Minnesota State Colleges and Universities - Post-Secondary Enrollment Options

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Post-Secondary Enrollment Options

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system remains firmly committed to helping Minnesota's secondary students prepare for and successfully make the transition to college, regardless of when that transition begins. The Minnesota Legislature created Post-Secondary Enrollment Options programs in 1985 to promote rigorous course taking and improve student transitions to postsecondary education.

In 2011, nearly 25,000 high school students earned college credits from the system's 31 colleges and universities. System leaders believe PSEO is a valuable and effective way to enhance student learning, and they are working with P-12 and higher education partners to support and enhance the quality of PSEO teaching and learning. PSEO and similar programs benefit students in Minnesota and nationally, research shows. Compared to peers who did not participate in dual credit programs, PSEO students:

  • Have higher rates of enrolling in a college or university after high school graduation,
  • Have lower rates of required remediation and
  • Have higher rates of earning postsecondary degrees.

Students from nearly every public high school in Minnesota earn credits at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Through PSEO, students may take courses on a college or university campus or, where available, at their high school. PSEO courses taught in high schools are commonly called concurrent enrollment courses. High school students may take online courses offered by the state colleges and universities.

PSEO eligibility requirements

Students need to meet prerequisite requirements for the course. The college or university makes the final determination on a student's readiness.

  • High school seniors must be in the upper one-half of their class or score at or above the 50th percentile on the ACT or SAT.
  • Juniors must be in the upper one-third of their class or score at or above the 70th percentile on a test, such as the ACT or SAT.
  • Sophomores may enroll in a career or technical education course at a MnSCU college or university if they have attained a passing score or met the 8th grade standard on the 8th grade Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment in reading and meet other course prerequisites or course enrollment standards established by the college. These standards include but are not limited to assessment test scores, program admission or other requirements.
  • If a sophomore receives a grade of C or better in the course, the student shall be allowed to take additional career or technical education courses in subsequent terms.
  • A student who first enrolls under this provision while in 10th grade and wishes to enroll in general education courses as an 11th or 12th grade student must take the system Assessment for Course Placement and achieve the required scores prior to enrollment.
  • Campuses may require eligible 10th grade PSEO students who wish to enroll in a career and technical course to meet with a college counselor or advisor.
  • Colleges and universities may admit students based on other documentation of ability to perform college-level work.

If a concurrent enrollment course cannot be filled with eligible 11th and 12th grade students, a 9th or 10th grade student may be able to enroll in that course if:

  • The college or university president approves;
  • The student has a score at or above the 90th percentile on a national test, such as ACT or SAT or ranks in the upper one-tenth of their class or has a favorable recommendation from a designated high school official to enroll in the course; and
  • The student meets the prerequisite requirements of the course as determined by the college or university.

Caveat for students

There is a risk for students in this program. If a class required for high school graduation is not successfully completed, the student may not be able to graduate with his or her class, and a grade will be recorded on a permanent college or university transcript.

Tuition and fees are paid by the state

Tuition, fees and books for PSEO students who earn dual credits are paid by the Minnesota Department of Education to the colleges and universities in which PSEO students are enrolled. The formula is established in statute.

Professional growth for high school teachers

High school and college or university instructors build collegial relationships through periodic communications and develop a shared understanding of college and work readiness. The system is working to expand and enhance professional development opportunities for concurrent enrollment teachers and mentors to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.