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Profile of Berea
Berea College students sit in front of the Draper building

Profile of Berea

Profile of Berea

At a Glance

Total Student Body

Our students come from 45 states, one U.S. Territory and 70 countries.

of students graduated with zero student loan debt in 2021-22.

The national average for student loan debt is $35,000.

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Student Body

  • 1,412 Students from 44 states, 3 U.S. Territories and 71 Countries
  • 41% from Appalachian Counties
  • 15% Hispanic/Latino/Spanish Origin
  • 20% Black/African American
  • 47% identify as persons of color
  • 67% First-Generation college students

Every student at Berea College is part of a unique and inclusive mission that reflects equal opportunity with the obvious exception that Berea excludes applicants who come from families who could afford to pay for a high-quality education. Berea, perhaps more than any other institution, is a place of grace, making decisions to serve those who are deserving of educational opportunity, which remains the best way to change trajectories of students of low income and high potential. In the continuing spirit of impartial love, Berea College teaches love of the mind, the heart, the self and others.

The Fall 2023 incoming class aligns with the College’s inclusive mission:

  • 445 first-year and 58 transfer students have committed to attend Berea, for a total of 503 incoming students for Fall 2023
  • 45% are from Kentucky, with the remaining 55% from 34 states/U.S. territories and 33 countries
  • 42% are from an Appalachian Regional Commission county
  • 65% are from Berea’s primary admissions territory
  • 43% are male and 57% are female
  • 30% identify as Black, African-American alone or in combination with another race
  • 15% identify as Hispanic/Latino
  • 50% are first-generation college students, which means they will be the first in their families to complete a four-year college degree
  • 88% will receive a Pell grant based on household income
  • 53% have an Expected Family Contribution of $0 dollars, based on the FAFSA, meaning these families cannot contribute any money toward a college education
  • 15 are Bonner Scholars
  • 24 are Dr. Carter G. Woodson Scholars
  • No student will pay for tuition, a practice that dates back to 1892

Graduate Financial Stats

  • 62% graduated with $0 educational debt
  • $3,700 is the median average debt for those who borrowed
  • $1,967 is the mean average debt for ALL graduates
  • 100% of students do not pay tuition

Recent Graduate Learning Opportunities

  • 45% completed an Internship
  • 50% completed a Service-Learning Course
  • 29% participated in Education Abroad, comparable national stats are not yet available but reports suggest these will be even lower that the the pre-pandemic 10%.
  • 10% Participated in Undergraduate Research


  • Top 1% Best Undergraduate Teaching, U.S. News & World Report, #16 of 1,500 institutions
  • #1 Service Learning, U.S. News & World Report
  • #1 Best Bang for the Buck, Washington Monthly
  • #1 Best Value in Private Colleges under $20k (per year tuition), Kiplinger's Finance
  • Top 2% National Liberal Arts Colleges, U.S. News & World Report, #26 of 1,500 institutions
  • Top 2% Senior Capstone, U.S. News & World Report, #24 of 1,500 institutions
  • #2 Most Innovative Schools, U.S. News & World Report
  • #3 Social Mobility, Washington Monthly
  • #3 Co-ops & Internships, U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 4% Undergraduate Research & Creative Projects, U.S. News & World Report, #53 of 1,500 institutions
  • #5 Liberal Arts College, Washington Monthly
  • #5 First Year Experiences,  U.S. News & World Report
  • #18 Best Colleges for African-Americans, Essence
  • Colleges That Give You The Biggest Bang for Your Buck, Forbes, listed among 20 institutions

Hear From Students