Kentucky State University


Located in Kentucky’s historic capital city of Frankfort, Kentucky State University is a public, four-year institution of higher learning. Kentucky State University began as a small school, with the singular function of training exclusively African American teachers. In 1886 the State Normal School for Colored Persons was chartered, and built thanks to a land and monetary donation by the City of Frankfort. The liberal studies institution that exists today of nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students opened in 1887 with just 55 students, 3 teachers, and a single building, Recitation Hall (which still stands as “Jackson Hall”). After becoming an 1890 Land Grant college, Kentucky State University, or KSU, experienced continued expansion, becoming a University in 1972. Although the school was officially named the “Kentucky State College for Negroes” until a name changed in 1952, today the school welcomes students from all backgrounds, regardless of race, age, sex, ethnicity, economic status or national origin. While Kentucky State University accepts students from all walks of life, it still maintains pride in its heritage as an African American institution with the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans.

Information Summary

Ranks 18th in Kentucky and 1417th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 74.2
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $17,078
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 19 / 1003
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 12 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 56% / 6%
Enrollment Total (all students) 1,778


Kentucky State University offers associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degree-granting programs of study to its students through the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies, the College of Mathematics, Sciences, Technology & Health, and the College of Professional Studies. Each year Kentucky State University runs three academic semesters, a fall, spring and summer semester. The school got its start training teachers, and today KSU strives to maintain its liberal arts roots while offering training in professional fields like nursing, and public administration. New programs are being added all the time, like the new master’s of special education which features a curriculum that is completely online. The aim is to afford students anywhere in the world the opportunity to earn a master’s degree from KSU. Currently, Kentucky State University offers five masters degree programs, the master of public administration, the master of science in aquaculture/aquatic sciences, the master of science in computer science, and the master of business administration and master of arts in special education with a certification in learning and behavior disorders In addition to offering over 600 annual classroom courses on campus, Kentucky State University offers a variety of online and distance learning options for both undergraduate and graduate students with either time or location restraints. Through the Office of Continuing and Distance Education, students may also participate in the Credit for Life Experience Program where credit is earned based on a student’s “portfolio of accomplishments,” KSU Interactive Courses delivered offsite through two-way interactive videoconferencing technology, and KYVU Online courses (the Kentucky Virtual University network).

Just a short distance from Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati, Frankfort is a small city set in a valley surrounded by limestone cliffs, along the banks of the Kentucky River. On the outskirts of the state’s Bluegrass Region, as the capitol city of Kentucky Frankfort provides students a unique opportunity to become involved in hands-on learning projects via the state government. A variety of student internship programs allow students to learn by participating in high-level government, for example the Office of the Kentucky Attorney General, while simultaneously earning credit.

Kentucky State University’s awarding of associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Most Popular Fields of Study


University Building :: Kentucky State University
WHITNEY M. YOUNG, JR. MEMORIAL :: Kentucky State University

Unique Programs

Kentucky State University prides itself on its unique Aquaculture program. Defined as the “cultivation of the natural produce of the water,” Aquaculture students may participate in online and onsite coursework, undergraduate degree programs, and the competitive Aquaculture master’s degree program. KSU Aquaculture research facilities include labs, research ponds, a nutrition building, pond microcosm tanks, the Paddlefish Greenhouse, hatchery, and the Shrimp Greenhouse.

Also on campus is the governmental services center, where the university proudly contributes to the training and education of state employees and workers.


Prospective students may submit their applications as early as September for the following academic year, while priority applications are only accepted through mid-March. March 1st is the deadline for all applicants who wish to seek financial aid and scholarships. All candidates will be notified as to whether or not they’ve been accepted within three weeks of completing their applications.

Both in-state and out-of-state applicants are considered, however, priority is given to Kentucky residents applying for undergraduate studies. International students are also welcome to apply, and all decisions by KSU admissions will be based upon criteria established by the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education, and University policies.

All incoming freshmen must complete either the ACT or SAT exam, although the ACT exam is preferred by Kentucky State University admissions. A required pre-college curriculum is in place, and should be considered by all high school students thinking of applying as early as possible.

Graduate students should consult KSU admissions directly as the application process is quite variable between fields of study. Applicants should, however, keep in mind that assistantships are limited within the Master of Science in Aquaculture and Masters in Environmental Students programs, and early applicants will be given greater consideration.

Financial Aid

Students applying to Kentucky State University should fill out the FAFSA and consult with the Administration of Financial Aid’s Student Financial Aid Office as early as possible in their application process to qualify for federal loans, grants and work-study opportunities. Each semester College Work Study opportunities are posted online, and it is highly recommended that all new and participating students attend one of the program’s scheduled orientation sessions.

A range of academic scholarships are also available through the Academic Scholarship Program at KSU. Scholarships like the Presidential Scholarship, the Thoroughbred Scholarship, and the Commonwealth Scholarship are competitive, and designed to award academic excellence. For a complete listing of need-based and private scholarships, contact the Student Financial Aid Office directly.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 4264th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Kentucky.


Fueled by the Office of Student Life, Kentucky State University students have a wealth of extracurricular activities at their disposal. In addition to scheduled activities and events, over 60 student organizations are available including academic clubs and honor societies like Delta Mu Delta, the Student National Education Association, the Pre-Law Club, and the Behavioral and Social Sciences Club. Non-academic clubs include the Seven-Eleven Social Club, the Sweethearts Club, the Chess Club, and the Baptist Student Union, while Greek-Letter Service Organizations, Frats and Sororities include Phi Beta Sigma (f), Alpha Kappa Alpha (s), Kappa Alpha Psi (f), and Sigma Gamma Rho (s).

Campus accommodations are available, in one of seven residence halls. All residences are staffed by Hall Managers. Campus meal plans are available for use in the RFoC or “Real Food on Campus” dining hall located in the Student Center.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Kentucky State University Green and Gold Thorobreds and Thorobrettes compete in Division II NCAA athletics, and field a variety of men’s and women’s teams. Men’s teams complete in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, and both indoor and outdoor track & field. Women’s teams compete in basketball, cross country, softball, volleyball, and both indoor and outdoor track & field. KSU athletes stay in top shape both on and off the playing field with assistance from the Athletic Department’s Academic Center. Prospective students interested in competing on one of KSU’s inter-collegiate sports teams may fill out an online recruitment questionnaire by visiting the KSU website, under the “athletics” section.

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