Kentucky's Berea College was founded as a Christian school with a mission of providing an education accessible to all. In the past, that meant opening its classes to women and Black students. (It was the first interracial, co-educational college in the South.) Today, the college focuses on offering a path to a college degree for students with limited economic resources, especially those from the Appalachia region, where the college is located.
As such, it's not surprising that the small liberal arts college is a standout for affordability, capturing the No. 1 spot for this measure in Money’s ratings two years in a row. Nearly all first-year students are eligible for need-based federal Pell Grants. Berea doesn't charge tuition, and all students work a minimum of 10 hours a week on campus, for which they take home a paycheck to help cover day-to-day expenses. At the end of their college careers, students leave with a labor transcript along with a degree. More than half of graduates have no student debt, and those who do borrow finish with modest debt loads.
Berea offers about 30 majors and 40 minors, with specialized programs ranging from pPeace and social justice studies to forest resource management. There are 14 residence halls for first-year students and upperclassmen, and an ecovillage — made up of about 50 apartments — for students with children or who are married. Students living there are expected to meet certain standards of environmentally friendly living, pitching in to help with composting, babysitting, gardening or landscaping activities.
Berea College tuition and fees
Estimated cost and due date
Tuition and fees at Berea College amount to $45,026. You should also factor in room and board, books, and living expenses when budgeting for college. The due date for Fall is May 01, 2023, but it's always a good idea to double-check the university's official calendar or your student portal for any changes. Late payments may incur extra charges.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the cost? That’s understandable. College can be expensive, but there are a variety of financial aid sources you can explore, such as student loans, grants, and scholarships. Here is a brief overview of the available options; for a more comprehensive guide, take a look at our How to Pay for College article.
Exploring financial aid options at Berea College
Scholarships and grants
The typical grant aid for undergraduates at Berea College is $56,071, which is composed of awards from federal, state, local and college programs. The federal Pell Grant, which is given to those with lower incomes, is one of the most common sources of aid. Approximately 89% of Berea College students receive a Pell Grant. To be eligible for Pell Grants and other types of financial aid, you must fill out the FAFSA.
Many states offer scholarships that can help with the cost of college; however, it’s usually required that you are a resident of that state and attending college within it. For example, Kentucky offers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES).
University scholarships, aka institutional aid
Colleges usually provide two kinds of financial aid. Need-based aid is based on your financial situation, while merit-based aid encompasses all awards that are not based on financial need. Merit scholarships can be based on academic success, artistic ability, leadership skills and more. At Berea College, 94% of first-year students receive a scholarship from the college, with an average award of $46,167.
Don't forget to search for external scholarships too. There are many local organizations that provide scholarships to assist students with college costs, and some scholarships have year-round deadlines so you can get funds after you've enrolled. Check out our guide on college grants and scholarships to find out more about the various types of gift aid.
Federal student loans
Federal student loans are the most common way to finance educational expenses. These are loans provided by the government and have relatively low-interest rates, as well as flexible repayment options.
Private student loans
An alternative is to take out private student loans. These loans are offered by financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. If you need additional funding beyond federal loans, this could be your solution. Keep in mind, however, that the rates of interest may be higher and the repayment terms less flexible.
How to pay tuition bills at Berea College
If you are awarded a loan, grant or scholarship, the funds will usually be sent directly to the university. You will need to cover the remaining balance. You can pay your tuition online at https://www.berea.edu/.
The data included in this page contains data published in university sites, government public records and other vetted sources as of June 23, 2023. Be advised to validate this information with the university registrar or financial office.
This content was created with the assistance of AI technology and has been reviewed, edited and fact-checked by Money's editorial staff.