By Pauleen Le

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — By now, many high school seniors have already decided their plans for after graduation, but for other high schoolers the process may be just beginning.

If it’s college, chances are families are taking a hard look at the price of tuition because it keeps going up.

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According to U.S. News and World Report, in 2002 the average yearly tuition at a four-year public university was $3,738. In 2022, it is $11,631.

For a four-year private university, it was about $17,938 20 years ago. Today, it’s $43,775.

For those looking to save on college tuition, an important deadline to help offset some of that cost is coming up at the end of the month.

Post-Secondary Enrollment Options, or PSEO, is a dual-credit program that allows students to earn college credit tuition-free while they’re still in high school.

The program is different from Advanced Placement, or AP, classes in that there isn’t a test at the end of the semester that determines whether a student get the credit.

Students who apply and are accepted into the PSEO program can take classes at a college campus or online and if they pass, they get the credit. The tuition is free and so are the textbooks.

The program started in 1985 in Minnesota and it’s funded through the General Education Fund.

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On average, 10,500 students have enrolled in PSEO every year for the last several.

The free tuition is obviously the biggest draw but there are other benefits too.

“Not only does it give you college credit tuition free but it can provide you advanced standing based on where you decide to attend college after high school,” said Beth Barsness, PSEO and concurrent enrollment specialist at Minnesota’s Office of Career and College Success. “There’s a lot more people accessing it as it allows for a little bit of flexibility from the high school schedule and it allows students to take courses that aren’t necessarily offered in their school building,”

Students on average are earning 16.2 credits a year, but some finish their associate’s degree while still in high school, which roughly equates to two years of college classes.

PSEO is available at all Minnesota state colleges, community and technical colleges, the University of Minnesota, as well as some private universities.

The program is open to all public, private and home school students.

May 30 is the last day for public students to notify their school districts their plans to enroll in the PSEO program.

For more information on PSEO, click here.

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For more information on which college and universities accept PSEO students, click here.

Pauleen Le