M State's Concurrent Enrollment Program earns national accreditation
Minnesota State Community and Technical College has earned national accreditation for its Concurrent Enrollment Program, which each year benefits more than 1,600 area high school students by giving them a head start on their college education. M State was among the 15 colleges and universities that were awarded accreditation this month by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, the sole national accrediting agency that validates the quality of concurrent programs and works to advance the quality of college courses in high school. Megan Adamczyk, who manages M State’s collaborative programs with K-12 education, said M State partners with more than 120 college-approved high school teachers at over 35 regional high schools through its Concurrent Enrollment Program. The students who enroll earn college credits for college-level courses taught on high school campuses by qualified high school instructors. Last year, area high school students earned 13,800 M State credits that they could transfer to two- and four-year colleges and universities "Research shows that these credits give students a boost toward future college success,” M State Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Jill Abbott said. “Having an accredited program helps us to continue to provide options for students and families in the region, and we’re excited about that.” High school students pay for neither tuition nor books for their concurrent courses, potentially allowing them to save thousands of dollars in education expenses. “Accreditation by NACEP assures high school students that the courses they are taking are truly college-level,” Adamczyk said. “This is a reflection of the quality work that has been taking place in M State’s Concurrent Enrollment Program for decades.” Adamczyk said earning accreditation was a three-year process that required extensive self-study and detailed review of M State’s program, including evaluations by students who enrolled in concurrent courses. M State has offered concurrent enrollment courses since 1985, beginning on the Fergus Falls campus. Concurrent high school teachers are mentored by nearly 40 M State instructors who work with their high school colleagues to ensure the rigor of the concurrent courses. Abbott called NACEP accreditation a “significant reflection of the quality work and dedication of our staff, faculty and partner high schools.” M State has one of the largest concurrent programs among two-year colleges in Minnesota. NACEP also awarded accreditation this month to Minnesota West Community and Technical College. Of the 31 Minnesota state college and universities, 11 now have NACEP accreditation.