Eastern Kentucky University

EKUPicture by John H. Collette

Eastern Kentucky University, commonly referred to as Eastern or by the acronym EKU, is a public teaching and research institution located in Richmond, Kentucky. EKU also maintains three regional campuses in Corbin, Danville, and Manchester; centers in Fort Knox, Lancaster, and Somerset; and offers more than 25 online degree programs.

Situated near the heart of the Bluegrass State, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Richmond is easily accessible from all parts of Kentucky and surrounding states. The community provides an excellent environment for university students with a shopping mall, theaters, live entertainment, dining, recreation, cultural events and activities, as well as many areas of historic and scenic interest.

EKU has a total enrollment of 16,400 students and its undergraduate enrollment is 13,978, with a gender distribution of 44.2% male and 55.8% female students. EKU’s service area has historically been the eastern region of the state, including Appalachia, and many of its students are the first among their families to attend college. About 70% of full-time undergraduates receive some sort of financial aid. Its in-state tuition and fees are $8,150 (2015-16); out-of-state tuition and fees are $17,640 (2015-16).

EKU “seeks to provide intellectual and cultural opportunities that will develop habits of scholarship and intellectual curiosity, provide a deep understanding of American democracy and the citizen’s role in maintaining its strength and vitality, impart an understanding of humans and their aspirations, enable effective and efficient communication, and prepare productive and responsible citizens.” Its award-winning Honors Program and Mock Trial Team are recognized as among the nation’s best.


For more than 100 years, thousands of students have obtained degrees from this highly accredited university where students and learning come first. According to its “About” page, EKU is dedicated to high-quality instruction, scholarship, and service, and places emphasis on the three in that order. EKU offers both undergraduate and graduate general and liberal arts programs, pre-professional, and professional training.

EKU was originally founded in 1906 as a state teacher’s college, Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1. The institution has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1928, when its name was changed to Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College. In 1948 the college added graduate and nonprofessional degrees, deleting the word “Teachers” from its name. It was not until 1966 that the school was officially renamed Eastern Kentucky University.


EKU has five academic colleges and provides 160 degree programs to its students in associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. The most popular majors include: Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering; Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science and Technology; Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew; Air Traffic Controller; and Homeland Security. Other prominent programs include Environmental Health Science; Justice & Safety; Education; Forensic Science; and Parks & Recreation Management.

The student-faculty ratio is 16:1, with approximately half of the classes having fewer than 20 students, which is quite good for a research university. The majority of EKU classes are taught by faculty with PhDs, unlike many universities that rely on graduate students. EKU ranks #76 in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities (South).

EKU was also named a Top 10 Online College in the Nation by “Best Colleges.” EKU’s online classes allow students to study from anywhere for a variety of different degrees and programs. Students can work towards an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree, all on their own schedule. Not only will students be able to work at their convenience, they’ll receive the same education from the same professors that teach on campus.

Student Life

For traditional campus students, EKU is a comprehensive university in a rural setting with a campus size of 675 acres. 25% of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing; 75% of students live off campus. 56% of students have cars on campus. You are required to live in the university residence halls if you are a single, full-time undergraduate student under the age of 21, unless you live with your parents in their principal residence within 50 miles of the Richmond campus.

Student Life at EKU has over 230 registered student organizations, and provides various activities that are free of charge to students. In addition, EKU students benefit from a number of support services to help them achieve academic success, including tutoring and health services. The university also offers a number of campus safety and security services such as controlled dormitory access. Alcohol is not permitted for students of legal age on campus.

EKU is part of the NAIA athletic conference. Men’s sports include: football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, cross-country, track and field. Women’s sports include: soccer, basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball, golf, cross-country, track and field. EKU offers a variety of intramural sports as well as sports clubs such as a trap and skeet club led by a national champion marksman, a rock climbing club, a men’s hockey club, and a nationally ranked women’s rugby club. The Fitness and Wellness Center also offers a variety of group fitness classes six days a week.


EKU is a selective college, with an acceptance rate of 73.9%. Applicants should have your final six-semester high school transcript (clearly indicating your graduation date) sent to the Office of Admissions immediately after you graduate. All freshman students must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and meet Kentucky college readiness standards in English (18), Math (19), Reading (20) on the ACT subject tests or SAT equivalents. Alternatively, you may submit a GED or documentation indicating completion of an approved homeschool or distance learning high school program.

Students who do not meet the requirement for full admission may seek enrollment through a Success First initiative or may retest to demonstrate proficiency. (EKU Success First transition programs are for first-time freshmen who need to strengthen college-readiness skills.) Summer Bridge and Eastern Bridge admission is available to students who have not yet reached ACT/SAT subject score benchmarks and/or have high school GPAs that do not qualify for full admission to the university.

Homeschool Programs

Dual Credit – EKU’s dual credit program is open to high school and homeschool juniors and seniors residing in Kentucky, who meet the eligibility requirements. This program provides the opportunity to enroll in EKU courses for dual high school/college credit. Prospective students should submit a high school/homeschool transcript. Transcripts should include year-end grades and a cumulative GPA. Also submit ACT/PLAN scores, and any KYOTE or COMPASS scores being used to meet dual credit participation criteria.

Homeschool Choir – In 2011, EKU’s Stephen Collins Foster Academy for Musical Excellence (FAME) started a Home School Choir program for elementary-level homeschool students (grades 4-8) throughout the central Kentucky region. In addition to the Home School Choir, FAME provides private lessons in piano, guitar, strings and voice, as well as group music lessons. For more information, contact Dr. Rachel Taylor, Director of FAME Preparatory Music Program, at rachel.taylor @eku.edu.

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