New 10th grade post secondary option ready for use
Center for School Change
People like Eric and Sam have great insights about free college courses via Post Secondary Enrollment Options. And now, the legislature has expanded PSEO to include 10th graders.
Responding to an earlier column, Eric wrote to the Forest Lake Times, “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, earned an (two-year college) associate’s degree in May and graduated from high school this month. “I saved literally tens of thousands of dollars by doing this and got a jump start.”
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.”
LeAnn Brown, director of admission at Anoka Technical College told me, “We feel very prepared for this group of students.” She said 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.
Tenth graders should register now for this fall. 10th graders who meet college expectations and have passed the state’s required 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.
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. Colleges will determine which vocational/career/technical courses are available for students.
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 more than 90% 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… dual enrollment may well be a strategy for encouraging postsecondary success among students not typically seen as college-bound…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.”
High school students helped the Center for School Change produce 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 titled “Jump.” Thanks to Minnesota Department of Education support, the videos are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Hmong and Somali www.centerforschoolchange.org/dual-credit/
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 young people save thousands of dollars in college costs.
Opportunities have expanded. That’s a great gift to students and the state.