Berea College's commitment to serving students from Southern Appalachia and the Commonwealth of Kentucky is demonstrated by the fact that 75 percent of the student population comes from that region. The remainder represents approximately 45 states nationally and 60 other countries. In keeping with its abolitionist roots and commitment to social justice, Berea College seeks to serve "all peoples of the earth" and places particular emphasis on interracial and intercultural education, as well as service-based learning initiatives. Because Berea also is committed to serving those students with demonstrated economic need, the College restricts admission to promising students whose families cannot finance a comparable college education without significant assistance. Thus, financial need is a requirement for admission.  At Berea College, we combine our resources and those our students have available to them to pay for the costs of going to college.  Thanks to our unique financial aid program, Berea student do not have to pay out of pocket for tuition and only pay a portion of the costs for housing and meals.  Students graduate from Berea with a high quality education, practical experience from the College Labor program, and one of the lowest average student debt levels in the United States.


Berea College has a national reputation for academic excellence. Therefore, a Berea education is highly prized, and admission is competitive. The College seeks to enroll students who possess limited financial resources and who are motivated to grow intellectually and personally in an environment shaped by Berea’s Great Commitments.

In the admissions process, emphasis is placed on the candidate’s academic record, particularly the kind and strength of courses taken and the grades earned. The College recommends, but does not require, that applicants complete the following high-school academic distribution:

  • Four units of English (including composition, rhetoric, and literature)
  • Three units of Mathematics (at least Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry)
  • Two units of Laboratory Science
  • Two units of Social Science/History (including World History)
  • Two units of Foreign Language

Those wishing to explore whether they meet the financial criterion for admission to Berea College may use the following table as an approximate guide. NOTE: Families with members who are eligible for certain types of state or federal financial assistance (SSI, Food Stamps, Free or Reduced Lunch, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or WIC) are very likely to meet Berea Financial Requirements.

# of Family Members Adjusted Gross Income with One in College Adjusted Gross Income with Two in College
2 or 3 $47,000 $67,000
4 $52,000 $72,000
5 $56,000 $76,000
6 $61,000 $81,000
7 $65,000 $85,000
8 $69,000 $89,000

The amount that Berea College charges a student for housing and meals varies in accordance with his or her family’s ability to contribute toward these expenses. The average first-year student pays $1,150 annually toward these costs, but will earn approximately $1,500 in the Labor Program. The student-loan debt of Berea graduates is one-third of the national average and many Berea students graduate debt-free. Those who do receive student loans frequently use these funds to help finance educational experiences abroad in such locations as Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America, and Europe. Approximately forty percent (40%) of the College’s graduates spend some time abroad during their student experience at Berea.

All applicants who meet the faculty-established minimum criteria for admission to the College (ACT Composite score of 17 or SAT I Verbal, Math and Writing score of 1210 and rank in the top three-fifths of the high-school class) must participate in a personal interview with an admissions counselor. Unless an applicant has recently visited campus, most interviews will take place on campus as a component of a formal campus visit. Reservations for visits to campus must be made at least one week in advance of the visit. In keeping with Berea’s commitment to serving those with limited economic resources, the College does not charge an application fee.

Generally, admitted students may not defer enrollment. However, a student with a compelling reason may request deferment of enrollment to a subsequent term by writing a letter to the Director of Admissions stating the reason for the request. All requests are considered by the Enrollment Policies Committee and decisions are made on a case-by case basis for a maximum deferment of one semester.

Applying as a Freshman

Berea College accepts academically capable students who are driven toward success, are not afraid to work hard to achieve their goals, and wish to make a difference in the world. In recent years, admitted applicants have ranked in the top 20 percent of their high-school graduating class, have a high-school cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, and have scored between 20 and 30 on the ACT or 1410 and 1980 on the SAT I. While academic factors are most important, the Admissions Decision Team also considers each applicant’s motivation, leadership potential, special talents, and community service.

The final deadline for complete domestic applications for admission is April 30; however, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible in the fall of their senior year in high school. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but well qualified applicants may be accepted for fall admission as early as November. Though an early application alone will not insure admission to the College, some advantage may be realized by those who apply before October 31 because the selection process becomes more competitive after that date. The final deadline for international applications is January 15.

To be considered for admission to Berea College as a first-year student, an applicant must participate in a personal interview with an admissions counselor and submit the following materials:

  • A completed "Application for Admission and Scholarship" form.
  • A completed "Financial Resource Questionnaire" (Freshman Fall Term applicants only, if applying prior to Feb. 1).
  • The Guidance Counselor Evaluation Form (to be completed by the high-school guidance counselor; GED holders and home-school applicants need not submit this form).
  • Official high-school transcript (GED holders should submit official GED scores in lieu of high-school transcripts; home-schooled students should submit the Home-School Supplement Form if no transcript is available).
  • Official ACT or SAT I scores.
  • A completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Two Evaluation & Endorsement Forms, each from a former teacher, principal, or other school administrator (unless applicant has not recently been enrolled, in which case, evaluation and endorsement forms from professionals in non-educational fields and/or other community leaders will be accepted).

Applying as a Transfer Student

Berea College accepts a limited number of transfer students. In recent years, most admitted transfer applicants have presented a collegiate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and have been in good academic and disciplinary standing at the college or university they most recently attended. Successful transfer applicants typically have accumulated no more than 70 credit hours elsewhere and have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 (on a 4.0 scale) in their most recent 24 hours of college credit. Transfer applicants with courses currently in progress must submit final transcripts reflecting no less than a 2.5 cumulative GPA in the most recent 24 hours of courses taken. Transfer applicants may be asked to complete a personal interview as part of the application process. The final deadline for completed applications from transfer students is March 31. At least one academic year in residence at Berea is required of all degree candidates, except for non-traditional students who live off campus.

To be considered for admission to Berea College as a transfer student, an applicant must submit the following materials:

  • A completed "Application for Admission and Scholarship" form.
  • Official college/university transcripts from all institutions attended.
  • Official high-school transcript (GED holders should submit official GED scores in lieu of high-school transcripts; home-schooled students should submit the Home-School Supplement Form if no transcript is available).
  • Official ACT or SAT I scores (if fewer than 24 transferable college credits have been completed).
  • A completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Two Evaluation & Endorsement Forms, each from a former professor or school administrator (unless applicant has not recently been enrolled, in which case, evaluation and endorsement forms from professionals in non-educational fields and/or other community leaders will be accepted). A Statement of Good Standing form from all institutions of higher education that the student has attended previously.

Transfer Credit

Only courses and earned credits completed with a grade of C or higher at a regionally accredited institution within 10 years of initial enrollment at Berea are transferable to Berea College. The amount of credit granted by the original institution will be honored by Berea and transposed into comparable course credits or fractions of course credits. If not accepted to meet a specific requirement, such credit can be accepted as an elective credit. One course credit at Berea represents four semester hours or six quarter hours elsewhere. No credit is granted for developmental courses or other courses not at the college level, as defined by that institution (typically courses numbered below 100, such as 090 or 36B).

Credit for a course in which a P, S, or credit grade has been earned will be granted only upon verification from the institution that work in the course was completed at a C level or above.

A student currently enrolled at Berea who wishes to transfer credit earned at another regionally accredited institution must have approval in advance from both the Academic Records Assistant (in the Student Service Center), the Academic Advisor, and the Program Coordinator for the program in which the course would be offered at Berea. In addition to the transfer-credit policies stated above, the following policies apply to courses taken elsewhere:

  • Eight (8) of the last eleven (11) courses required for completion of the degree must be earned in residence at Berea College. Exceptions can be approved by the Student Admission and Academic Standing Committee.
  • Credit is transferred only on the basis of an official transcript mailed directly to: Student Service Center, CPO 2168, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404. It is the student's responsibility to request this document from the registrar where the work was taken.
  • Only credit is transferred to Berea; not grades or quality points. Transfer credit is not used in computing the GPA at Berea College and higher grades will not replace lower grades on the Berea transcript.
  • Credit cannot be given for any course that is the equivalent of a course previously completed at Berea College.
  • Any course in which a grade of ‘F’ has been earned at Berea can only be repeated at Berea.

International Students: Except through the Berea College Advanced Standing Examination Program, college- or university-level academic credit will NOT be evaluated for the possibility of transfer credit unless the applicant indicates the name and dates of attendance for any other college or university on the application for admission.

For information on how Berea course credits equal semester or quarter hours, please see the “Academic Calendar” in The Academic Program section of this publication.

Time Limit for Earned Credit

All course credits used to satisfy Berea’s degree requirements must have been earned within 10 years of the date of the student’s initial enrollment at Berea College or at another regionally accredited institution. An exception to this rule may be granted with approval of both the Director of Academic Services and the Program Coordinator for the program in which the student is majoring or plans to major.

Berea’s Admissions Territory

In keeping with its historic commitment to serving the Appalachian region, Berea College admits 75-80 percent of its students from counties in nine states that fall within Berea’s special “admissions territory.” These counties, many of which are located in Appalachia, are listed below. Students from approximately 45 states nationally and 60 other countries make up the remaining 20 percent of Berea’s student population.


Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Jackson, Jefferson, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Morgan, St. Clair, Shelby, Talladega


Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Dawson, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Lumpkin, Murray, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union, Walker, White, Whitfield


All counties

North Carolina

Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yancey


Adams, Athens, Brown, Clermont, Gallia, Hamilton, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, Washington

South Carolina

Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg


Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hawkins, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, Macon, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, Polk, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, White


Alleghany, Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Carroll, Clarke, Craig, Dickenson, Floyd, Franklin, Frederick, Giles, Grayson, Highland, Lee, Loudoun, Montgomery, Nelson, Page, Patrick, Pulaski, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth, Tazewell, Warren, Washington, Wise, Wythe

West Virginia

Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wirt, Wood, Wyoming

College Health Service Admissions Requirements

New or transfer students must provide a detailed health history and a copy of their childhood immunization record prior to the beginning of their first term on campus. The College requires documentation of adequate immunization against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio, measles (rubeolla), mumps, and rubella (German measles). We recommend, but do not require, immunization against Hepatitis B and meningococcal disease. Appropriate screening for tuberculosis also is required. A student who has not met the requirements (completed health history, immunization record, and tuberculosis screening—see note below) will not be permitted to register for a second term.

Entering students must complete a questionnaire regarding tuberculosis exposure. Entering students from highrisk areas or with a history of high risk for tuberculosis must undergo skin testing. Should that test indicate the possibility of active disease, a chest x-ray will be required. This may be done at the St. Joseph Berea Hospital or through the Madison County Health Department. In cases of active disease, treatment is mandated by law and closely monitored. If the skin test is positive but the x-ray is negative, a nine-month course of antibiotics is highly recommended. Students who fail to complete at least six months of the appropriate therapy