Campus News

UK Offers Unique Dual Credit Program

With the University of Kentucky’s new dual credit program, taught by both high school teachers and UK professors, students can earn both high school and college credits.
With the University of Kentucky’s new dual credit program, taught by both high school teachers and UK professors, students can earn both high school and college credits.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 27, 2020) — Digital technology is putting a new perspective on courses for high school students. With the University of Kentucky’s new dual credit program, taught by both high school teachers and UK faculty members, students can earn both high school and college credits.

Through a new program at the university, juniors and seniors at some Kentucky high schools can become UK Next Generation Scholars, taking “live” UK classes, in which college instructors help to teach the courses via interactive video.

Providing high school students with the opportunity to experience college classes and gain college credit early is important in the effort to move more Kentuckians into higher education.

“We will be working with a diverse population of high school students to increase college-going rates across the Commonwealth,” said Christine Harper, UK's associate provost for enrollment management.

Typically, in dual credit courses, a high school instructor teaches the college material, but the UK model partners college faculty with high school teachers and allows for virtual “face-to-face” instruction.  

The dual credit approach was developed by the UK Center for Next Generation Leadership at the UK College of Education.

“Schools are paying particular attention to what it takes to prepare students to meet the demands of a fast-changing career landscape,” said Lu Young, Center for Next Generation Leadership executive director and associate clinical professor in the UK College of Education. “School leaders who are part of the UK Center for Next Generation Leadership Network tell us they joined the effort to help all students develop 21st century skills and have a smoother transition to college and careers, and we see dual credit as a way to help pave that path.”

In the decade since the center began at UK, hundreds of Kentucky school leaders have worked with the center to redesign the school experience for contemporary life, learning, and careers.

“Offering dual credit became a logical next step for these schools as they work to improve the high school experience and better prepare students for college transitions,” said Justin Bathon, co-director of the UK Center for Next Generation Leadership, and an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies at the UK College of Education.

Four of the schools that have participated in UK’s Center for Next Generation Leadership Academy are serving as pilot sites for the dual credit initiative: Paris Independent High School, Marshall County High School, Elkhorn Crossing School in Scott County, and STEAM Academy in Fayette County. Additional high schools will be added in fall 2021.

Students taking dual credit courses from UK will have an advisor from the UK Next Generation Leadership Academy who checks on their progress, helps complete college applications and supporting materials, and promotes a successful transition to college.

“We believe this is a game changer,” said Patrice Thompson, assistant superintendent at Paris Independent Schools. “Many of our students have never thought of themselves as UK-eligible and we want to change that perception. The wrap-around support provided by an advisor at UK, coupled with support at our school, is more support than our students would ever experience as a freshman at any university. I believe we are setting them up for success and completion of a university degree.”

Next Gen Scholars will 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 will be 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 will be expected to provide tuition support to qualifying free or reduced lunch students per the Kentucky 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.