If they register by August 1, Minnesota’s 10th graders can take a free career technical class on a college campus. This is a historic expansion of Minnesota’s Post Secondary Enrollment Options law, first adopted in 1985. And high school students helped produce You Tube Videos in English, Spanish, Arabic Hmong and Somali providing information about Post Secondary Options. (Video below)
Youngsters like “Eric” and “Sam” have valuable insights about free college courses via Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO).
“Sam” wrote, “PSEO is a great option for high school students (who are) ready for it. I took my entire junior and senior year of high school through PSEO at St. Thomas University and not only saved a fortune in college tuition but actually spent those two years learning…” Sam, 17, reported, ““I saved literally tens of thousands of dollars by doing this and got a jump start.” This spring he graduated from high school and earned a (2 year college) Associate degree.
This fall, for the first time, 10th graders who meet college expectations and have passed Minnesota’s required 8th grade reading test may take a free career/technical course on a college campus. If they earn at least a “C,” they may take additional PSEO career technical courses during their sophomore year. State funds will pay their tuition, lab and book fees.
At Minneapolis Community Technical College, Sareen Dunleavy-Keenan is the contact person (firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-659-6773). She reports that 10th graders may be able to take courses in about 32 areas, including but not limited to welding, health care core curriculum, human service addiction counseling, apparel technology, architectural technology, bio technology, and business management.
LeAnn Brown, Director of Admission at Anoka Technical College says that depending on their skill level, 10th graders might, for example be able to take a beginning course in welding, machine technology or emergency medical services.
Students working with High School for Recording Arts, Migizi Communications and Neighborhood House have produced You-Tube videos that explain the value of Dual (High School/College) courses. These include Advanced Placement, College in the Schools, International Baccalaureate, as well as Post Secondary Options. Some of these videos are quite lively, like the video entitled “Jump” and “Success.” Thanks to Minnesota Department of Education support, the videos are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Hmong and Somali. Here’s one — you can view all of them at www.centerforschoolchange.org/dual-credit/
Interested students should register now at the post secondary college for the fall. They do not need permission from their local high school to register at the college level. If accepted, they should inform their high school that they’ve registered for a course.
As Minnesota Senate Education Committee Chair Gen Olson explained, “Some students are far more successful in ‘hands-on” career technical courses than in traditional academic courses. We need to offer options.” Along with Senator Olson, Paj Ntaub Lee of the Center for School Change was asked to speak by Governor Dayton at the ceremony where the bill was signed into law.
Following Legislative intent, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities guidelines permit a variety of students to try a PSEO career/technical course, not just those doing extremely well in high school.
High school juniors and seniors already may take free PSEO career/technical and academic courses.
Research shows that young people who participate in various forms of Dual Credit are more likely not only to enter, but also to graduate from a two or four-year higher education institution. Moreover, Minnesota Department of Education research over the last decade shows that 90% or more of African American, Asian American, Latino/Hispanic and white students who take at least 280 hours (3-4 semester classes) of career-technical courses graduate from high school in four years. So the “achievement gap” in high school graduation is almost eliminated among these youngsters.
Everyone wants students to be successful with these courses. Recent research published by the University of Minnesota on thousands of “dual credit” students found
“Males, low-income students, and low-achieving high school students all appear to benefit from their participation in dual enrollment to a greater extent than their dual enrollment peers who enter college courses with more social, economic, and educational advantages…contrary to the arguments of some critics of expanding dual enrollment programs, dual enrollment can benefit a range of students, not only those who achieve at very high levels in high school. Indeed, dual enrollment may be the most beneficial to those students who are often excluded from participation.”
The African American Leadership Forum, Center for School Change, Growth and Justice, MinnCAN, Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs, and other groups testified in favor of this historic expansion of PSEO. Legislators listened, although some education groups opposed extending PSEO to 10th graders.
Dual Credit courses can help young people be better prepared for college, reducing the likelihood that they will take remedial courses. Taking these courses also can help youngsters save thousands of dollars in college costs.
Opportunities have expanded. That’s a great gift to students and the state.