State leaders say dual-credit classes are "one way to expand college access to more students and reduce student loan debt," Magan writes. "In 2014, the majority of Minnesota college graduates had loans to repay with an average debt of $31,579. Lawmakers included funding increases for dual-credit courses in the current two-year state budget, including money to help instructors meet updated requirements."
Dual credit courses "allow students to earn high school and college credits at the same time and are increasingly popular, with nearly 25,000 high school students taking them in 2014—a 23 percent increase over five years," Magan writes. "Dual-credit classes also are seen as an important tool to increase the number of Minnesotans who have the postsecondary credentials to meet the workforce needs of the future." Malik Bush, co-director of the education advocate the Center for School Change, "said the proposed changes would disproportionately hurt first-time college students and students of color who already struggle to earn degrees." (Read more)