Want to increase the likelihood that a youngster will not only enter, but graduate from a one, two or four-year higher education program? Free, 30-minute webinars on June 6 and June 19, as well as information below, will explain how families can do this. Some of the information (via you-tube videos) is in Arabic, Hmong, Karen, Somali and Spanish, as well as English. Registration information is at our website, www.centerforschoolchange.org
Several key facts come together to help explain the value of students taking college level courses while still in high school, a key way to save money and be better prepared for some form of higher education.
- Latest state figures show that 40 percent of Minnesota high school students who enter a public college or university have to take at least one remedial course in reading, writing or math. The Wilder Foundation found that 75 percent of students who used “Power of You” funds to enter a metro area two or four year college had to take at least one remedial course (which costs money but does not count toward graduation)
- Nationally, only one of eight, two-year college students who take a remedial course graduate in eight years.
- Four-year graduation rates at Minnesota’s state universities average 22 percent. Six-year graduation rates average 48 percent. This is in part because too many students need to take remedial courses, too many are not well prepared, and college costs challenge many families.
- MInnesota students who do graduate from a four-year institution average more than $29,000 in debt – the third highest debt load in the country.
There is no single solution to the problems described above. But the Center for School Change has documented that students who take some form of Dual (High School/College) courses are more likely to not only enter, but also to graduate from some form of one, two or four year higher education program.
These courses include Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, College in the Schools, Dual Enrollment, Post-Secondary Options and Project Lead the Way courses. These are all free courses in high school that if students do well, allow them to earn free college credits.
CSC has developed several tools to help families understand these options. And we will be discussing them during free 30-minute webinars on June 6 and June 19, with assistance and support from the Minnesota Department of Education Voluntary Public School Choice Program.
Registration information is available at www.centerforschoolchange.org Participants will include Wehliye Scekomar, Marisa Gustafson, Joe Nathan all of whom have used some form of Dual Credit, and Sally Wherry, Minnesota Department of Education. They are pictured above, along with Robert Lowe of Normandale Community College. (photo by Jacqui McKenzie of MDE staff)
We will be discussing several free tools that can help families and students understand these dual credit options.
The first is an interactive map answering questions parents, students and other family members have asked over the last several years. This Minnesota map allows you to click on each public or private non-profit college or university in the state. You’ll learn:
- which institutions offer Post Secondary Enrollment Options courses
- whether the institution accepts credit for Dual High School/College Credit courses such as AP, IB, College in the Schools, Concurrent Enrollment, and “CLEP” – a test that determines whether students have mastered college level material.
Because credit policies vary, the map also provides links to the colleges’ or universities’ websites. The websites explain each institution’s policies on various Dual Credit options. For example, some colleges limit the number of credits they will accept. Some award credit for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate only to students who achieve a certain score on the final examination. This can help students decide which Dual Credit programs they will enroll in, and where they will apply after high school graduation.
The map was created primarily by Jordan Lim, a sophomore at Macalester College who served as an intern at the Center for School Change (CSC), where I work. CSC staff member Marisa Gustafson also helped. The map is on CSC’s home page, www.centerforschoolchange.org
The CSC website also hosts seventeen, 90-second to three-minute You-Tube videos, in which students explain the value of various forms of Dual Credit. These videos are in English, Arabic, Hmong, Karen, Somali and Spanish. Students at Neighborhood House, Migizi Communications and High School for Recording Arts designed and developed the videos. PACER did another video showing a young man on the autism spectrum who used PSEO. Funding for these videos came from you – taxpayers – via the Minnesota Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.
The Minnesota Department of Education and CSC will present several free webinars in June for the community discussing Dual Enrollment and answering questions. Registration information is on our website, www.centerforschoolchange.org.
The Minnesota Department of Education has created another free resource, providing district-by-district data about use of various Dual Enrollment options. Their “Rigorous Course Taking” report is available at http://education.state.mn.us/MDLegisRepE/Welcome/Legis//index.html.
The report also shows how much each district in the state received, of the more than $4 million available, to help train teachers for either AP or IB courses. MDE also shares good news – the number of students participating in these courses has grown steadily over the last five years. The number of students taking AP, for example, has increased from 23,164 to 37,363. PSEO participants increased from 5,852 to 6,353.
Many young people are ready for additional challenge while in high school. Whether it’s an academic class or an applied career-tech course, Minnesota is among the nation’s leaders in recognizing this, and allowing high school students to earn college credit. Students can save thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars and be better prepared for college and career, by taking these courses.
Joe Nathan, formerly a public school teacher and administrator, directs the Center for School Change. Reactions welcome, firstname.lastname@example.org