Skip to main content

New regulations jeopardize free college credit classes offered in high schools

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Thousands of Minnesota high school students have been able to lower the skyrocketing cost of college by taking classes in their high schools that allow them to earn college credit for free.

Some of those classes, known as College in the Schools, may be threatened. New standards would bar many teachers who have been working as instructors in the classes, which allow students to simultaneously accumulate high school and college credit at no charge. Without teachers, the school districts would struggle to offer the option.

The Pioneer Press reports that the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is changing the standards that qualify teachers. The HLC accredits nearly 1,000 colleges and universities in 19 Midwestern states including 114 in Minnesota, where 24,731 students took dual-credit classes in 2014.

The courses are monitored by local universities or colleges. The Legislature approved more than $4 million this year to expand dual-enrollment classes.

The Star Tribune's story explained that the new policy would require teachers to hold a master’s degree or graduate-level credits in the subjects they teach, making hundreds of them ineligible to teach college-level high school classes.

Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius told the Pioneer Press this could make it more difficult for school district's to find qualified teachers.

Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change, also objected to the change. “We are talking about cutting off the program completely or spending millions on trying to get teachers in compliance,” Nathan told the Star Tribune.

The dual-credit classes have been a boon to poor, minority and first-generation college students by exposing them to college. The Rochester Post-Bulletin added that the regulations would disproportionately hurt smaller, more rural districts that don't have a college nearby for students who want to take college classes through the Post Secondary Enrollment Option.

"We're frantically working with our staff to come up with a solution for this," said Jeff Elstad, superintendent of schools in the Byron district. HLC President Barbara Gellman-Danley said the new standards are meant to ensure that dual-credit courses are taught at the highest level.

The new standards are set to go into place in 2017. Cassellius said that's not enough time for hundreds of teachers who've been involved in the program to get the tougher credentials.

“I just don’t know how our more experienced teachers are going to be able to afford it,” she said.

The HLC's Gellman-Danley disagreed, saying there's time to comply with the new rules, adding that the HLC can grant a two-year extension, if necessary.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Former state senator Scott Jensen endorsed by GOP for governor

Jensen beat to multiple other hopefuls for the endorsement at Saturday's convention.

storm

NWS already monitoring Thursday for severe weather in MN

Monday-Wednesday should be fantastic weather in Minnesota.

MissingMankatoWomanSideBySide

Body of missing Mankato woman believed to have been found

A canoer found the body in a swamp near Eagle Lake Friday.

kim crockett facebook sos

MN GOP endorses attorney general, secretary of state candidates

Kim Crockett was endorsed as the party's candidate for secretary of state, while Jim Schultz won the endorsement for attorney general.

FSmb9kkWAB0UBqk

Volunteer firefighter identified as man killed during Thursday storms

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office confirmed that 63-year-old Ryan Erickson died when a grain bin fell on him.

Juan Ramos, standing outside of his Taco Chon Mexican Grill, in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Firm takes on case defending Taco Chon against Taco John's lawsuit

The local Mexican restaurant is fighting a case presented by Taco John's over naming rights, among other things.

Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 7.32.27 AM

Worker killed in skid loader accident was 23-year-old apprentice lineman

Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative called the incident "the unthinkable."

Cascade River 1

Raging North Shore rivers overtake bridges, snap trees in half

Pedestrian bridges near the Lutsen Resort have been damaged by the vast river flow.

u.s. attorney's office

St. Paul man sentenced for 2021 robbery spree

Warren Dean, 27, admitted to robbing seven St. Paul businesses in a span of three days.

Related