Many of our members’ teenagers participate in Minnesota’s Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program.
The PSEO program allows Minnesota high school juniors and seniors to take college classes and earn college credits. Tuition and books are paid for by the Minnesota Department of Education. According to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, in the 2010-11 school year, 8,261 Minnesota high school students participated in PSEO by taking one or more courses at a postsecondary institution. Of these, 1,476 were home-schooled students. Nearly one-quarter, or 2,585 attended college full-time.
Our member families have generally found the PSEO program easy to access and use. Most colleges are eager to have self-directed homeschooled students, and many of them have separate instructions and assistance for homeschoolers applying to their programs. The enabling legislation for the PSEO program is quite lengthy and is not typically an issue for PSEO students, but if you’re so inclined, you can read the entire statute at Minn. Stat. 124D.09.
If you have a teen who’s interested in the PSEO program, there are some things to consider. The program applies to four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, and vocational/technical colleges. Participation in the PSEO program is optional for colleges – they don’t have to take any PSEO students at all. Colleges that do participate in the program set their own admission criteria. While the admission standards may be slightly lower for PSEO students than they will be for incoming college freshman at that school, your teen should not take the PSEO admission process lightly.
It’s very helpful to contact prospective colleges at least a year before your teen reaches the junior year in high school. Some colleges have special testing requirements for homeschooled students, which can require substantial lead time. If you start early, you should be able to get all of the requirements taken care of well before the PSEO application deadline set by the college you’re interested in.
A Helpful Link
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) maintains a very thorough site regarding PSEO features and requirements. Please note that the program and admission specifics on this site apply only to state institutions. This is a good place to start for general information about PSEO, but you should still be sure to call or write for specifics from the actual institution(s) you are considering.
A Common Question
A number of homeschooling parents have asked if they need to continue to report their child to the school district even after the child reaches the age of 16, simply to maintain that child’s eligibility for the PSEO program. The answer is “no” – the reporting requirements end at age 16, and reporting has no impact on PSEO eligibility.
Real-Life PSEO Stories
Here is a collection of stories written by parents or students who had first-hand experience with the Minnesota PSEO program. Some of the stories are from several years ago, but while some of the logistical details may have changed, the heart of what mattered to the parents and the students in making the PSEO decision is universal.
Father and son write from their unique individual perspectives:
- PSEO: Our Family’s Experience (Andy’s dad’s story)
This thoughtful article by an MHA dad gives an overview of the PSEO program and describes the process his family went through when guiding his son down the PSEO path.
- Andy’s story
Andy took classes on a part-time basis through PSEO at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus.
Additional student stories representing viewpoints from different types of college experiences:
- Anja’s story
Anya took an online PSEO class through the University of Minnesota at Morris.
- Casey’s story
Casey attended Century College – a community and technical college – on a full-time basis under the PSEO program.
- Trevor’s story
Trevor took PSEO classes at Normandale Community College on a part-time basis.