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Western Kentucky University (WKU) is a public academic institution located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Founded in 1906, the university also operates regional campuses in Glasgow, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, and Owensboro. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the school earned more than 35 top recognitions for academic programs. U.S. News and World Report also designated Western Kentucky University as one of the top public institutions and within the best colleges for veterans.

Overview of Western Kentucky University (WKU)

The university is dedicated to preparing students of all backgrounds to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society. To this end, Western Kentucky University provides research, service, and lifelong learning opportunities to those enrolled, as well as faculty and other constituents.

The total student population at Western Kentucky University is 16,750, with 14,729 of those enrolled working toward undergraduate degrees. The institution employs 647 full-time and 299 part-time faculty members, all of whom provide instructional pursuits. This makes the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1, which is about average for schools in the United States. The university also maintains 224 graduate assistant positions, 103 of which are instructional and 121 which are research oriented.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 18:1
Graduation Rate 54%
Year Founded 1906

Student Enrollment

Total Students16,750


Undergraduate Student

Male 5,597
Female 9,132

Graduate Student

Male 768
Female 1253

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WKU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 2,546
Female 4,709


Male 2,470
Female 4,662

Acceptance Rate98%

Male 97%
Female 99%

Enrollment 2,844

Male 1,013
Female 1,818
Application Fee $45
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Recommended
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline August 1
Common Application Accepted No

WKU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Western Kentucky University tuition and fees vary depending on several factors, including enrollment status and residency. Undergraduate students from Kentucky attending full-time can expect to pay $463 per credit hour, or approximately $5,556 for the Fall 2022 or Spring 2023 semester. Non-residents, however, will be charged at a higher rate. The cost of attendance for out-of-state, undergraduate students is $1,125 per credit hour, or about $13,500 per semester. Notably, full-time tuition rates apply to undergraduate students taking 12-18 credit hours.

It's also worth noting that some major programs charge additional fees. The bachelor of fine arts in film production, for example, requires another $250 fee per semester. Likewise, nursing majors will need to pay an extra $400 per semester.

Tuition rates are different for graduate students. These individuals are charged a flat per credit hour fee. Residents pay $607 per credit hour, while non-residents are billed $917 per credit hour. There is no full-time graduate rate.

Notably, Western Kentucky University offers a Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) to qualified undergraduate students who are residents of specific counties in 18 states in the nation. Students residing in these designated areas can attend the institution for nearly 50% off the out-of-state tuition rate. Additionally, first-time freshmen who are residents of any state that borders Kentucky can attend Western Kentucky University for the in-state tuition rate. This can lower the cost of attendance by nearly 60%.

In addition to tuition and fees, students at Western Kentucky University must anticipate expenses related to housing, meals, transportation, and study materials. The institution does offer opportunities to live on campus, as well as meal plans, but rates vary depending on student selections.

Students may also be eligible for scholarships, grants, federal work study, or loans to help offset the expense education. Western Kentucky University encourages everyone enrolled to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application each year. Students can also complete the TOPDollar application, which is a centralized scholarship application for numerous aid options provided by the institution itself. Once an aid package is created, students must accept it and complete all applicable loan requirements.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, 99% of students entering postsecondary education for the first time at the university received some form of financial assistance. Of those, 98% were awarded grants and scholarships. However, approximately 48% still required some amount of financial assistance from student loans.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $12,395
Average Total Aid $9,576
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Room & Board $10,708

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $10,992
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $27,000
  • Books and Supplies - $1,000
  • Room & Board - $10,708
  • Other - $2,115


Western Kentucky University offers many highly ranked and nationally-recognized academic programs. Students can choose from more than 170 choices for undergraduate areas of study through majors, minors, associate degree programs, certificate programs, pre-professional study, and areas of concentration. There are also more than 125 graduate programs available, all of which provide outstanding learning experiences.

Colleges and departments include:

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • Gordon Ford College of Business
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering
  • Potter College of Arts and Letters
  • Mahurin Honors College

According to data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Western Kentucky University had first-year undergraduate retention rate of 73% for full-time students and 17% for part-time students in fall 2021. Notably, the rates for those attending full-time are well above the national average of 68%. Overall, this indicates that the mass majority of students enrolled at the university were happy enough with their experiences to return to the institution for a second year.

The overall graduation rate for full-time, first-time students who began their studies in fall 2015 was 54%, with a 23% transfer-out rate. Graduation rates indicate how frequently students complete their degrees or certificate programs within 150% of standard time, which is approximately six years. Most students strive to graduate within four years, however. Of those who started their education in 2015, 40% were able to graduate within this timeframe.

Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The institution is permitted to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees. Additionally, many programs are independently accredited. Notable examples include the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), Association of University Program in Health Administration (AUPHA), and Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP).

Student Population Total

Student Population 16,750

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 564 Total Graduates / 20%
Business Administration and Management, General 157 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 99 Graduates
Finance, General 64 Graduates
Accounting 59 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 391 Total Graduates / 14%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 185 Graduates
Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences, General 68 Graduates
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 50 Graduates
Dental Hygiene/Hygienist 30 Graduates
Communication Sciences and Disorders, General 30 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 218 Total Graduates / 8%
Criminology 61 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 41 Graduates
Sociology, General 32 Graduates
Social Sciences, General 20 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 186 Total Graduates / 6%
Broadcast Journalism 44 Graduates
Advertising 32 Graduates
Public Relations/Image Management 28 Graduates
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 25 Graduates
All Education Majors 173 Total Graduates / 6%
Elementary Education and Teaching 97 Graduates
Special Education and Teaching, General 28 Graduates
Family and Consumer Sciences/Home Economics Teacher Education 25 Graduates
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 7 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 46%

Outcome & Salary

While Western Kentucky University does not have any graduate employment outcomes data posted, the institution does host an advising and career development center for students and alumni. This department promotes success by empowering participants to take responsibility for achieving their academic, career, and personal goals. Career coaches are available to help with resume and cover letter review, presentation creations, and practice interviews. The institution also hosts career fairs. Additionally, alumni also have access to Handshake, which is a platform containing current employment opportunities available in the area.

According to Payscale, graduates from Western Kentucky University earn an average base salary of $61,000 per year.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $43,200
College Grads Average Salary $62,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $63,400
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $620,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,254,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $49,580
10 Year Projected ROI $570,420
20 Year Projected ROI $1,204,420
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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