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Saving money on college, extreme edition

Many people who attend college will be saddled with large debts and unmarketable degrees. One Minnesota man, though has found one way around it: Load up on college classes while still in high school.

The Northfield News reports on one local resident who has earned a high school diploma and a college diploma in the same year. David Greer used Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) a program under which high-school students can take college classes free of charge. Greer also earned college credits through CLEP. 

School districts face incentives to not fully inform students about PSEO, as they lose some money whenever a student shifts enrollment from the district to the college. Colleges, for their part, have an incentive to tell high-school students about the financial savings — free money for college! — but have been prohibited by state law, in what some people call a gag rule. Why? Consider this: School districts are loathe to lose “their” money to colleges. (The district loses some money when a student enrolls at a college.) It appears that the gag rule was removed during this last legislative session. That’s a boost for students. Arguably, it’s a good thing for taxpayers, too. I haven’t seen a financial analysis of this, but I suspect that it’s a case of money being diverted from one institution (high school) to another (college), with minimal increase in exposure for the taxpayer. If it helps students complete college without more debt, so much the better.

Oh yes, there’s something else that should be mentioned about this story: Greer has been homeschooled, which means that for much of his schooling he drew nothing from the public fisc at all. In other words, homeschooling benefits the public treasury.