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Incoming Exchange Students

The University of Kentucky welcomes non-degree exchange students from our many international partner institutions. Please direct any questions about the application process to the UKIC Exchanges Coordinator here.

Nomination Process

Before applying to study at UK, each exchange student must first be nominated by his / her home institution, using the Exchange Student Nomination form.      

Admissions Information

English Proficiency Requirements:
Undergraduate: TOEFL®  527 (197 CBT, 71 iBT)  /   IELTS  6.0                            
Graduate: TOEFL®  550 (213 CBT, 79 iBT) /   IELTS  6.5

Pre-session intensive English is available (not included in exchange benefits). The TOEFL score may be waived under certain circumstances.

Application Deadlines: 
Fall Semester (begins in August) – May 1
Spring Semester (begins in January) – October 1

Approximate Cost of Undergraduate Study at the University of Kentucky, 2013-14
Tuition and Fees               Included in bilateral exchange
Room and Board              $9,000*
Books and Supplies         $800
Insurance                           $1882 ($661 fall term / $1221 spring term)
ISSS J-1 Fee                      $100 (not included in bilateral exchange)

Estimated Personal          $700
Academic Year Total:       $12,482** (approximately $6,241 per semester)

* Inbound ISEP students pay tuition, room and board  to their home institutions.  ISEP provides assistance with immigration and visa support documentation.  The ISSS J-1 Fee is not applicable as it is included as part of the ISEP exchange program.

**Please note that fees are subject to change without notice. Some programs also require non-exchange related course fees.

Graduate Students:
Advanced permission is required for graduate students and students who wish to take graduate courses.

Application Process

The first step in the admissions process for exchange students is to be nominated by the sending institution via the Exchange Nomination. Once nominated, students will receive a preliminary approval form from the University of Kentucky Exchange Coordinator for acceptance into the exchange program. Once a student receives preliminary acceptance from the Exchange Coordinator, each student will be emailed instructions for completing an electronic application for official acceptance to the University of Kentucky. The following documentation will be required for each application:

  • The J-1 Exchange Student Application
  • High quality color scan of the passport photograph/identification page
  • Unofficial transcript from the home institution
  • An official bank statement showing an available balance of $6,241 per semester in order to obtain the DS-2019 immigration document (fees subject to change) OR The Sponsor Guarantee Form for Exchange (pdf).
  • Proof of English proficiency (unless waived with permission).

Once officially admitted to the University of Kentucky, each student will receive email notification and a welcome information packet (mailed to the home address provided by the student) with important US immigration documentation. For now, please review what steps to take after being admitted to the University of Kentucky at the Incoming Students - What's next.

Health Insurance Requirements

All exchange students are required by the University of Kentucky to have health insurance. Information about the UK Health Insurance Plan may be found online here.

Students who already have their own health insurance plan and wish not to participate in the UK Student Health Insurance Plan must complete an online waiver by September 22 for the fall semester and by February22 for the spring semester. The online waiver will not be available until arrival on campus.  At that time additional instructions will be provided at the Academic Health Plans website.

To qualify for a waiver, one’s insurance policy must meet or exceed all of UK’s minimum health insurance requirements. Waivers are not guaranteed and most outside insurance plans will not meet the UK minimum requirements. Short-term insurance plans do not comply with federal legislation requirements and will not be approved as sufficient coverage.

The costs associated with this mandatory health insurance coverage are not included within the parameters of the exchange.

Glossary of Terms

Transfer Student
You are a Transfer Student if you have been enrolled and received grades at any college or university prior to being admitted to the University of Kentucky.

J-1 Immigration Status
J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas are non-immigrant visas issued to individuals who have been approved to participate in exchange programs in the United States.

Such visitors will enter and remain in the U.S. in J-1 immigration status for the duration of their programs. 

DS-2019 Form
The DS-2019 form or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J-1 visa stamp to travel to the United States.

The form identifies the exchange visitor and the visitor's designated sponsor, e.g. the University of Kentucky. The form also gives a brief description of the exchange program, including start and end dates as well as estimated cost of the program.

At the embassy or consulate, the Consular Officer decides whether to grant the exchange visitor a J-1 visa stamp to enter the United States.

I-94 card
The I-94 card, also known as the "Arrival/Departure Record," is a small white card issued to foreign nationals when they arrive in the United States.

As of April 2013, the I-94 will be put into an electronic format and will utilize visitors' travel documents and other information to update arrival and departure records.