History of PSEO
Minnesota was the first state in the nation to allow high school students to dual enroll in public and private colleges/universities and high school at the same time, simultaneously earning high school credit and free college credit, with state funds following students, paying all tuition, book and required fees. In 1985, a diverse coalition helped to pass Minnesota’s Postsecondary Enrollment Options program (PSEO). Initially, the law allowed participation only for high school juniors and seniors.
When proposed, PSEO was controversial, though it generated bi-partisan support led by DFL Governor Rudy Perpich, Minnesota House Majority Leader Connie Levi, Republican, and Senate Education Committee Chair Tom Nelson, DFL. Former Minnesota Governor Al Quie, a Republican, also became a strong, visible advocate (Mazzoni).
Today, Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students to earn college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college-level courses. With traditional PSEO, these courses are generally offered on the campus of the postsecondary institution; some courses are offered online. Postsecondary institutions are not allowed to charge PSEO students for tuition, textbooks or support services. Students may be charged for equipment that becomes their property when the course or program is completed.
Most PSEO courses are only open to high school students during their 11th- and 12th-grade year, with each participating college and university setting their own requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses and programs. Students may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis.
Many two- and four-year colleges and universities in Minnesota offer online courses and some of them offer online degrees and certificates. Through the wide array of online courses offered in Minnesota higher education, it is possible for PSEO students in our state to complete the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum requirements and/or other courses that could result in an award in addition to their high school diploma. School districts must allow a PSEO student reasonable access to the high school building, computers and/or other technology resources during regular school hours to participate in PSEO courses, whether on-line or on campus.
By March 1 of each year, a district must provide up-to-date information on the district's website, and in materials that are distributed to parents and students, about the program--including information about enrollment requirements and the ability to earn postsecondary credit--to all pupils in grades 8, 9, 10, and 11.
Students must meet the PSEO eligibility requirements and abide by participation limits. However, if a school district determines a pupil is not on track to graduate, she/he may still continue to participate in PSEO.
For more information about PSEO and how to apply please visit the Minnesota Department of Education
"As a graduate of the PSEO Program I can honestly say that participating is one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made, and I would encourage every student to participate in this program, as the rewards are immeasurable."
— Aaliyah Hodge, PSEO Alum