Fayette County

UK, BCTC launch joint program

When Deanna Boyd graduates in May from Tates Creek High School, she will take classes at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. But her ultimate goal is to attend the University of Kentucky to get a degree in elementary education.

Thanks to a new program announced this week by the two Lexington-based colleges, Boyd and others will be able to do just that and save money to boot.

The program, dubbed BCTC blue+, is one of the first of its kind in the state. It is designed for students who want to complete an associate's degree at BCTC and plan to go to UK for a bachelor's degree.

"It will help me be able to take classes at UK," Boyd said. "And it will save me a lot of money."

Under the program, Boyd will be able to pay the lower BCTC prices for as many as 12 UK credit hours, which eventually could save her more than $100 for each of those 12 credit hours.

Boyd, during a ceremony announcing the program earlier this week, was one of the first students to enroll online in the program, which will begin in fall 2009.

Students will be allowed to take UK classes after they have completed 15 credit hours with BCTC. If a student has at least a 2.0 grade point average upon graduation from the BCTC associate's degree, he or she will be guaranteed admission to UK upon application.

Because students will earn an associate of arts degree from BCTC, the UK general-education requirements will be fulfilled, according to BCTC and UK. Students such as Boyd also may register for UK classes in their major while at BCTC, making the transition to the larger university that much easier.

UK President Lee T. Todd Jr., during a news conference Wednesday announcing the program, said he went to another college before coming to UK. As a graduate of a small high school in Western Kentucky, Todd said he knew that he wasn't prepared yet for the academic rigors of a four-year university. He did well at the junior college and eventually transferred.

Todd said that studies have shown that students who receive an associate's degree are more likely to complete a four-year degree. Increasing the number of people in Kentucky with bachelor's degrees is a key to moving UK into the top tier of research universities, Todd said.

Students can begin applying for the program immediately, both schools said.