Improving Minnesota’s Dual Enrollment Funding Model: Reflections and Recommendations from the Field

Funding Models / Research /

Minnesota has the nation’s oldest state policy architecture supporting college in high school programs like dual enrollment and early college, beginning with the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program that was created in 1985. For over 35 years, Minnesota’s college courses have been free to high school students through PSEO and Concurrent Enrollment programs.

These investments have allowed thousands of Minnesota high school students every year to get a jumpstart on college. However, in recent years, attention has turned towards disparities in access to college in high school programs as a serious concern for policymakers. Particularly given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers are seeking research-backed interventions that will increase students’ ability to access college and succeed in college. Dual enrollment is one such intervention, with a lengthy research record showing its benefits for many students. However, nationwide and in Minnesota, there are significant access gaps that need to be addressed.

The causes of these access gaps are many, and vary state to state. A number of comprehensive recommendations for improving access to college coursetaking in high school for more students have been advanced by Minnesota state agencies and nonprofits. It is essential for the state to take a comprehensive look at how it can solve access and success challenges for dual enrollment.