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Western Kentucky University appears in these rankings:

20 Best Value Colleges for Students with Autism

10 Best Value Online Schools in Kentucky

Western Kentucky University is a top public university in Kentucky. Though it started out offering classes for students living in the western region of the state, it now has a student body that includes students from across the state as well as those from other states and even countries. Founded in 1906 as the Western Kentucky State Normal School, it took over a building and campus previously owned by Potter College, a college for women. That campus was initially home to the Glasgow Normal School and Business College, which opened in the 1870s. As a normal school, it offered teaching programs that culminated in diplomas and certificates. Once the school became a teachers college, it transitioned from diploma programs to traditional four-year degree programs. After spending years as a teaching college, it switched to a state college before becoming WKU.

The six colleges that operate within the university include the Ogden College of Science and Engineering, College of Health and Human Services and Potter College of Arts and Letters. Students can major in dozens of topics and earn one of eight bachelor's degrees, including a Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The university offers 10 master's degree choices and three doctoral programs as well. U.S. News & World Report ranked WKU as the 30th best university in the south, and Forbes ranked it as one of the nation's top schools. Many know WKU for its Kelly Autism Program, which helps students with autism go to college.

Western Kentucky University Accreditation Details

When looking for a college for students with autism, you always want to make sure that the college or university has regional accreditation. One reason regional accreditation is important is because it tells you that the university offers good degrees. It also lets you know that you can transfer your credits, which you may need to do because you feel homesick or experience problems at school. WKU has regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but some of the degree programs that it offers have accreditation too. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing accredited its nursing program, and the WKU programs in dance have accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Dance. WKU has accreditation from more than 20 organizations for dozens of its degree programs.

Western Kentucky University Application Requirements

Western Kentucky University encourages prospective students to attend one of the many special events it offers on campus. These events let you meet with faculty and other students, tour departments and campus buildings, sit in on classes and even get a look at the residence halls and cafeterias. To get into WKU, you need to meet one of three requirements. You must have either a 2.5 grade point average, a score of at least 20 on the ACT or an SAT score of 1020 or higher. If you do not meet any of these requirements, the university will look at other factors to determine your admissions status. Students typically need to complete a high school curriculum that prepares them for college too, which includes a combination of electives and classes in English, social sciences, life sciences and math.

You have until the beginning of August to submit your application for the fall semester, and those applying for the spring semester have until the beginning of January to apply. If you have questions about applying to WKU, you can meet with an admissions counselor. These counselors can speak to you in person, over the phone or via email. WKU has an online application that you can fill out in a few hours or less.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Going to college can cost a lot of money, but WKU is a public university that keeps its overall costs low. If you live in Kentucky, you qualify for the resident tuition rate, which is $425 per credit hour or $5,101 per semester. WKU offers the same rate for veterans and their dependents. If you did not live in Kentucky for at least a year before enrolling, your cost will be $1,063 per credit hour or $12,756 per semester. The cost rises for those coming from other countries.

As you will also need to pay for textbooks and cover some university fees, you may find that you need financial aid. The FAFSA is a completely free form that you can both fill out and file online. WKU will receive a copy and use it to determine your financial aid options. Incoming freshmen often receive subsidized federal loans that do not accumulate any interest until they graduate or stop taking college classes. You may receive grants from the university or the government too. WKU has scholarships available for students based on their individual merit or their overall financial need.

Kelly Autism Program

Western Kentucky University might be the best college for students with autism because of its Kelly Autism Program. This program offers extra support for students with autism that can make the transition from high school to college easier. It offers assistance for younger children in elementary or middle school as well as those in high school who may want to go to college. There is a separate program open to those with language problems that teaches them how to express their opinions in class and get the attention of teachers.

One of the top features of this program is something called the Circle of Support, which the university designed specifically for its students. This program provides students with private rooms for studying and working on class projects that lets them get away from the noises and other distractions found on other parts of campus. You'll also have access to mentors who can help you handle the issues of going to college. Students can participate in special events on the WKU campus to meet with others who have autism.

WKU also provides students with lifestyle help. It offers programs designed to help college students with autism develop the skills necessary for living on their own, including using a bank account and filing taxes. Western Kentucky University even assists students in applying for jobs and developing the social skills needed to work with others in a range of different fields in the real world.

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