College In Schools program may be at risk


Noah Johnson, Distribution Reporter

Students across Minnesota may not be able to get free credits for college anymore, since the College in School program throughout Minnesota has the possibility of shutting down. The College in Schools program has many factors to it possibly being shut down. These factors consist of new teaching requirements and costs to run the program in schools rising. In some ways these may or may not affect Stillwater Area High School.

A group called the Higher Learning Commission has qualifications that need to be required to run these College in school programs, and they are starting to heighten teaching requirements. One of the new teaching requirements will require teachers to have a Master’s degree to teach the college in school classes, which may be a problem for CIS Anatomy & Physiology teacher Doug Long.

Long said, “I don’t have a Master’s degree in Anatomy and Physiology, and according to the higher learning commission anybody who teaches the subject in this class at the college level should have a Master’s degree in that subject area. I do not have one, but I have had a lot of course work and I have taught this class for over 20 years.” Long may likely still have the experience to keep his CIS position. He has taught the CIS program for around 20 years. Officials unveiled a plan that they hope will soften the impact of the change.

Long said, “Higher learning commission is saying you either need to get your Master’s or you need to get some equivalent training that would show you are able to teach the CIS course. They’re applying for a five-year waiver to give teachers until 2022 to earn graduate degrees. They’re also exploring other options, such as team-teaching and granting credit for real-world experience.

The other factor that may affect the CIS program is the increasing prices. Money is an issue for all schools because Minnesota State Colleges and Universities are gradually increasing the prices to run these college classes in the school. The colleges that provide the classes to teach have doubled the price to run the program in the last year according to the Star Tribune.

Principal Robert Bach said, “The cost of the program could be an issue if those fees double. We always need to monitor costs associated with our programs.”

This cost change may not be a problem for SAHS because they receive college courses from the University of Minnesota. The University of Minnesota isn’t part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, but cost may still be a problem as more and more students take CIS classes.

Long added, “The high school has to pay the University of Minnesota $150 per student. This becomes expensive; I have 60 kids in my CIS class that equates to $9000 the school has to pay.”

The level of information that you learn are pretty in detail about a lot of things as opposed to just hitting some of the surface stuff that you would in a regular class.”

— Anna Duerr

If the CIS program were to get cut, both teachers and students will be affected negatively. For CIS teachers, they will be unable to attend seasonal meetings in which they collaborate with other teachers to generate ideas how to teach these subjects. For students, they will be losing opportunities to earn free college credits and learning opportunities.

Junior CIS student Anna Duerr said, “The level of information that you learn are pretty in detail about a lot of things as opposed to just hitting some of the surface stuff that you would in a regular class.”

The CIS program is a program that helps students and staff. Outlying factors may prevent this program from running at SAHS but is still unlikely it will be shut down. This will affect students and staff at negatively if it does in fact happen.

Bach added, “The program is of great benefit to students so I hope that it would be a non-issue.”