Campus News

4 Kentucky High Schools Join UK’s Innovative Dual Credit Program

Aisha Ndayishimiye, a Fayette County STEAM Academy senior and UK Next Generation Scholar, interacted on Zoom with Sy Bridenbaugh, a UK College of Education instructor teaching a college preparedness course in UK's dual credit program (pre Covid-19)
Aisha Ndayishimiye, a Fayette County STEAM Academy senior and UK Next Generation Scholar, interacted on Zoom with Sy Bridenbaugh, a UK College of Education instructor teaching a college preparedness course in UK's dual credit program (pre Covid-19)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 23, 2021) — The University of Kentucky’s dual credit program is growing to include additional high schools across the state. The program allows high school juniors and seniors to simultaneously earn high school and college credits in courses taught by both high school teachers and UK instructors. 

The latest schools to offer dual credit courses with UK are Lincoln County High School, Allen County-Scottsville High School, Larry A. Ryle High School in Boone County and Frankfort Independent High School.

“In many dual credit programs, a high school instructor teaches the college material. Our program is unique in that UK instructors partner with high school teachers and teach courses via interactive video,” said Justin Bathon, co-director of the UK Center for Next Generation Leadership and an associate professor of Educational Leadership Studies at the UK College of Education.

The program launched in early 2020 with four high schools serving as pilot sites: Paris Independent High School, Marshall County High School, Elkhorn Crossing School in Scott County and STEAM Academy in Fayette County. The following semester, Fleming County High School, Lawrence County High School, Somerset Independent High School, Logan County High School, Bardstown High School and Trimble County High School came on board.

“Over the course of the past three years, Frankfort High has made tremendous strides in our dual credit participation through partnerships with Kentucky State University and Bluegrass Community and Technical College,” said Tyler Reed, principal of Frankfort Independent High School. “We are thrilled to extend our partnership to the University of Kentucky and not only show our students they have the potential to be successful at the college level, but have the potential to be successful anywhere they would like to go, including at our state’s flagship university. The network partnerships that UK Next Gen offers is one aspect we are the most thrilled about. Being connected to great schools around the state will allow our students to see beyond the lens of their own community and connect with students they otherwise may not be able to. We as a school are also excited to grow and learn from other partner schools, and hopefully share some of the innovative strides we have tried to bring to education.”

For the 14 participating high schools, the dual credit program is an extension of their districts’ participation in programs offered by the Center for Next Generation Leadership, based at the UK College of Education. The center has helped establish a network of schools committed to upgrading educational systems to deepen the learner experience for every student.

“School leaders are implementing innovative practices across the Commonwealth in an effort to better meet the needs of all learners. Our innovative dual-credit program has become a logical extension of that work,” said Lu Young, clinical associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies and executive director of the Center for Next Generation Leadership at the UK College of Education.

The high school juniors and seniors who enroll in the dual credit program are known as “UK Next Generation Scholars.” They are provided an advisor from the UK Center for Next Generation Leadership who checks in on their progress, helps with college applications and supporting materials and promotes a successful transition to college.

"Next Gen Scholars is a way to let students access the University of Kentucky while still in high school and consider whether our bachelor’s degree options might be right for them. It is particularly encouraging that working with our high school partners we can make this a tool of opportunity to reach more students who might not have considered themselves college-going in the past," said Christine Harper, associate vice president for enrollment management at UK.

Next Gen Scholars apply for admission to UK as non-degree seeking students. They can take up to a maximum of 10 UK courses while in high school. The UK courses are delivered both online and by high school teachers who have been trained by UK faculty to teach the curricula. Tuition for courses in the dual credit program, in alignment with state determined dual credit rates, may be paid by either the school or the student, as determined by each district’s policy. Districts are expected to provide tuition support to qualifying free or reduced lunch students, a Council on Postsecondary Education policy.

UK dual credit courses are developed and offered primarily by UK academic departments with the support of local high school staff.

UK colleges contributing to the available courses include:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Communication and Information
  • College of Design
  • College of Education

Additional information about UK’s dual credit program can be found at

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.