University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky


Founded in 1865, the University of Kentucky located in Lexington is the flagship land-grant, public research one institution in the Commonwealth. Being the first in your family to go to college can be overwhelming, but UK provides resources to support you through this process. At UK, nearly 1 in 5 incoming freshman and 1 in 3 transfer students are first generation. You are not alone in your journey. From our Freshman Summer Program and scholarships to our innovative First Generation Living Learning Community, UK can help you change your family tree by becoming a college graduate.

Programs Supporting First-Generation College Students

Pre-College Prep & Outreach 1G2UK

With a two-year $100,000 grant from the Louisville-based Gheens Foundation, the University of Kentucky is launching a pilot initiative entitled 1G2UK focused on improving retention and graduation rates for first-generation college students from Jefferson County. Coordinated by UK Assistant Director of Admissions Anna Hays Taul, 1G2UK features a series of events culminating with a campus tour. Learn more about 1G2UK

Pre-College Summer Experience Freshman Summer Program

The University of Kentucky (UK) Freshman Summer Program (FSP) is six week residential enrichment program designed to prepare students for the academic rigor of UK and to improve retention. The program is targeted to underrepresented student groups including, but not limited to African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, first generation and low income students admitted to UK for the Fall Semester. Students will have the opportunity to earn college credit and participate in workshops that will enhance their college experience. The program is sponsored by the Center for Academic Resources and Enrichment Services (CARES), a division of the Office for Institutional Diversity. Learn more about Freshman Summer Program

Scholarship & Financial Aid William C. Parker Diversity Scholarship Program

The University of Kentucky has a mission and commitment to aggressively recruit and retain students from all segments of society, including African American, American Indian, Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and Alaskan Native students. Factors which are considered in the holistic evaluation of William C. Parker scholarship applications include test scores, grades, an essay, leadership experience, extracurricular activities, awards and recognition, community service, and contribution to diversity. Awards will be based on the applicant’s ranking within the competitive pool, with values ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. Students may receive only one award through the William C. Parker Scholarship Program. Learn more about William C. Parker Diversity Scholarship Program

First-Year Experience & Transition First Generation Living Learning Community

The First Generation Living Learning Community is a residential experience designed to support first generation students and assist them with their transition from high school into college life at UK. Academic success is encouraged through connected courses with their peers, increased faculty and staff interaction, as well as intentional programming efforts. Learn more about First Generation Living Learning Community

Scholars & Leadership First Scholars Program at UK

First Scholars is a comprehensive program created specifically to address the holistic development of first generation students throughout their undergraduate college experience at the University of Kentucky. Our program based on theory and research includes multiple levels of support to address the unique challenges first generation students face. Learn more about First Scholars Program at UK

Scholars & Leadership Robinson Scholars Program

The Robinson Scholars Program serves eastern Kentuckian first generation college-bound and college students who have demonstrated the potential to succeed but who might encounter economic, cultural, or institutional impediments to their completion of four-year college degrees. The Program's mission is to provide these students with support services and scholarship resources that empower them to complete a baccalaureate degree at the University of Kentucky and thereby increase the educational capital of their communities. In recognition of the potential obstacles facing these students, the program identifies leaders in the ninth grade. This approach recognizes the importance of academic support, social mentoring, and college preparation throughout high school. The Robinson Scholars Program service area includes the following 29 counties: Bell, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rockcastle, Whitley and Wolfe. Learn more about Robinson Scholars Program

Academic Courses & Service Learning Education Abroad: First Adventures in a Global Marketplace

Education Abroad at UK provides an opportunity for students to study, research and intern abroad. One program designed specifically for first generation students at UK is the First Adventures in a Global Marketplace. Led by adjunct Communications faculty member Matthew Deffendall, the three week summer program examines how multinational corporations communicate in a 21st century global marketplace. The course is taught in London, England, and includes a mix of in class discussion, business site visits, group activities and excursions. Learn more about Education Abroad: First Adventures in a Global Marketplace

Student Life & Support Student Support Services

Student Support Services is a federally funded program designed to work with students who are first generation, low-income and/or have a documented disability. We provide a holistic approach to working with students designed to aid in retention and graduation. Learn more about Student Support Services

Student Diversity

  • 20,827
  • 50/50
  • 18%
    First-generation college students
  • <1%
    American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • 2%
  • 7%
    Black or African American
  • 3%
  • <1%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 80%
  • 3%
    Two or more races
  • 3%
    Race and/or ethnicity unknown
  • 2%

Student Success

  • 83%
    First-to-second year retention
  • 58%
    Six-year graduation
  • 42%
    Six-year graduation for underrepresented minority groups
  • 92%
    Freshmen who live on campus
  • 26%
    Undergraduates who live on campus
  • 1,365
    Full-time faculty
  • 248
    Full-time minority faculty
  • 18-1
    Student–faculty ratio
  • Top 5 Majors

    Business/marketing Education Communication/journalism Engineering Social sciences

  • Multicultural Student Clubs and Organizations

    "I am." Diversity Project Ambassadors Black Student Union CATalyst Coalition Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students First Generation Student Organization NAACP UK Chapter OUTSource


Cost of Attendance

  • $9,012
  • $9,012
    In-state Tuition
  • $1,098
    Required Fees
  • $10,328
    Room and Board

Financial Aid

  • $53,797,726
    Total institutional scholarships/grants
  • $10,221
    Average aid package
  • $18,202
    Average student loan debt upon graduation (of those who borrow)
  • 25%
    Pell Grant recipients among freshmen
  • 51%
    Students with financial need
  • 50%
    Students awarded any financial aid
  • 24%
    Students awarded any need-based scholarship or grant aid
  • 8%
    Students whose need was fully met


Applicant Academics

  • 18,802
    # of applicants
  • 67%
  • 3.46
    Average HS GPA
  • 25
    ACT Composite
  • 500—620
    SAT Critical Reading
  • 510—630
    SAT Math
  • 480—600
    SAT Writing
  • n/a
    SAT/ACT optional


  • 02/15
    Regular application closing date
  • n/a
    Application Fee
  • $50
    Application Fee (online)
  • yes
    Fee waiver for applicants with financial need
  • n/a
    Early decision plan
  • n/a
    Early decision application closing date
  • n/a
    Early action plan
  • n/a
    Early action application closing date