Career and College Readiness

Inside Concurrent Enrollment

By September 23, 2015 No Comments

Minnesota’s growing concurrent enrollment (dual-credit) programs for high school students to earn college credit while attending high school is being threatened by recent actions of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Commission is proposing new credentialing requirements for Minnesota’s secondary teachers to teach these college courses under the auspices of a college or university.

Thanks to the work and advocacy of MREA and others, a hearing has been set for Oct. 8. Learn more about the details below.

Concurrent Enrollment Legislative Summary

PSEO Legislative Brief

HLC’s October 2015 Revised Qualified Faculty Guidelines

Minnesota was the first to begin PSEO and for 30 years has had concurrent enrollment with the state’s flagship University of Minnesota’s College in the Schools (CIS) program. Minnesota has seen dual credit classes help address achievement gaps, as shown by this chart on participation.

The Response

MREA worked with the Center for School Change and Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) to create a broad coalition of school, business and public officials to protest this change and propose a Minnesota alternative for credentialing high school teachers to teach dual-credit courses. MREA worked successfully with these two education organizations in the 2015 legislature to advocate for an increase of $4.6 million in funding for concurrent enrollment and to strengthen local control over which students can enroll in dual credit courses. Why Minnesota Needs to Lead the Charge.

How big a problem will this be? In 31 Greater Minnesota districts that responded to a recent survey by MASA, 193 high school licensed teachers are teaching concurrent enrollment courses. Only 33 teachers, or 17 percent, currently meet the HLC standard.

A tsunami of protest and media attention led Senator Terri Bonoff and Rep. Bud Nornes, Chairs of the Minnesota Senate and House Higher Education Committees, to send a joint letter inviting the HLC to a legislative joint committee meeting to explain their decision, their rationale, and allowable exemptions.

A variety of organizations and individuals have shared their support for challenging the Commission’s decision, including a formal statement by the  the Deputy Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers:

“Every student deserves a high-quality teacher, whether in K-12 or the higher education setting. Yet a great teacher is defined by more than course requirements. That is why we will work with our state members to urge the Higher Learning Commission to reconsider its new requirements that will negatively affect high school teachers who teach dual-credit courses. Dual-credit courses provide a valuable pathway for students who want to pursue post-secondary education and minimize the costs of higher education as much as possible. We must work together to foster more dual credit courses, instead of creating barriers to these opportunities.” 

Response from MREA Members

Southwest Minnesota State University Letter to High School Principals

Center for School Change Research Summary on Concurrent Enrollment

2013 Concurrent Enrollment National Descriptive Report

REL Midwest Reference Desk Dual Enrollment in Rural Settings

MREA Request to Delay HLC Additional Credentialing Standards

Read Responses to Concurrent Enrollment Changes from Across Minnesota

Next Step

MREA encourages you to keep raising your voices and share concerns with members of the P-20 Partnership and the Minnesota Congressional delegation. Minnesota’s students need the P-20 Partnership to speak for the state on this issue to the HLC and to U.S. Congress, from which the HLC gains its authority to make accreditation rules.


Thursday, October 8, 20151 pm
Joint Meeting: Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development; House Committee on Higher Education Policy and Finance
Chairs: Sen. Terri E. Bonoff, Rep. Bud Nornes
Location: Basement State Office Bldg.

The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Clarification of Faculty Roles and Qualifications
  • Concurrent Enrollment in Minnesota

Send requests to testify to*:

Dave Kornecki, Committee Administrator
Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee
Office of Senator Terri Bonoff, Chair
(651) 296-5538

*If you plan to testify, please email Fred Nolan, MREA Executive Director, at