Western Kentucky University, also known as WKU, is a large public university located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. WKU boasts a student body of roughly 21,000 students and operates a satellite campus in Bowling Green and regional campuses in the towns on Glasgow, Elizabethtown/Fort Knox and Owensboro in addition to its main College Heights campus. It is the second-largest public university in the state.
Western Kentucky University is accredited to award associate, bachelors, masters and specialist degrees as well as the doctor of education by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Various WKU programs are also accredited by discipline-based agencies such as the American Bar Association, Kentucky State Board of Nursing, National Association of Schools of Music, and the Society of Human Resource Management.
WKU’s invigorating mottos are “The Spirit Makes the Master” and “Life, More Life!” In 2010, the university was ranked 31st in the nation for universities offering master’s degrees in the South by U.S. News and World Report.
Western Kentucky University is comprised of six undergraduate colleges: the Bowling Green Community College of Western Kentucky University; the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; The Gordon Ford College of Business; the Ogden College of Science and Engineering; the Potter College of Arts and Letters; University College; and the College of Health and Human Services.
Eighty undergraduate majors and seventy undergraduate minors are offered at Western Kentucky University, which lead to the following degrees: Bachelor of Engineering; Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Fine Arts; Bachelor of General Studies; Bachelor of Science; Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and Bachelor of Music.
Popular majors include business, management, marketing, education, communication, journalism, health progressions, and social sciences
Associate Degrees and Graduate Degree
WKU also offers several associate degrees and certificate programs as well as multiple graduate degrees.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Western Kentucky University Honors College, which was established in 2007, is the first and only Honors College in the state. Admission to the Honors College is separate from admission to WKU. Interested incoming freshmen that have met specific ACT / SAT score requirements, maintained an unweighted 3.8 high school GPA, and / or are in the top 15% of their graduating high school class are eligible to apply to the Honors College.
Prospective Western Kentucky University students are fortunate to have the welcoming and accommodating WKU Office of Admissions at their disposal. Admissions representatives are on hand to answer questions, help set up meetings with counselors, schedule campus tours, assist with applying for admissions, and more.
Once they have applied to WKU, students can check their application status on the official school website.
Western Kentucky University realizes that nearly all students need some type of financial assistance to help pay for tuition and the other costs associated with attending college. The university offers a variety of helpful financial aid programs for its students, including grants, student employment, loans, veterans’ benefits, and tuition waivers.
Applying for Financial Aid
To apply for financial aid at WKU, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or renewal FAFSA with the U.S. Department of Education. The FAFSA can be completed online or on paper, which must be mailed in. Students must be enrolled at least 6 credit hours per semester to be eligible for financial aid.
Spring Financial Aid
Students that begin their studies at WKU during the spring semester must have a current FAFSA on file and complete the WKU Spring Only Application.
Summer Financial Aid
Due to recent changes, summer classes are now considered to be part of the academic year. Students must have a current FAFSA on file, but separate supplemental summer paperwork is not required.
Winter Financial Aid
WKU students must have a current FAFSA as well as the Winter Term Financial Aid application on file with the financial aid office to be considered for financial aid during the winter term.
Various grants, which are “gifts” that do not require repayment, are available to eligible WKU students. To be eligible for grants at Western Kentucky University, students must be accepted into a degree program and not yet hold a bachelor’s degree. Because grants are dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis, students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Grant programs at WKU include the College Access Program (CAP) and the Pell Grant, as well as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG.)
WKU’s student employment program is for students that need part-time earnings to help pay for their education. Students that are eligible for the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal College Work-Study Program are paid from federal funds and the university, and student employees that do not qualify for the work-study program are paid directly from WKU’s institutional funds.
Scholarships are another form of free money to help pay for college. WKU offers a variety of scholarships to eligible students, such as Merit Scholarships, Tuition Incentive Program (TIP), departmental scholarships, and alumni grants. Scholarships are available to freshmen and transfer students returning students. Some Western Kentucky University scholarships are one-time only while others are renewable each year. Students can also look into private scholarships that are not affiliated with WKU.
Student Financial Aid Details
The WKU Mission Statement explains its goal for students: “Western Kentucky University prepares students to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen leaders of a global society. It provides research, service and lifelong learning opportunities for its constituents. WKU is responsible for stewarding a high quality of life for those within its reach.”
With over 30 active Greek organizations on campus, Greek life is thriving at Western Kentucky University. WKU sororities and fraternities have an average of 1500 members each year. A wide variety of other clubs and organizations are also present on campus, including sports clubs, book clubs, clubs based on academic majors, and many more.
WKU freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus unless they are married, have dependent children, live with their parents or guardians within 50 miles of campus, are military veterans, or are over the age of 21. Students living on campus have two housing options: living learning communities and themed living options.
Living learning communities (LLCs) are unique in that WKU students with similar interests and goals live together. Students are enrolled in two or three courses along with a small, core group of students that live in their LLC. Themed living options (TLO) allow students to live with others that have shared interests in a particular major, social or cultural interests, or hobbies.
WKU Student Media and Publications
- WKU’s student newspaper is known as the College Heights Herald.
- WKU’s yearbook is the Talisman
- WKU Spirit is the university’s alumni magazine
- WWHR is WKU’s college radio station
- WKU News Channel 12 is the university’s student-run TV newscast, which appears on local cable twice per week.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Western Kentucky University is home to 17 athletics teams. Men’s athletic teams are known as the Hilltoppers while the women’s teams are known as the Lady Toppers. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field while women’s sports also include soccer, softball, and volleyball. WKU also has a cheerleading squad and a dance team known as the Topperettes.
The WKU mascot, Big Red, is one of the most popular collegiate mascots. He has even appeared in a series of ESPN commercials. The school’s colors are red and white. WKU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and the Missouri Valley Conference.
Notable Western Kentucky University alumni include:
- Julian Goodman, the former president of NBC
- K.C. Armstrong, a former assistant producer on the Howard Stern Show
- Matt Long, actor best known for the role of Jack on the WB’s Jack and Bobby
- Steve Gorman, drummer in the rock band The Black Crowes
- Larnelle Harris, a popular gospel singer
- Virgil Livers, an NFL player
- Kenny Perry, a pro golfer
- Duncan Hines, the bakery company’s namesake
- Grath, Anne, ed. U.S. News & World Report: Ultimate College Guide. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2010. Print.
- Official Municipal Website of Bowling Green. Web. 9 September 2011.
- Western Kentucky University. Web. 7 September 2011.
- Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers. Official Home of Western Kentucky University Athletics. Web. 7 September 2011.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.