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.

Click on "Find a Campus" in the bar across the top of the page.

A text box will pop asking you to select your home institution from the drop-down menu. Select ‘University of Kentucky’ and click ‘This one!’

Another text box will pop up giving you the contact information for UK’s NSE coordinator. Close that box, and you’ll find a list of all the NSE locations (in alphabetical order by state) available to you as a UK student.

You can use the search menu to narrow your search by state, major, type of institution, and city or campus size.


You can click on the name of an individual NSE institution to go to their program page on the NSE website.

You can search the site by state and by major.

We recommend you focus on finding the institution 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 institutions going to keep you on track to graduate on time?!

Pay careful attention to the information regarding;

  • the cost of accommodation and meal plan
  • 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 institution'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 institution:

  • accepts Home Payment (Plan B) students. UK is a Home Payment (Plan B) only member of NSE (See ‘NSE Exchange Cost’ below).
  • has majors closed to exchange students
  • offers on-campus housing, or requires you to live on campus
  • requires you purchase their meal plan
  • has restrictions on the duration of exchange available (see ‘Choosing Your Duration’ below).

It’s your responsibility to do this research on each institution you choose. There are Some that require a full year exchange; others don’t accept students for spring semester only.

Choosing Your Duration

You must follow any duration restrictions detailed in the institution description on the NSE program page. Some require a full year exchange; others don't accept students for spring semester only.

  • Semester institutions: You can exchange for one semester or a full year.
  • Quarter institutions: Credits received at a quarter institution 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 institution to ensure you earn the same amount of credit as a full year at UK.

We don not recommend you attend a quarter institution for one quarter only.

Possible Limitations

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

  1.  Some institutions will only accept the same number of students that they send out on exchange. That means they may not be able to accept all students who apply to them.
  2. Some institutions should only be listed as your first choice (because they are so popular.) NSE institutions in Hawaii, California, and Florida fill very quickly and are not good 2nd, 3rd or 4th choices.
  3.  Some institutions have very limited availability on the Home Payment (Plan B) option. We recommend you contact UK’s NSE coordinator to discuss your institution choices as information concerning these limitations can change rapidly.

Important things to consider

The NSE application gives you space to list more than one location and we encourage you to be flexible when considering your options. Listing 2, 3 or even 4 locations you’d like to attend on exchange increases your chances of getting placed at one of them.

NSE Exchange Costs

UK only participates in the Home Payment (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 normally pay your UK tuition.

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

You must be enrolled in full time student status at your NSE host institution (12 credits or its equivalent). The NSE host institution 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 at your NSE host institution.


As UK is a Home Payment (Plan B) only member, you cannot exchange to a host institution which participates only in the Host Payment (Plan A) option.

Some NSE exchange institutions will not wait for you to receive a residual check from UK before requiring you to pay your fees to the NSE host institution. It is your responsibility to ask if your NSE host institution will wait for your UK 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.

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.