Will 'PSEO' programs be left behind?

  • Updated: January 9, 2012 - 9:50 PM

 

With a swell of programs offered in high schools, fewer students are traveling to college campuses for class.

Enrollment in the state's Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program, known as PSEO, dropped by 4 percent between 2005-06 and 2010-11, according to the Center for School Change report. That might partly be because when a high schooler enrolls in PSEO, the college -- rather than the district -- gets most of the state funding tied to that student.

"If you're taking what are arguably your best students, if they're migrating out of your institution to go to another one, you'd like to find a way to have that be minimized," said Larry Litecky, interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Several students who chose the college campus option said they wanted greater freedom.

"In high school, it felt like you were being babysat all day," said Andrew Sampson, who did PSEO at Normandale Community College full-time during his junior and senior years.

His parents pushed him, he said. "My dad has been eyeballing PSEO since I was in sixth grade, it seemed," Sampson said. "It saved a lot of money, especially nowadays, with college being so expensive."

He shaved almost two years off his nursing degree, worked as a nursing station technician as a student and nabbed a job as a registered nurse at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital in May, straight out of school.

Sampson is 20 years old, unable to join his co-workers for happy hour.

He laughed: "Everybody on my floor calls me the baby."

JENNA ROSS

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