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Northern Kentucky University (NKU) is a mid-to-large sized university located in Highland Heights, KY. The student body is comprised of over 10,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students. These students are in hot pursuit of over 90 undergraduate majors, 22 graduate degrees, or involved in the law program. These academic programs have been recognized by Forbes, which has named the school 11 times to its list of best colleges.

Overview of Northern Kentucky University (NKU)

The Highland Heights campus has more than classrooms and hard classes, however. After class, students can take advantage of excellent resources that support their physical, social, and even professional well-being. The campus recreation center is home to a lap pool, whirlpool, aqua climbing feature, and more. Students also love taking advantage of the indoor track, fitness machines, racquetball courts, gymnasiums, and bouldering wall. Students can compete in friendly intramural leagues such as flag football, 3x3 soccer, E-sports, volleyball, and more. The back pavilion also offers students an idyllic spot where they can congregate, engage in intellectual discussions, or take in the scenery.

Students have plenty of dining options available on campus. For lunch, students might enjoy a few tacos or a slice from Sbarro. There are also multiple options for a latte or plain old cup of coffee to help keep the brain working during exam periods.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Suburb: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 17:1
Graduation Rate 48%
Year Founded 1968

Student Enrollment

Total Students15,979


Undergraduate Student

Male 4,326
Female 6,488

Graduate Student

Male 2,066
Female 3,099

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Top Rankings For Northern Kentucky University

NKU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 2,399
Female 4,238


Male 1,967
Female 3,348

Acceptance Rate80%

Male 82%
Female 79%

Enrollment 1,699

Male 708
Female 971
Application Fee $40
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Considered But Not Required
Other Test (Wonderlic,WISC-III,etc) Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Recommended
Application Deadline August 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

NKU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

As a public university, Northern Kentucky University is able to contain costs for students. While out-of-state scholars must pay more, Kentucky residents receive a stellar value in higher education. That is, Kentucky residents pay around $11,000 for a year of tuition, books, and supplies. Non-residents pay close to $10,000 more for the same strong academics.

Once costs for room, board, and other living costs are tallied, Kentucky residents face gross costs of between $25,000 for on-campus living and $28,000 for independent, off-campus living. These figures rise by $10,000 for out-of-state students. However, these gross figures are not the whole story.

When the financial aid office applies grants and scholarships for students, it is able to mitigate much of these costs. Indeed, the average gross cost of a year at NKU is a mere $7,500. This figure plummets for lower income individuals who face a net price tag of only $1,300. Meanwhile, the top income bracket sees a net price tag of a mere $12,000, which includes all tuition, living, and other costs.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $7,443
Average Total Aid $10,343
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Room & Board $11,454

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $10,392
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $20,448
  • Books and Supplies - $800
  • Room & Board - $11,454
  • Other - $2,500


Northern Kentucky has a lot of benefits to offer students, not the least of which are its academic programs. Students flock to the northern Kentucky campus for many reasons, but our researchers want to be sure that they have an objective assessment prior to enrollment. That is, students apply to schools based on factors such as a family heritage, friends, or sports teams. However, there are other things to consider, and our research shows that there are terrific academic reasons to enroll in NKU.

When we reviewed the retention rate, graduation rate, and other academic metrics, it was clear that NKU is a terrific school. The retention rate, a number that reflects the number of first-time, full-time students who return for a second year, is especially sunny. NKU reports that 70% are retained for a second year, which is above the national average and a good sign that students feel they are receiving everything they need in their freshman year. Then, around 50% stick around for graduation. Unfortunately, NKU does not report its transfer out rate but it's likely that even non-graduates are able to use their NKU education as a springboard to an education elsewhere. NKU also maintains a healthy student to faculty ratio of 17 to 1, which helps students learn, grow, and thrive.

Student Population Total

Student Population 15,979

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 519 Total Graduates / 23%
Business Administration and Management, General 356 Graduates
Organizational Behavior Studies 80 Graduates
Construction Management, General 32 Graduates
Management Information Systems, General 25 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 385 Total Graduates / 17%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 251 Graduates
Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences, General 73 Graduates
Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiographer 21 Graduates
Athletic Training/Trainer 18 Graduates
All Computer Information Science Majors 167 Total Graduates / 8%
Information Technology 67 Graduates
Computer and Information Sciences, General 57 Graduates
Information Science/Studies 38 Graduates
Computer and Information Sciences, Other 5 Graduates
Visual and Performing Arts 147 Total Graduates / 7%
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 64 Graduates
Fine/Studio Arts, General 49 Graduates
Design and Visual Communications, General 18 Graduates
Music, General 16 Graduates
All Education Majors 134 Total Graduates / 6%
Elementary Education and Teaching 81 Graduates
Junior High/Intermediate/Middle School Education and Teaching 23 Graduates
Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching 18 Graduates
Music Teacher Education 4 Graduates
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 4 Graduates
Secondary Education and Teaching 4 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 39%

Outcome & Salary

Students at Northern Kentucky University are always interested to know how their degrees will pay off in the job market. While there are no guarantees, prospective students can look to alumni to get some idea of what may lie ahead. Researchers have reviewed self-reported salary data from NKU's past students and found that students with degrees in industrial production technologies reported a median salary of nearly $75,000. Rounding out the top five earning degrees were students with accounting degrees, whose median reported salary was $58,000. The third highest earning degree came from the computer information sciences students, whose median reported salary was $67,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $53,500
College Grads Average Salary $68,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $91,400
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $680,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,594,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $29,772
10 Year Projected ROI $650,228
20 Year Projected ROI $1,564,228
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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