky universities is ranked using our Salary Score and offers students a look at how each school stacks up against all other U.S. colleges in terms of alumni salary by major for a bachelor's degree. Our Salary Score acts as an indicator of how well alumni at a specific college fare in their first year after graduation compared to others from the same field of study. We developed these scores by comparing median alumni earnings for graduates from a certain major at a college to alumni salaries from the same programs at other universities. We then compiled these program scores into an overall Salary Score to show how well a given college prepares alumni for high-paying jobs, regardless of what they study. Kentucky has a lower than average cost of living, so alumni who work in-state may have lower salaries in line with lower living expenses. Even with a lower cost of living, Thomas More University had a higher Salary Score than the median for colleges in the United States.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. This list includes all eligible schools in Kentucky. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

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Our Salary Score™ is based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 Thomas More University Multiple Locations Multiple Locations $35,810 69.46
#2 #2 Sullivan University Louisville Louisville $14,220 49.68
#3 #3 University of Louisville Louisville Louisville $12,520 48.52
#4 #4 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights Highland Heights $10,592 44.67
#5 #5 University of Kentucky Lexington Lexington $12,859 33.47
#6 #6 Bellarmine University Louisville Louisville $46,030 32.92
#7 #7 Asbury University Wilmore Wilmore $33,146 26.89
#8 #8 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond Richmond $9,844 26.37
#9 #9 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green Bowling Green $11,112 24.76
#10 #10 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg Williamsburg $9,875 22.69
#11 #11 Murray State University Murray Murray $9,432 22.39
#12 #12 Morehead State University Morehead Morehead $9,560 20.30
#13 #13 Kentucky State University Frankfort Frankfort $9,004 13.65
#14 #14 Berea College Berea Berea $45,026 13.61
#15 #15 Lindsey Wilson College Columbia Columbia $26,228 12.08

2021 Best Colleges in Kentucky Highlights

Multiple Locations
Salary Score 69.46
Annual Tuition $35,810
Graduation Rate 44%

Five of the nine bachelor's programs at Thomas More University have a Salary Score above 80, with the liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities program topping the list with a score of 97. Of the five top-rated fields, graduates of the business administration, management, and operations program report the highest median salary, at $52,610. With a score of 90, the health and physical education/fitness program features the second highest Salary Score. Alumni from this program report median earnings of $36,400 in their first year out of college.

School Overview

Thomas More University is a small, private Catholic institution in Crestview Hills, a small town just south of the Ohio border. It has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1 and offers online and on-campus programs. Students at Thomas More have access to various scholarships and all incoming students attending full-time, campus-based programs receive financial aid from the university. Students can take part in optional faculty-led study abroad and service-learning opportunities.

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Salary Score 49.68
Annual Tuition $14,220
Graduation Rate 19%

The bachelor's program with the highest Salary Score at Sullivan University is business administration, management and operations, scoring a 71. Graduates of this program report a median salary of $47,900 in their first year out of college. With a score of 65, the business/commerce program has the second highest Salary Score. The median annual salary for this program is $48,040. The program with the overall highest median salary after graduation is computer and information sciences, at $53,780.

School Overview

Sullivan University is a small, private, for-profit institution with four campuses. The main campus is in Louisville, and additional centers are located in Lexington, Fort Knox, and Louisa. Programs at Sullivan University are focused on training students in the skills they need to start careers in the areas of health, business, hospitality, technology, and law. The Ft. Knox campus provides a special focus on educating active duty military, veterans, and their families stationed in the area. Sullivan also provides dedicated resources to military students, including a reduced tuition rate and an on-campus military liaison.

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Salary Score 48.52
Annual Tuition $12,520
Graduation Rate 61%

The program with the highest Salary Score at the University of Louisville is teacher education and professional development, specific subject areas, which scores a 97. Graduates of this program report a median salary of $46,870 in the year after graduation. Anthropology is the second-highest rated program, with a score of 85. It has a median annual salary of $31,850. The program with the highest overall median salary is chemical engineering, at $71,580.

School Overview

The University of Louisville is a large, public university located in Louisville, Kentucky. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1, and the school offers both online and on-campus programs. A wide variety of scholarships are available in multiple categories based on financial need, academic merit, or athletic performance. Students at the university can choose from an array of study abroad programs, and there are also scholarships available specifically for students who wish to study abroad.

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