Concurrent Enrollment at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
by Silence Dogood

It is quite clear that some administrators and politicians do not want to publically talk about Concurrent Enrollment (CE), which is a program where students get both high school and college credit for their high school courses. In some ways, as more information comes out, CE has become like the alcoholic uncle that everyone in the family knows about but no one wants to admit knowing.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) is the subject of this article simply because it was possible to obtain their data for concurrent enrollment. There may be more egregious examples but the data is not as readily available.

According to MnSCU records, in FY2014 FDLTCC has ‘partnered’ with at least fifteen different high schools to provide college credit for high school classes:

The numbers after the name of the high school are the distances from FDLTCC and the high school according to Google Maps. The schools with mileages in black are certainly within easy driving distance and could afford a faculty member from FDLTCC to visit the high school or the students in the high school to visit FDLTCC. The numbers in red are all the schools that are 145 miles or farther away from FDLTCC. I would really like to understand how someone could mentor a high school teacher that is more than a 290 mile round trip away from the school’s campus. At these kinds of distances, the high school students will never have the opportunity to visit the college’s campus.

Certainly, the ‘times they are a changing’ and with technology we might expect some help in this regard. However, there are at least 26 MnSCU colleges and universities (out of 31) that are closer to Fulda High School than FDLTCC. In fact, if you were to drive from Fulda to Cloquet, you would drive right past Southwest State University’s campus in Marshall, which is only 47 miles away from Fulda High School instead of 307 miles. So, the choice of FDLTCC as a partner with Fulda is certainly something that might need to be explained. Additionally, Rocori High School in Cold Spring, which is also partnered with FDLTCC, is only 18.1 miles away from St. Cloud State University instead of 145 miles.

When you look at the enrollment numbers it becomes even more bizarre! MnSCU lists the headcount enrollment of FDLTCC as 2,423 in FY2015. Out of that enrollment, 1,395 are students receiving college credit for their high school classes as part of CE or who are taking advantage of Post Secondary Education Opportunities (PSEO) by taking classes directly at the FDLTCC campus. As a result, the data clearly shows that 55.3% of the headcount enrollment at FDLTCC is due to high school students. At FDLTCC in FY14, the CE program generated 414 FYE and the PSEO program generated 39 FYE. As a result, the breakdown between CE and PSEO typically shows that the vast majority of students are in the CE program. Most of the CE students also never set foot on the FDLTCC campus, especially when you consider nearly half of the high schools are more than 145 miles away!

It’s difficult to believe than anyone actually predicted this kind of outcome when the Minnesota Legislature passed the legislation back in 1995. It’s also harder to believe that anyone thinks that this trend is academically responsible.

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3 Responses to “Accountability and Concurrent Enrollment”

  • Rex Newman says:

    I remember MnScu used to be a roster of 35+ member colleges. Poking around now I see a short list, most with multiple campuses and “learning centers” like all these high schools. And of course, they now report enrollment as a whole, like 5000 or so for the “Minnesota West Community and Technical College” comprising 5 campuses and 4 learning centers in SW Minnesota.

    Am I correct, that there is some “enrollment inflation” being done here via reorganization here?

  • Silence Dogood says:

    MnSCU (now Minnesota State) consists of 31 institutions (24 community and technical colleges and 7 universities). There are a total 54 campuses. When MnSCU was created, several campuses merged their administrations but I’m not sure if any campuses actually closed. I’m not sure if there is an enrollment inflation or not. However, it is clear that many of the MnSCU schools now serve a very large number of high school students. Without those high school students, enrollment numbers would probably require some of these schools to consider closing.

  • Reader3 says:

    There hasn’t been approved name change, yet.

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