From Kentucky Economic Development Guide 2023

Wherever You Are in Kentucky, Higher Education Is Close to Home

Higher Education
Homecoming at University of Louisville
Photo courtesy of University of Louisville


 vast network of colleges, universities, technical schools and trade schools prepares students around Kentucky for rewarding careers in virtually all occupations. As such, these institutions of higher education form the backbone of the state workforce development ecosystem.


A total of 27 public colleges and universities stand ready to assist companies in workforce development and skills training. The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education provided the following overview of the major higher-ed institutions serving the state:

Kentucky Community and Technical College System

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is the commonwealth’s largest provider of higher education, online education and workforce training. Its 16 colleges have more than 70 locations that offer programs for students who want to transfer to one of the system’s four-year partners and career education for those who want to earn credentials and enter the workforce.

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University, founded in 1906, is a regional comprehensive university offering general and liberal arts programs, pre-professional and professional preparation at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Located in Richmond, with regional campuses in Danville, Corbin and Manchester, EKU has long been known as a “School of Opportunity.” Around 17,000 students attend EKU, which is in the middle of the most ambitious campus revitalization initiative in its history.

Kentucky State University

Kentucky State University, building on its legacy of achievement as a historically Black, liberal arts and 1890 land grant university, prepares a diverse population of traditional and nontraditional students for meaningful careers. Located in Frankfort, KSU offers associate degrees in two disciplines, baccalaureate degrees in 24 disciplines, master’s degrees in eight disciplines, and a doctorate in nursing. KSU has 129 faculty members and more than 1,700 students.


ESPN College GameDay at University of Kentucky Rupp Arena.

Photo courtesy of University of Kentucky

Morehead State University

Morehead State University is a comprehensive public university with robust undergraduate and graduate programs, emerging doctoral programs, and an emphasis on regional engagement. MSU aspires to be the best public regional university in the South through a commitment to academic excellence, student success, building productive partnerships, improving infrastructure, enhancing resources and improving enrollment and retention.

Murray State University

Founded in 1922, Murray State University serves as a nationally recognized residential university with a strong extended campus and online presence, offering high-quality associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist and doctorate degrees. Murray State emphasizes student-centered learning and educational experiences that include first-year experience, the Honors College, internships, study-abroad programs, service learning, research and creative projects, residential colleges and student organizations.

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University is a major metropolitan university enrolling more than 14,000 associate, undergraduate, graduate, professional and doctoral students in six colleges — the College of Arts and Sciences, the Haile/US Bank College of Business, the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Health Professions, the College of Informatics and the Chase College of Law. Located seven minutes south of downtown Cincinnati, NKU’s innovative academic programs and commitment to student success in the classroom and beyond have earned the university the designation as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes magazine for eight consecutive years.

University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky in Lexington is one of eight universities in the U.S. with colleges of agriculture, engineering, medicine, and pharmacy on one campus, leading to innovative undergraduate education and research and groundbreaking discoveries. The state’s land-grant, flagship university has a $3.5 billion budget. More than 30,000 students choose from over 200 majors and degree programs across 17 colleges. UK aims to become one of the country’s leading research campuses.

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville is a state-supported research university located in Kentucky’s largest metro area. The university has three campuses. The 287-acre Belknap Campus is three miles from downtown Louisville and houses seven of the university’s 12 colleges and schools. The Health Sciences Center is in downtown Louisville’s medical complex and houses the university’s health-related programs and the University of Louisville Hospital. The 243-acre Shelby Campus is in eastern Jefferson County.

Western Kentucky University

WKU is home to highly ranked and nationally recognized academic programs such as journalism and broadcasting, education, engineering and business. More than 20,000 students attend classes on campuses in Bowling Green, Glasgow, Owensboro and the Elizabethtown area. WKU embraces a proud heritage and a bold, ambitious vision to become “A Leading American University with International Reach.” 

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