Western Kentucky University

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Updated August 6, 2020

Located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Western Kentucky University is a public university. When founded in 1906, the university took over an older campus that was once home to normal school and business college. It opened as the Western Kentucky State Normal School, which was a training school for teachers. The college then moved to a new location and took over the former campus of Potter College, an institution of higher learning for women. After the state authorized the school and gave it the right to hand out degrees, it became a teaching college, but changes to its curriculum led to the college dropping the word teachers from its name. It wasn't until the 1960s that the college developed a graduate school and became a university.

WKU now has five colleges on its campus that offer 70 minor options and 80 majors that allow students to earn one of eight degree types like a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Engineering. There are also 13 graduate programs available that award students master's and doctoral degrees. Though Forbes ranked WKU on a list of the country's best colleges, U.S. News & World Report ranked it as one of the top schools in the south. Its total enrollment now climbs above 21,000 students, but this figure includes both graduate students and undergrads.

Western Kentucky University Accreditation Details

Western Kentucky University has both program accreditation and regional accreditation. Regional accreditation, which comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, gives students the chance to transfer credits earned between two or more campuses. Colleges that have regional accreditation also provide students with the skills needed to succeed in graduate school. The program accreditation that WKU has covers its degree programs in subjects like dietetics, engineering, physical therapy and counseling. Some of the organizations that granted WKU accreditation include:

  • Council on Education for Public Health
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • National Association of Schools of Dance
  • Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • National Recreation and Park Association
  • Network of Schools of Public Police, Affairs and Administration
  • American Council for Construction Education
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc.

Western Kentucky University Application Requirements

Whether students apply for a spot in an undergrad or graduate program, they must use the university's online application. While the university charges a $45 application fee for undergrads, it has fee waivers available for those who cannot afford to pay this fee. Both applications require that students create a new account and use a password and user name to log into the site. This gives students the option of working on the application over time instead of completing the entire application in one sitting. Incoming freshmen must score at least 20 on the ACT, score 1020 or higher on the SAT or have a cumulative high school grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Prospective undergrads must also complete a college prep program in high school that includes five electives as well as classes in English, math, economics, history, life sciences and social studies.

In addition to filling out the online application, all prospective undergrads must supply WKU with an official high school transcript and an official test score from either the SAT or the ACT. Graduate students must use a different online application and list the programs that interests them. That program has the final say on who starts the following year or semester. Graduate students will also need to provide the university with a GRE score or an official score from a similar test and a college transcript. Some programs may ask for a resume or a writing sample too.

Tuition and Financial Aid

As a state school, Western Kentucky University is much more affordable than a private college. Undergrad tuition starts at $425 per credit hour for part-time students who take less than 12 credit hours in a semester. The cost for Kentucky residents is $5,101 per semester. WKU charges military students and dependents of residents the same tuition rate. Nonresidents pay closer to $12,800 a semester. Kentucky residents enrolled in one of the university's graduate programs will pay $589 per credit hour, but the cost for nonresidents is $873 per credit hour.

Western Kentucky University offers a number of financial aid options for those who cannot afford the high cost of college. It recommends that students use the FAFSA to see if they qualify for aid and that students complete a scholarship application right after finishing the online application for admissions. Financial aid packages will often include loans, but only undergrads qualify for both subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. Graduate students qualify for unsubsidized loans. There are also loans available for parents and guardians as well as alternative loans for students with a good credit history. Some may want to look at the university's on-campus jobs and at the grants available.

Library Science

Western Kentucky University offers several library science programs through its School of Teacher Education. These programs all use the name of library media education. It has an undergrad minor available that requires students take a minimum of 18 credit hours of library science classes. They can take up to nine of those credits online through the Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

Graduate students must select a concentration in either library media specialist or educational technology. The media specialist program includes a core of five classes like program organization and administration, issues in library media education and survey of educational technology practices. Students must also do a practicum. Those who already have a teaching license, an education degree or teaching experience can skip the practicum. Though the educational technology concentration includes the same core classes, it also includes classes like emerging technology in education, educational technology leadership and education technology production. Students in both programs must complete at least 30 credit hours of work to graduate.

Related Resource: Top 30 Affordable Online Master's in Library Science Degree Programs

The university also offers an educational technology certificate program that students can complete in lieu of a degree or while working on a degree in another field. This program requires that they take 12 credit hours of work that includes courses on emerging technology in education, educational technology production, integration of educational technology and principles of educational technology applications. Western Kentucky University also provides students with programs that help them get an endorsement in library science.

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