Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

Located in Highland Heights, Northern Kentucky University is a public school that offers associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition and admission information.

Is Northern Kentucky University the School for You?

Northern Kentucky University's campus is located in Highland Heights, which is very close to the Ohio state border. In addition to its associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, Northern Kentucky University (NKU) offers a variety of certificate programs. To assist you in deciding if you would like to apply to NKU, take a look at the following pros and cons.


  • High number of academic programs
  • Student debt following graduation is $7,778 lower than the national average
  • Accepts dual, life experience and AP (Advanced Placement) credits
  • Offers remedial services
  • No classes taught by graduate teaching assistants


  • Total cost is $694 more than the national average for in-state students
  • Graduation rate is 29 percentage points lower than the national average
  • Student-faculty ratio is higher than the national average

Northern Kentucky University at a Glance

Although Highland Heights is situated in a suburban environment, it is located less than 15 miles from downtown Florence and the Cincinnati Airport. The city of Cincinnati is less than ten miles northwest of the NKU campus.

NKU is not an especially selective school, with an acceptance rate that is less than one percentage point higher than the national average, reported the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The school offers over 100 different academic programs through six colleges. NKU accepts alternative credits, such as AP and dual credit. If you do not have applicable credit or are behind in a certain subject, NKU also provides remedial courses.

The NCES reported that the student-faculty ratio at NKU is 18:1, which is higher than the national average of 16:1. However, all classes are taught by faculty members rather than TAs. According to the NCES, the 4-year graduation rate for NKU students who began in 2005 was 11%, which was 29 percentage points below the national average.

School costs are also higher than average, according to the NCES. If you are a resident of Kentucky, the total cost for in-state tuition, fees and living expenses was $18,554 in 2012-2013, which was $694 more than the national average. However, The College Board reported that the average NKU debt after graduation was $18,882 in 2011, which was actually $7,778 less than the national average.

Getting In & Financial Aid at Northern Kentucky University

The application deadline for NKU is rolling, which means that as long as there are spots open, and you meet the required admission criteria, your application can be considered. A $40 fee must accompany an application to NKU.

Determining factors for admission include your high school GPA, rank and academic record. If you completed a college preparatory program, records of this must be sent to NKU as well. The school also requests SAT or ACT scores.

When you apply for financial aid, the school recommends filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). According to U.S. News & World Report, the average financial aid package for undergraduates in 2011 was $8,428. The College Board reported that only 13% of NKU undergraduates had all of their financial needs completely met in 2011.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2011) Rolling**
Financial Aid Application Priority Deadline (2011) February 1**
Application Fee (2012-2013) $40*
Acceptance Rate (Fall 2011) 64%*
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2012-2013) $18,554 for in-state students*
$26,426 for out-of-state students*
Average Financial Aid Package (2011) $8,428 (full-time undergraduates)**
Percent of Undergraduates with Need Met (2010-2011) 13%****
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2010-2011) $18,882****
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 10.9%*

Life at Northern Kentucky University

As of 2011, U.S. News & World Report reported that only 13% of students at NKU lived on campus. This low number may reflect the fact that you are not required to live on campus during your first few years of study. NCES reported that just over 75% of the total population studied full time as of 2011, and 65% of students came from the state of Kentucky.

When you are not in class or studying at one of the school's two libraries, you might enjoy spending time with other students by joining one of NKU's 216 registered clubs and organizations. NKU has a large Norse following, with options such as Norse Club Gymnastics, the Norse Leadership Society and the Norse Film Society. Other activities include a chess club, a business informatics group, a geology club and an equestrian team.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Large suburb
Student Population (2011) 12,993 undergraduate students*
2,731 graduate students*
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 45% to 55%*
% of Full-Time Students (2011) 76%*
% of In-State Students (2011) 65%*
% of International Students (2011) 1%*
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 66% (full-time students)*
Campus Housing Available Yes
% of Students Living on Campus 13%**
Number of Libraries 2***
Extracurricular Activities 216 registered clubs and organizations**
Noteworthy In 2007, NKU was the first educational campus in the world to install a laser projection planetarium system at NKU's Haile Digital Planetarium

Article Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **U.S. News & World Report, ***Northern Kentucky University, ****The College Board.

School Contact Info

  • Address: Northern Kentucky University, Office of Admissions, Lucas Administrative Center 400, 100 Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, KY 41099
  • Phone: (859) 572-5220