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Price hike for high schools offering college courses draws criticism

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A price hike for high schools offering college courses is drawing criticism from some school leaders.

Campuses in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system currently charge districts varying fees to cover the cost of course administration and faculty advisers for high school teachers.

Under the new plan, two-year colleges will charge high schools $3,000 per course, and four-year schools will charge $3,300 per course with the option to increase fees for classes over 30 students. That's a doubling of fees at four of MnSCU's programs.

A group of advocacy organizations and school leaders protested the changes in a recent letter to MnSCU. 

"This may not make all that much of a difference if they can seat 30 students, let's say, in a class," said Malik Bush of the Center for School Change. "But for small districts and charter schools this is a huge difference and may make it so they can't offer certain course." 

MnSCU Vice Chancellor Ron Anderson says costs for the courses are outstripping revenue at some colleges and universities, so campuses need the increase.

"It makes good sense for what we need to do so that we can really develop the programs and grow them the way that we need to without having to subsidize them and take away from other educational opportunities," Anderson said.

The new fees will be phased in starting in fiscal year 2018.