Post-Secondary Enrollment Options 101
The Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program allows high school juniors and seniors in Minnesota to take college classes and earn college credits. Some institutions allow high school sophomores to take one class in the fall and one class in the spring. In order to take college classes in their sophomore year, a student must take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment in 8th grade. This test must be arranged through the local school district.
As part of the PSEO program, tuition and books are paid for by the Minnesota Department of Education. According to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, during the 2016-2017 school year, 9,939 Minnesota high school students participated in PSEO by taking one or more courses at a post-secondary institution.
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.
If you have a teen who’s interested in the PSEO program, there are some things to consider. The program applies to Minnesota four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, and vocational/technical colleges. Participation in the PSEO program is optional for colleges, and admission criteria may vary.
It can be helpful to contact prospective colleges prior to your student’s junior year of high school. Some colleges have special testing requirements for homeschooled students, which can require some lead time. If you start early, you should be able to get all of the requirements taken care of before the PSEO application deadline. Applications are typically due for larger colleges in January and in spring or early summer for smaller institutions and community colleges.
Students may not need to take the ACT or SAT in order to apply for the PSEO program, but it is still valuable for them to take these exams for the purpose of applying for scholarships later. In addition, the PSAT is required for National Merit Scholarship eligibility, and students who take the ACT in 8th grade and receive a high enough score may also have special scholarship eligibility.
Students will need a high school transcript in order to apply for PSEO programs. If their current test scores are in the top 30%, the institution may/may not require additional testing. Most students will be required by the institution to take the ACCUPLACER exam after applying and before registering for classes.
It is important to be aware that if your student is planning to transfer from one college institution to another, not all college credits will transfer. As you make long-term plans for completing college, you may wish to speak with the admissions counselors at the college your student would eventually like to graduate from to find out what credits and how many they will transfer from other institutions.
For More Information
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 in-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 institutions you are considering.
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 17, simply to maintain that child’s eligibility for the PSEO program. The answer is “no” – the reporting requirements end at age 17, and reporting has no impact on PSEO eligibility.