Every year thousands of students across Minnesota participate in college level courses taught in their high school through concurrent enrollment arrangements between their school and a Minnesota college or university. In 2020, 30,000 of Minnesota’s high school students received 194,207 college credits at no cost to students and their families: over $50 Million in savings annually.
Concurrent enrollment depends on a pipeline of qualified high school instructors. LCSC partnered with Minnesota State University Moorhead in an innovative credentialing program, 18 Online, that is now available to teachers statewide. With funding from the Legislature, 800 high school educators have maintained or gained credentialing to teach college courses in the high school at no cost to them or their school district. LCSC Executive Director Jeremy Kovash did the math, “If concurrent enrollment educators only teach one course per school year, with just 25 students per year (very conservative estimates), our Minnesota students and families save $18 million annually. The $3 million legislative investment to fund the partnership has created $18 million/year in savings.”
When 18 Online was created in 2016, Minnesota’s high school instructors were projected to be short approximately 15,000 of the credits needed to maintain their credentialing to teach concurrent courses. In just four years 10,000 of those credits in a dozen high-need subject areas have been completed by teachers in over 250 of Minnesota’s school districts, while also paying for their necessary books, supplies, and continued course development.
Fergus Falls Secondary School Principal Dean Monke shares the impact the program has had on his staff and the need for it to continue; “I know many of my teachers that have made a commitment to the program and are very willing to challenge themselves and devote the time necessary, but the financial burden of full-graduate tuition on top of their already busy schedules might be too much to allow them to be a part of this program, if the financial assistance 18 Online offers is no longer there.”
The 18 Online credentialling program has proven to be a valuable and timely investment in teachers and school districts that is paying off for Minnesota students and families.
The future of the program is dependent on additional funding from the Legislature. Allocations for the next three fiscal years toward the 18 Online program are included in both the House and Senate versions of the Omnibus Education bill, although the Senate version does not include funds to support the program. We invite you to show your support for 18 Online by letting your legislator know you support investing in teacher credentialling, so students continue to have the ability to take college credit in their best learning environment, their home district.
“This legislation will ensure Minnesota students can take the path that is best for them in high school and will ensure teachers are qualified to deliver lessons at the level required of them.” shares Representative Julie Sandstede.
Find your Representative here: LCC-GIS (leg.mn)View Minnesota Legislature's House Education Finance Committee's hearing that took place on March 4, 2021 here.