Guide to Colleges & Universities in Kansas (KS)

Education in Kansas

The state of Kansas is home to a wide range of colleges and universities offering both four-year and two-year degrees. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) there are 103 colleges, universities, technical schools, career academies and other postsecondary institutions active in the state. Degree-granting colleges and universities in Kansas are broken down by type:

  • Public 4-year: 8
  • Public 2-year: 26
  • Private 4-year, nonprofit: 28
  • Private 2-year, nonprofit: 4
  • Private 4-year, for-profit: 11

Number of Institutions in Kansas

Beyond degree-granting institutions, like other states in the country, Kansas is also home to a number of colleges whose programs culminate in certificates of completion and career diplomas instead of degrees. These schools focus primarily on career training for a specific career and are composed mostly of beauty schools, barber colleges and technical institutes. Although these schools don’t offer traditional degree programs, they may provide a fast track into the workplace since they typically take less time to complete.

Although some Kansas students focus on career training that leads to certificates or diplomas instead of traditional degrees, colleges in Kansas still granted their share of four-year and two-year degrees. According to a 2014 report from the NCES, federal financial aid-eligible colleges and universities in Kansas granted 49,967 degrees and certificates to 48,291 graduating students in 2011-12. Among those students, 59 percent earned their degrees at four-year institutions and 34.5 percent earned two-year degrees. The remaining 6.5 percent, a total of 3,237 graduates, earned certificates from less-than-two-year institutions.

Colleges and universities in Kansas boast large enrollments of students working toward various degree types. The NCES documents the total student enrollment numbers collected from the major public universities in Kansas, current as of Spring 2013:

  • Emporia State University: 6,033
  • Fort Hays State University: 13,441
  • Kansas State University: 24,581
  • Pittsburg State University: 7,400
  • University of Kansas: 26,968
  • Washburn University: 6,973
  • Wichita State University: 14,386

Online education in Kansas

The steady growth in the number of online degree programs and courses at institutions of higher education in the state has been a huge boon for students. While students previously had to live on or near their college campus, they can now complete their studies from anywhere in the state. The ability to complete coursework at one’s own pace and in the place of their choosing has made it easier for many students to return to school to earn their degree while raising a family and/or remaining in the workforce. Some of the most popular programs in the state are online graduate degree programs that allow students to earn their advanced degree without leaving the workforce or losing career momentum.

A number of colleges and universities in Kansas have been recognized for excellence in online education by national ranking agencies. Here are a few of the well-regarded online degrees offered by Kansas colleges and universities, alongside their national rank as calculated by U.S. News & World Report:

Emporia State University

  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 11

Fort Hays State University

  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 16
  • Best Online MBA Programs (2015): No. 74
  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 30

Kansas State University

  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 86
  • Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs (2015): No. 20

Pittsburg State University

  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 167
  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 47

University of Kansas

  • Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs (2015): No. 25

While many colleges and universities in Kansas are represented in U.S. News rankings and others, it’s important to note that many programs in the state were not considered for these type of rankings at all. Community colleges and technical schools in Kansas, for example, were not included despite the fact that many offer a wide range of excellent online programs and courses. Before you choose an online program, make sure to conduct a certain amount of research on your own in order to find the right program for our unique situation.

Top jobs and careers in Kansas

The state of Kansas is home to a healthy economy with plenty of room for potential growth in a wide range of careers. The following table lists some of the top careers in Kansas along with information about each and some degrees that can help job candidates in each field get their foot in the door:

OccupationTop RegionsWhy It’s HotNecessary SkillsRelevant Degrees
Interpreters and TranslatorsKansas City, MO-KS, Kansas nonmetropolitan area, ManhattanDue to above average growth in the use of a number of languages used across the United States, professional interpreters who speak more than one language fluently are expected to remain in demand. According to U.S. Department of Labor figures, employment for these workers in Kansas is expected to increase 48 percent from 2012 to 2022.Business skills, concentration, cultural sensitivity, absolute fluency in at least two languages, communication skills, interpersonal skills, the ability to navigate complex computer software programs, listening skillsAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most interpreters and translators get their start by earning a bachelor’s degree in English or another language. However, a bachelor’s degree in any field may work fine as long as the candidate speaks and writes at least two languages fluently.

Students considering this field should focus on courses that underscore foreign language use such as writing and comprehension, English and cultural proficiency. A visit to a foreign country can also help students understand and embrace new cultures and the languages they use.

Diagnostic Medical SonographersKansas City, MO-KS, Wichita, Kansas nonmetropolitan area, TopekaAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to increase 41 percent in Kansas from 2012 to 2022. Meanwhile, high wages contribute to the popularity of this career.Manual dexterity, communication skills, technical skills, computer proficiency, physical stamina, hand-eye coordination, time management skillsAs the BLS notes, most diagnostic medical sonographers get started in this field by earning an Associate’s degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography or a Bachelor’s degree in Sonography.

Students interested in becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer should take courses in anatomy, mathematics, physiology and other science and math-related courses.

Occupational Therapy AssistantsKansas City, MO-KS, Wichita, TopekaDue to the huge growth in the demand for health care, almost all health-related occupations are experiencing significant expansion. According to the BLS, occupational therapy assistants are no exception; the most recent figures show that employment for these workers in Kansas is expected to increase 38 percent during the decade leading up to 2022.Attention to detail, flexibility, compassion, time management skills, computer proficiency, physical strengthOccupational therapy assistants typically begin their careers by earning an associate degree in Occupational Therapy Assisting from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program.

Courses that can give students a head start in this field of work include anatomy, physiology, biology, psychology and pediatric health.

Information Security AnalystsKansas City, MO-KS, Wichita, TopekaEmployment for information security analysts is expected to surge 38 percent in Kansas from 2012 to 2022. Meanwhile, high wages also contribute to the popularity of this career.Analytical skills, attention to detail, understanding of advanced mathematical principles, problem-solving skills, ingenuity, computer proficiencyThe BLS reports most information security analysts need a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field such as computer science, software development, network administration, or information technology.

Experience in another field can also help information security analysts get started in their career.

Market Research Analysts and Marketing SpecialistsKansas City, MO-KS, Wichita, Topeka, ManhattanAn increased use of data and market research across all industries is expected to contribute to a surge in employment for these workers all over the country. Specifically, the BLS reports that job openings for market research analysts and marketing specialists in Kansas could increase by as much as 34 percent from 2012 to 2022. High wages help this career land on this list of “hot jobs.”Analytical skills, communication skills, attention to detail, creativity, ingenuityMarket research analysts and marketing specialists typically get started with a bachelor’s degree in marketing or market research. However, top research positions may also require a master’s degree.

Students interested in this field should pursue studies in communications, economics, physiology and sociology, in addition to courses in marketing.

Although a college degree can’t guarantee employment in any of these positions, a tremendous amount of research shows that a college degree will lead to greater job prospects than not having a degree at all. Before you decide on any of these careers, it is crucial that you take special care to research all educational and licensing requirements to make sure you are on the right track.

Kansas financial aid info

Tuition at colleges and universities in Kansas can vary widely based on a wide range of factors. However, no one can deny that the cost of a college education has grown tremendously over the years.

A 2014 report published by the College Board shows just how much the average cost of college has changed between 2004 and 2014-2015. To give an idea of how much the cost of college has risen, here’s a list of average tuition prices for each type of school during the 2004-05 and 2014-15 school years in current dollars:

  • Public 2-year in-state
    • 2004-05: $1,767
    • 2014-15: $2,628
  • Public 4-year in-state
    • 2004-05: $4,242
    • 2014-15: $8,086
  • Private 4-year nonprofit
    • 2004-05: $14,446
    • 2014-15: $24,112

Kansas Tuition and Fee Costs

Students who enroll at colleges and universities in Kansas will be asked to fill out a Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This form can help schools determine which type of aid may be available at the state and federal level. Although filling out a FAFSA form doesn’t guarantee financial aid, it’s the only way to figure out how much aid you may qualify for, if any.

Prospective students who hope to learn more about Kansas financial aid can turn to both the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas State Department of Education. The Kansas Board of Regents acts as the governing board of the state’s six universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions. As a public service, they offer information on grants and scholarships in the state of Kansas.

Students who hope to qualify for state-based aid may need to fill out a State of Kansas Student Aid Application. Doing so can help you determine eligibility for a variety of undergraduate scholarships including the Kansas Career Technical Workforce Grant (formerly Vocational Education Scholarship), Kansas Comprehensive Grant, Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship, Kansas Military Service Scholarship, Kansas National Guard Educational Assistance, Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship, Kansas State Scholarship, Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship and Kansas ROTC Service Scholarship, among others.

Certain graduate scholarships may also be available to those who fill out a State of Kansas Student Aid Application, although requirements do apply. Applicants must reside in the state of Kansas.

Some types of student aid come in the form of loans that must be paid back while others come in the form of grants or “gifts” that can go towards a standard reduction in the cost of your tuition. Make sure to research the difference before accepting any federal or state-based student aid.

To find out more about some of the schools and programs available in Kansas, be sure to check out the ones featured in our school listings below.

Article Sources


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition: “Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, including Vascular Technologists,”, “Information Security Analysts,”, “Interpreters and Translators,”, “Market Research Analysts,”, “Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides,”
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014: “Diagnostic Medical Sonographers,”, “Information Security Analysts,”, “Interpreters and Translators,”, “Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists,”, “Occupational Therapy Assistants,”
  3. U.S. News & World Report, 2015: “Emporia State University, Online Programs,”, “Fort Hays State University, Online Programs,”, “Kansas State University, Online Programs,”, “Pittsburg State University, Online Programs,”, “University of Kansas, Online Programs,”
  4. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics,
  5. Kansas State Department of Education,
  6. May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Kansas, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
  7. Postsecondary Completers and Completions: 2011-12, Web Tables, U.S. Department of Education, March 2014,
  8. Scholarships and Grants, State of Kansas Board of Regents,
  9. Top 50 Fastest Growing Occupations,,
  10. Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time, Trends in Higher Education, The College Board,

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