Monday, April 2, 2012

Post Secondary Enrollment Act...What are the basics?

The public school districts in Iowa are required to have information available to students and parents on the Post Secondary Enrollment Options Act.  This is an opportunity that is taken advantage of each school year by over 6,000 students in our state.  Information can be located at the Iowa Department website  Using the A-Z Index link, click on the letter “S” and then find the subject heading “Senior Year Plus.”  That link will take you to information on PSEO.  The school district guidance office will also have information.  Basic foundational information is provided in this article.

What is the purpose of the PSEO Act?  Promote rigorous academic pursuits and to provide a wider variety of options to high school students.

When was the PSEO Act first established? 1987

Who is eligible for taking PSEO classes?  The program allows all 11th and 12th grade students as well as 9th and 10th grade students, identified as gifted and talented by the local district, to enroll in college courses.

Who pays for PSEO classes?  The school district pays the eligible postsecondary institution for the cost of the course (tuition and books) OR $250, whichever amount is lower.  The only cost to the student may be a possible equipment purchase (such as a calculator for a math class).

When would the student be responsible for paying for the PSEO course?  Only if the student fails to complete the course and is not eligible for a waiver OR if the student chooses to take a class during the summer term would the student or the parent be required to pay for a PSEO course.

What courses are eligible PSEO courses?  If a comparable course is NOT offered at the respective school district a student may enroll in it.  Courses offered at a PSEO institution or via ICN or distance learning are eligible courses.  Courses in all disciplines and vocational/technical courses are eligible.

How does a PSEO course impact the high school grade/credit? Successful completion of the course generates high school credit and applies toward district subject area and graduation requirements. Usually PSEO courses do not impact high school GPA but are recorded as Pass/Fail on a student’s report card to reflect a credit earned or not earned.

Are home-school students eligible?  Yes, providing the student is dual enrolled and the resident district does not offer a comparable course.

Can post secondary institutions place restrictions on courses high school students take under the PSEO Act?  Yes, in short, there may be standards required, such as prerequisite courses or evaluation procedures to determine competency.

What paperwork is required to participate in PSEO?  The school district has a process in place for a respective semester that a student wishes to take a PSEO class.  Usually a form of “intent” is required as is an application to the post secondary institution. There is typically a “window” of time to notify the district of the intent to participate in PSEO in a respective semester.

Is the high school district required to provide transportation to a PSEO class?  No.  

What are some major benefits experienced by taking a PSEO class in high school?  A few of the major benefits include earning college credits, exploring possible courses of career interest, getting a “leg up” on general education college credits, beginning the transition to college and getting used to different expectations, saving several hundred dollars on college credits because the school pays the bill, earning additional high school credits, a wider variety of course options while in high school, and the risk factor to your high school transcript is low (typically only impacts GPA if the course of failed).

16 Iowa Department of Education

Senior Year Plus uid Page 17

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