UKIC / Education Abroad & Exchanges / National Student Exchange

National Student Exchange

Where to Study Away

Hawaii! California! Alaska! Canada! Puerto Rico! Colorado! New York! Where do you want to study away?

Through membership in the National Student Exchange Program (NSE), UK provides opportunities for full-time undergraduate students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher* to participate on exchange for a semester or an academic year at one of nearly 200 campuses throughout the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada!

*Some NSE institutions require a 2.75 GPA. Check the program page on the NSE website for each school's GPA requirement.

Planning your Exchange

The online NSE Directory is the place to start your search for the ideal exchange location. This is where you’ll find information on all the member schools, their location, available areas of study, costs and term dates.

You can search the site by state and by major.

To discover the available NSE member schools in a particular state click on the name of the state.

Then click on the school name to learn more about the institution.

We recommend you focus on finding the school that will best fulfill your academic requirements rather than choosing a school or state based solely on its location. Many of us would pick Hawaii, California or Florida given a free choice but are the courses offered at those schools going to keep you on track to graduate on time?!

Pay careful attention to the information regarding;

  • the cost of room and board
  • housing availability and housing contract obligations
  • whether the school runs on the semester or quarter systems
  • closed or restricted academic programs.

All this information is provided on the school’s program page on the NSE website.

Specific limitations are also outlined on this page. Review the campus description carefully to find out if the school:

  • accepts Tuition Plan B students (UK is a Plan B only member of NSE. See ‘Exchange Cost’ below)
  • has majors closed to exchange students
  • has on-campus housing, or requires you to live on campus
  • requires meal plan purchase
  • has duration limitations etc.

It’s your responsibility to do this research on each school you choose. The NSE host institution cannot guarantee course enrollment in restricted programs.

Choosing your Duration

You must follow any duration restrictions detailed in the school description on the NSE program page. There are some that require a full year exchange.

  • Semester Schools: You can exchange for one semester or a full year.
  • Quarter Schools: Credits received at a quarter school are converted to UK semester credits using this formula:
    • Number of quarter credits  x  .67= semester credits

We recommend you select the full year exchange for a quarter system school to ensure you earn the same amount of credit as a full year at UK.

Possible Limitations

Some institutions have certain kinds of "unofficial" limitations that may not be included on the NSE website. For example:

  1.  Some schools can only accept a limited number of students on exchange. Therefore, they may not be able to accept all students who apply.
  2. Some schools may only be listed as first choice schools (because they are so popular) and are not good 2nd, 3rd or 4th choices.
  3.  Some schools have very limited availability on Plan B. We recommend you contact UK’s NSE coordinator to discuss your school choices as information concerning these limitations can change rapidly and with little notice.

Important things to consider

The NSE application allows you to list more than one location and we encourage you to be flexible when considering your options. Listing 2 or 3 choices increases your chances of getting placed at one of them.

When reviewing the information on an institution’s program page on the NSE website, pay special attention to their availability on Plan B. You’ll find it on the left hand side on the page.

EVEN – the school only accepts as many Plan B students as it is sending out

UNEVEN – the school will accept a few more Plan B students than it is sending out

OPEN – the school will accept all qualified applicants

1:1 – the school gives priority to students from schools which are accepting their students


Take this into consideration when you make your list. Choosing at least one OPEN school should ensure you get a placement.


UK only participates in the Tuition Plan B option.

This means you pay your regular tuition and fees directly to UK (out-of-state students continue to pay their non-resident rate) at the same time as you usually pay your UK tuition.

You pay any course-specific, accommodation and meal plan fees and any other fees (such as orientation, NSE program fee, parking fees) listed on the school’s page on the NSE website directly to the host institution.

You will receive two bills - one from UK for tuition and fees, and one from your host school for accommodation, meal plan and any other fees.

UK will enroll you in a 1 credit NES333 course for the semester(s) you are studying away. This serves to keep you enrolled as a fulltime student at UK and allows you to access your financial aid and scholarships. This is also billed to your UK student account.

As UK is a Plan B only member, you are not able to exchange to a host school that participates only on Plan A.


Some NSE exchange schools will not wait for you to receive a residual check from UK to pay for your room and board fees at the NSE host institution. It is your responsibility to find out if your NSE host school will wait for financial aid to be processed.

While an NSE exchange generally does not cost much more than attending UK, you must make sure you take enough money with you to get you through at least the first month (books, rent, food). Furthermore, you may need to pay in full or make a deposit for housing and/or a meal plan in advance.

You must be a full time student while on exchange (12 credits or its equivalent). The NSE host school will notify UK if you drop below full time student status. There may be serious financial aid, housing and academic consequences if you do not maintain full time student status.

How to Apply


Complete the online UK NSE application


You can contact the NSE coordinator Laurence Tuccori with questions by email at

You can also make an appointment to meet with him here 

NSE is located in the Education Abroad and Exchanges Office on the third floor of Bradley Hall.