Bill expands PSEO for home-school, private school students

A bill heard this week would allow home-schooled or non-public school 10th grade students taking career and technical classes to take advantage of the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program. The state would be required to pay for the expansion, which could cost around $10,000 annually.

PSEO was implemented in Minnesota in the 1990s, and, along with concurrent enrollment programs, is vastly popular with students and parents. Approximately 10,000 students participated in PSEO during the 2017-18 school year. Of that amount, 27% were home-schooled/non-public school students.

However, the program has its downside. In the 2017-18 school year, PSEO diverted $32.7 million away from school districts to cover the costs of PSEO at higher education institutions across the state. This bill would add to that and allow more public dollars to be used to support private school and home-schooled students.

Of the $32 million in PSEO costs spent in 2017-18, about $8.6 million is paid on behalf of non-public and home-schooled students. The University of Northwestern had the highest amount paid to it at $4.76 million or about 14% of the total PSEO funds paid out in 2017-18. (S.F. 94)