Community Information about Berea, Kentucky

The Institution: 

Berea College achieved national distinction as the first coeducational and interracial college in the South. With an emphasis on service to the people of Appalachia and beyond, Berea enrolls 1,600 students from 40 states and 60 countries. The College has a longstanding commitment to interracial education. Here, people of different races seek to learn from and about each other, while also living together. Berea is among the most diverse private liberal arts colleges in the United States in regards to race. The College admits only students whose families are unable to afford the high cost of tuition. These students are awarded a four-year tuition scholarship. Berea’s students excel in the College’s supportive but demanding academic environment. Many are the first in their families to graduate from college. The College is one of seven federally recognized Work Colleges. All students hold a position in which they work 10-12 hours per week. Washington Monthly Magazine has consistently ranked Berea in the top 3 of Liberal Arts Colleges for its success in educating and graduating academically talented, low-income students who become service-oriented leaders in their professions and communities. Located where the Bluegrass Region meets the Cumberland Mountains, the town of Berea (pop. 14,000) lies forty miles south of Lexington and is approximately two hours from Cincinnati, Louisville, and Knoxville. More information about Berea College is available at

Berea College, in light of its mission in the tradition of impartial love and social equality, welcomes all people of the earth to learn and work here.

The Community:

As a town, Berea is home to a thriving population of:

  • weavers,
  • instrument makers,
  • furniture artisans,
  • jewelry designers,
  • glass workers,
  • potters,
  • painters,
  • sculptors and
  • musicians.

The story of Berea’s artisan community is interwoven with the historic Berea College. Berea has a longstanding tradition of diversity, social justice, environmental responsibility and community service. Both college and town are committed to the practice of sustainability and conservation.