Maine high school students are afforded the opportunity to participate in post-secondary programs under 20-A MRSA, Chapter 208-A. This statute details student eligibility requirements and proscribes the level of student participation as 6 credit hours per semester, not to exceed 12 credit hours per academic year.
As the second semester began, the Department received invoices from post-secondary institutions for students who had already met the 12 credit hours per academic year threshold. This notice is a reminder of the reasons that limiting the credit hours can be beneficial to students:
- Completing a high number of college courses while in high school can affect a student’s enrollment status in the first year of college with unintended consequences to federal financial aid, campus housing, academic standing, and scholarship eligibility. Career and technical programs, in a often have tight, sequential requirements in each semester: completing part of a semester of requirements can impact enrollment status (for example there are not enough remaining courses for a student to take to be full-time).
- Course requirements can differ from program to program and there is no guarantee that a course will transfer to the student’s college of choice. Therefore, a secondary student participating in the post-secondary enrollment program should receive guidance in the selection of post-secondary enrollment courses, giving consideration to the student’s intended program of study/career pathway. Students should choose intentionally and with the combined guidance of school counselors and advisors at the colleges and/or universities.
- Funds to support students enrolled in this program are limited by legislative appropriation and credit hour limits have been established in an effort to afford participate for as many students as possible within the limits of the appropriation.
As a reminder to Superintendents, Principals and Guidance Counselors, the responsibility to monitor student participation in post-secondary enrollment programs lies with the school administrative unit. Please be sure to verify student credit hours each semester, prior to approving a student to enroll in post-secondary courses.
Should you have questions or need clarification, please contact Stephanie Clark, Fiscal Review and Compliance Consultant for the Maine Department of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org