Financial Aid and Student Loans in Kentucky

Students attending college in Kentucky face an average of $29,140 in tuition and fees yearly, making it just about average in terms of affordability in The United States.

Before prospective students even set foot in the door of an institution of higher learning, where they will choose their career path, and embark on the adventure of tests, papers, and lectures, financial questions arise.

At Funding U, we want you to be informed of your options to help you reduce the out-of-pocket costs necessary to acquire a degree in Kentucky. As part of our state by state guide to financial aid, below we’ve outlined several scholarships, grants, and loan programs offered in Kentucky.

What Scholarship Programs Does Kentucky Have?

The state of Kentucky has established several quality scholarship options to help its residents finance their college careers. It has set up an agency called the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority to administer the state’s loan programs and guide students through the often tedious process of financial aid.

We’ve included a list of the most prominent scholarship programs available in Kentucky below.

Early Childhood Development Scholarship

If you’ve chosen early childhood education as your educational goal, Kentucky offers up to $1,800 per year in the Early Childhood Development Scholarship. The award is available to Kentucky residents who are also residents of the US and pursuing degrees in Child Development or Early Childhood Education.

Eligible candidates apply with a standard FAFSA form and must be working at least twenty hours a week as an associate teacher in preschool, or an early childhood development facility. Students must retain adequate academic progress and take no more than nine credits per term at a participating university or college.

Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES)

The Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES for short) is an interesting program that determines your award based on a student’s performance. The better you do in high school, the more you earn toward college

Eligible students must attend a certified Kentucky High School and achieve a minimum 2.5 GPA. The total award amounts are graduated based on performance, so it increases with higher GPA’s. The overall ACT or SAT score adds more to your award, and it could increase based on performance on AP exams.

Minority Educator Recruitment and Retention Scholarship

The Minority Educator Recruitment and Retention Scholarship, or KMERR, is a yearly, renewable award to incentivize minority students pursuing a degree in education.

KMERR awards a total of $1,200,000 yearly with individual scholarships between $2,500 and $5,000. KHEAA restricts the scholarship to minority students who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, or American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Eligibility requirements dictate that the student must be a US Citizen and resident of Kentucky with a GPA of at least 2.5.

Students must study full time at an approved institution within Kentucky, pursuing a course in education. An individual application with references, test scores, and transcripts must be provided by the due date to apply.

Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program

The Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program (WRKS) provides a financial reward to applicants who have yet to attain an associate’s degree while incentivizing educational pursuits in specific high-demand fields. The fields change regularly, so consult with your financial aid advisor for a current list of approved degree programs.

KHEAA applies the scholarship after it calculates all other tuition and fees minus loans, grants, and other awards. It generally affects the costs remaining only once all other aid has been subtracted.

Eligible students must be US residents, residents of Kentucky, and must have graduated from high school or acquired a GED equivalent. Prospective students must not have an associate’s degree or any other higher education degree. They must also retain adequate academic progress.

Applicants apply through their FAFSA application and the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program.

Teacher Scholarship Program

Another program designed to promote the education of qualified teachers throughout the state of Kentucky is the Teacher Scholarship program.

The scholarship provides up to $2,500 per semester for recipients to attend a teacher education program and attain a teaching certification. Students must teach one semester for every semester they receive the scholarship and must pay back the award if they fail to complete the program or if they change to a degree that doesn’t result in a teaching certification.

Like most other scholarships, the program requires that the applicant be a resident of Kentucky as well as a US citizen. The applicant must demonstrate financial need through a standard FAFSA application and meet the requirements for satisfactory progress towards their degree.

The scholarship is only eligible for specific schools, so check with your financial aid office to make sure those institutions participate.

What Grant Programs Does Kentucky Have?

In Kentucky, several grant options are available through the in-state higher education assistance organization, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, or KHEAA.

KHEAA offers three primary grant programs to students in Kentucky, which we have detailed below. Links have also been provided for students to find more information.

Students should also consider applying for federal Pell Grants.

College Access Program Grant

The College Access Program Grant is the most popular grant program in Kentucky, aside from federal grants. It is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

KHEAA awards this grant only to students applying at specific institutions, so students should check with the college or university for eligibility.

Prospective students must be a Kentucky resident and enrolled at least part-time in a two year or longer institution. Applicants must not have any existing debts with KHEAA and should apply as soon as possible after October 1st as the fund distributes the award until the funds have been exhausted.

Students can expect up to $2,000 per year.

Eligible students must apply with a standard FAFSA application to determine financial need.

Kentucky Tuition Grant

Another grant similar to the College Access Grant Program is the Kentucky Tuition Grant. The award also depends significantly on the institution you’re applying to, as not all Kentucky Colleges are eligible.

Like the College Access Grant, the Tuition Grant requires residency in Kentucky, and that students enroll in either an Associate or Bachelor’s degree program.

Applicants apply through the FAFSA application, but the institution has the final say on how much is awarded. The total amount can be up to $3,000 per year, but you must submit your application immediately after October 1. It is a first-come, first-served award, which runs out quickly.

What Student Loan Programs Does Kentucky Have?

As with any student loan financing options, at Funding U, we encourage students to exhaust all other grant and scholarship options available before seeking a student loan from any source.

Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation

Kentucky does offer a direct loan system through a participating loan provider, however. The program is called the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation, which provides funding independent of the federal system through a partnership with Advantage Education Loans.

Federal student loans

Prospective students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA).

Private co-signed student loans

There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.

No co-signer student loans in Kentucky

Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.

NOTE: Funding U does not offer loans to residents of the state of Kentucky.  However, if you are attending a school located in Kentucky and are a resident of another state that is eligible you may apply.

What Schools Does Funding U Lend To In Kentucky?

Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities. We do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools.

Our eligibility requirements are based on models that predict how likely a student is to graduate, and we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum six-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. Find out more about how we determine our eligibility here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Kentucky that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently considering based on the school’s six-year graduation rate.

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Alice Lloyd CollegeNoYesYesYes7081
Asbury UniversityNoNoYesYes6285
Bellarmine UniversityNoNoYesYes6772
Berea CollegeNoNoYesYes6380
Brescia UniversityNoNoNoNo3563
Campbellsville UniversityNoNoNoNo4066
Centre CollegeNoYesYesYes8191
Clear Creek Baptist Bible CollegeNoNoNoNo2050
Eastern Kentucky UniversityNoNoNoNo4773
Georgetown CollegeNoNoYesYes5867
Kentucky Christian UniversityNoNoNoNo3456
Kentucky Mountain Bible CollegeNoNoNoNo3253
Kentucky State UniversityNoNoNoNo1868
Kentucky Wesleyan CollegeNoNoNoNo4268
Lindsey Wilson CollegeNoNoNoNo3757
Midway UniversityNoNoNoNo3785
Morehead State UniversityNoNoNoNo4572
Murray State UniversityNoNoYesYes5577
Northern Kentucky UniversityNoNoNoNo4273
Spalding UniversityNoNoNoNo3965
The Southern Baptist Theological SeminaryNoNoNoNo4974
Thomas More CollegeNoNoNoNo4867
Transylvania UniversityNoYesYesYes7582
Union College (Kentucky)NoNoNoNo2758
University of KentuckyNoNoYesYes6683
University of LouisvilleNoNoYesYes5781
University of PikevilleNoNoNoNo2957
University of the CumberlandsNoNoNoNo3362
Western Kentucky UniversityNoNoNoNo4570
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