Online Degree Programs in Kentucky

There are eight public, four-year universities in Kentucky. That includes two major research institutions — the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville — and six regional universities. Both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are ranked among the top universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report, with the University of Kentucky the highest ranked school in the state. It was founded in 1865 in Lexington, and today, more than 20,000 students attend the school, making it the largest university in the state as well. The University of Louisville was founded in 1798, making it the first city-owned public university in the country and one of the first chartered west of the Allegheny Mountains. More than 15,000 students attend.

One of the most notable private schools in Kentucky is Transylvania University in Lexington. Founded in 1780, it is the oldest university west of the Allegheny Mountains and the nation’s 16th. A liberal arts university, it is ranked No. 75 by U.S. News on its list of national liberal arts colleges. A little more than 1,000 students attend the school. Another prominent area of Kentucky’s higher education landscape is its 16 public two-year colleges, governed by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

The Council on Postsecondary Education oversees changes and improvements to the state’s postsecondary education system. As part of its "Stronger by Degrees" plan, a strategic agenda for Kentucky postsecondary and adult education implemented starting in 2011 and through 2015, the council aims to align its higher education system with what’s needed to drive Kentucky’s growth and development, innovate, and increase efficiency. The council also administers the Kentucky Virtual Campus, a comprehensive catalog of hundreds of online degree programs offered by Kentucky’s leading colleges and universities. On the financial front, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority is another governmental agency concerning education that was established in 1966 to improve students’ access to higher education. That means administering financial aid programs and disseminating information about higher education opportunities.

Kentucky Distance Learning Initiatives

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than 60 schools with online degree programs in Kentucky. That includes schools that offer fully online bachelors degree programs, online masters degree programs, and online doctoral degree programs, to those that offer certificates, courses, or blended online-on-campus programs. Both of the state’s major research institutions are included among the online degree programs in Kentucky. At the University of Kentucky, students can find online college degree programs offered through its communications and information studies, education, fine arts, health sciences, nursing, and social work colleges at the bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and graduate certificate levels. The University of Louisville also offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of online degree programs, including online degree completion programs where students with an associate degree from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System can complete their undergraduate education and earn a bachelor’s degree.

The state’s "Stronger by Degrees" outlines several distance learning objects, and so far it’s on track to meet its 2014 target. Goals accomplished thus far include implementing Learn on Demand, an alternative teaching and learning model designed for adults wherein students can enroll at any time, earn credit for prior knowledge, learn at their own pace, and access online students services 24/7. The Kentucky Virtual Campus also manages a statewide contract for the software used by all institutions for online courses, so that students and instructors have a high-quality, consistent virtual classroom experience. Looking ahead, the plan calls for convening the statewide Distance Learning Advisory Committee and Distance Learning Steering Committee to continue to provide leadership and share best practices in online learning; supporting course redesign and other program innovations; and supporting virtual advising services for students enrolled in the Learn on Demand programs.