WKU has a student body of nearly 21,000 students. Its main campus, College Heights, is in the midst of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of construction and renovation. Since 1997, dormitories have been renovated, new academic and athletic buildings have been finished, with more construction under way. The university also has placed a premium on creating a park like atmosphere, with parking lots on the interior of the 200-acre campus replaced with greenspace, trees and other landscaping known as Centennial Mall.
WKU’s Nursing, Journalism and Photojournalism programs rank among the best in the country. The photojournalism department has won numerous awards. As of 2007, more than 25 alumni of WKU’s photo and print journalism programs have been honored with the Pulitzer Prize. The school’s twice-weekly newspaper, the College Heights Herald, regularly wins awards placing it among the top college newspapers in the nation, and even competes against commercial newspapers in the state’s Associated Press competition.
WKU is also home to the largest American master’s degree program in folklore; it is contained within the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology. It is unique among American folklore programs for its public folklore program and is one of the few schools in Kentucky to offer a focus in historic preservation.
At Western Kentucky University, 62.9 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $5,349.
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