Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act

For Iowa High School Students

from the Iowa Department of Education, April 1995

Recommended responses to questions relating to the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act (PSEOA)

The Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act is intended to promote rigorous academic pursuits and to provides wider variety of options to high school students by enabling ninth through twelfth grade students to enroll part time in nonsectarian courses in eligible postsecondary institutions of higher learning in Iowa. A ninth or tenth grade student who is identified as a gifted and talented student according to the school district's criteria and procedures may now participate under this Act.

The specific purposes of this act are to:

1. Promote rigorous academic pursuits; and 2. Provide a wide variety of options for students.

The following information is intended to respond to questions that high school students and their parents or guardians may have concerning the opportunities provided by this act and the requirements for participation.

1. Which students are eligible to participate in this act?

Students in the eleventh and twelfth grade in public and nonpublic schools. Ninth and tenth grade students who are identified as a gifted and talented student according to the school district's criteria and procedures (Iowa Code section 257.43) are eligible to enroll under this Act.

2. May a student enroll full-time under this act in a postsecondary educational institution?

No, the student must enroll part-time and no more than part-time in the eligible postsecondary education institution. A "part-time" enrollment at an eligible postsecondary education institution" is defined according to the policies of the institution.

3. What is the maximum amount of time a student may enroll in a postsecondary educational institution under this act?

A student may enroll part-time in an eligible postsecondary education institution for no more than four semester terms or six quarter terms, unless they are identified as a gifted and talented ninth or tenth grade student.

4. May a student enroll in a summer session under this act?

Yes, students who are eligible for summer enrollment of up to seven earned semester hours of credit if they have completed the eleventh grade but have not yet completed the requirements for graduation, and if the student pays the cost of attendance of these summer credit hours.

5. What postsecondary educational institutions may a student enroll in under this act?

The three state universities, the fifteen public community colleges, and the accredited private institution as defined in Iowa Code, section 261-9 (5), are eligible to participate in the Iowa Tuition Grant Program. (See attached list of eligible postsecondary institutions.)

6. Must a student meet entrance requirements at the eligible postsecondary education institution?

Yes, each eligible postsecondary education institution may require students to meet appropriate entrance requirements. (Except for "high school graduation.")

7. What priority will high school students have when attempting to enroll in courses in eligible postsecondary education institutions?

Eligible postsecondary institutions may give priority to postsecondary students but once a high school student is enrolled under this act the high school student may not be displaced to allow postsecondary students to enroll.

8. May a student enroll for "audit" under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

No, the student must take the course for credit.

9. May a student enroll in an eligible postsecondary education institution under this act if a comparable course is offered by the high school district in which the pupil is enrolled?

No, students may not enroll in a course in an eligible postsecondary education institution if a comparable course is available in the local school district which is defined in rules adopted by the board of directors of the public school district.

10. May a student enroll in a sectarian course under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

No, a student may enroll under this act in an eligible postsecondary educational institutions only in nonsectarian courses that are not confined to or affiliated with any specific religion.

11. Will a school district provide students information about this act?

School districts have a duty to inform students of the availability of the opportunity provided by this act.

12. What is the cost to a student for enrolling in a course under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

There will be no charge to the student for tuition, textbooks, materials or fees. However, a student may be required to purchase equipment that becomes the property of the student. The act provides that the school district shall pay a tuition reimbursement amount to the postsecondary institution that has enrolled the student.

13. Who furnishes the transportation for a student who is attending a course under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

The parent or guardian of the student is responsible for furnishing transportation to and from the eligible postsecondary education institution under the act.

14. What must a student do to enroll in a course under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

The student must inform the school district of the intent to participate under the act. The student must apply at the eligible postsecondary education institution and meet the requirements of the institution. The student must sign a statement indicating the student and parent or guardian have received information about the act, from the school district. If a student is 18 or older, only the student's signature is required.

15. What must the local school district do before the student is eligible to enroll in a course under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

The school district must certify to the postsecondary institution the eligibility of the student to participate under the act.

16. What must the eligible postsecondary education institution do before a student may enroll in a course under this act?

The eligible postsecondary education institution must send a notice that the student is accepted to the student, the local school district, and the Department of Education. This notice must identify the courses, the clock hours of attendance and the number of hours of postsecondary academic credit.

17. What credit will a student receive in the local school district for enrolling in a course under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

The local school district will determine the number of high school credits to be granted for the course. Credit given shall count toward applicable graduation requirements of the local school district.

18. Are courses taken under this act at an eligible postsecondary education institute included on the student's high school transcript?

Yes, evidence of successful completion of each course and high school credits and postsecondary academic credits received shall be included in the student's high school transcript.

19. Will the student receive postsecondary credit for a course completed under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

The student will have earned postsecondary credit at the eligible postsecondary education institution. Other postsecondary education institutions may, consistent with credit transfer policies, award postsecondary credit for any courses taken under this act.

20. What courses are eligible for a student to enroll in under this act in an eligible postsecondary education institution?

  • Nonsectarian courses. (Courses that are not confined to or affiliated with any specific religion)
  • Courses that are not comparable to courses offered by the local school district.
  • Credit-bearing courses that lead to an educational degree.
  • Courses in the disciplines of mathematics, science, social sciences, humanities, vocational-technical education and courses in career option programs offered by public area colleges.

21. Courses in what subject matter areas seem appropriate for students to enroll in under this act?

Courses in such subject matter areas as the following are appropriate for students to enroll in under the act: Literature, foreign languages, philosophy, civilizations, and history (including courses in music and art that include a component of history) anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology biology, botany, chemistry, geology, physics, and zoology vocational-technical education courses computer science, mathematical sciences, and statistics

22. When will this opportunity to enroll under this act terminate?

The Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act does not have a termination date and will remain effective until such time as the General Assembly decides otherwise.

23. When must an eligible postsecondary education institution claim payment for students attending under this act?

By May 1 of each calendar year, eligible postsecondary education institutions shall send to the local school district a request for payment. A pupil attending an accredited non- public school shall be counted as a shared-time student in the school district in which the non- public school of attendance is located. This request shall identify the students, courses, credits, and charges.

24. When must a local school district pay an eligible postsecondary education institution for students enrolling under this act?

A school district shall pay the eligible postsecondary education institution no later than June 30 of each year a tuition fee reimbursement for students enrolling under this act.

25. What tuition is authorized to be paid by local school districts to eligible postsecondary education institutions for students enrolling under this act?

The amount of tuition reimbursement for each separate course shall equal the lesser of:

The actual and customary cost of tuition, textbooks, materials, and fees directly related to the course taken by the eligible student;

or

Two hundred fifty dollars.

26. May public community colleges receive state aid for students enrolled under this act?

Yes, the contact hours of a student for which a tuition reimbursement amount is received are contact hours eligible for general aid under Iowa Code, Chapter 260C.23(2).

27. May funds from allowable growth funded gifted education programs be used to pay for a portion of the costs of students enrolling under this Act?

School districts with allowable growth funded gifted education programs may use portions of those funds to pay the cost of tuition, textbooks and fees for resident eligible students enrolled under this Act, provided: that the school district's allowable growth funded gifted education program includes the grade levels in which the resident eligible students are enrolled; and that the resident eligible students have been identified for participation in that gifted program using an identification procedure approved as part of the program.

28. May school districts claim supplementary weighting under the provision of Section 442.39, subsection 2, Iowa Code, for students enrolled under this act?

No, students enrolling under this act enroll under their own initiative and not through an approved agreement between the local school district and the area college.

29. May students enroll under this act in courses that are offered in the evening?

Students may enroll in evening courses. Evening courses may actually be one of the best opportunities for many students since attending an evening course would afford more time for travel to and from the course

30. Are school districts required to pay tuition to a postsecondary educational institution if a student enrolled in a course under this act withdraws from the course?

No, the failure of a pupil to complete and receive credit for an enrolled course requires the pupil, if over eighteen years of age, to reimburse the school district for the cost of the enrolled course. The pupil's parent, guardian, or custodian shall sign the student registration form, if the pupil asunder eighteen years of age, indicating that they assume all responsibilities for costs directly related to the incomplete and non-credit course work. A waiver verification is available from the area education agency to the pupils, pupils 'parents, guardians or legal custodians citing reasons for the inability of the pupil to complete the course work. An eligible postsecondary institution shall make pro-rata adjustments to tuition reimbursement amounts based upon federal guidelines established pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1091b.

31. May a student enroll under this act in a correspondence course offered by a postsecondary educational institution?

There is nothing in the act that would prohibit a student from enrolling in an appropriate correspondence course.

32. May a local school district request a copy of the grades earned by a student enrolled under this act?

Yes, a school district shall request that a student enrolled under this act provide a copy of the grades earned. To facilitate the release of grade reports, the school district may wish to include a statement authorizing the release of grade reports at the time the school district certifies the eligibility of the student participate under this act.

The release of student grades requires authorization by the parent if the student is below the age of 18 or by the student if the student is 18 or over.

33. Is a local school district financially responsible for payment under this act if a student enrolls in an eligible postsecondary institution but does not notify the local school district?

No, the local school district is not financially responsible under the act. The administrative rules for the act (281--22.3) require that the student must inform the local school district of the intent to participate under the act.

34. If students enroll in college credit courses under the Postsecondary Enrollment Option Act, does this enrollment reduce their years of eligibility for college athletic competition?

Representatives of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) indicated that eligibility is not affected until the student has enrolled full-time in a postsecondary educational institution. Students and parents seeking a definitive eligibility ruling regarding an individual student should contact directly the representative of the appropriate athletic association.

35. Can I take a course online?

Yes. Please visit the Online and Distance Learning website to gain an understanding of online courses at Iowa State.