College in the Schools

College in the Schools (CIS) is an educational program for high school students run by the University of Minnesota. It allows students to take college level classes in their high school and, as a result, earn college and high school credit for free. The classes are taught by high school teachers who receive several weeks of additional training by the University of Minnesota. The curriculum is controlled by the University of Minnesota. More than 100 high schools in Minnesota participate in the program. Unlike programs such as Post Secondary Enrollment Options, the school district still receives funds from the state for students who enroll in the program. Many schools who do not offer Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes offer CIS.

The program was started in the 1986–1987 school year, at the same time as several other school choice programs were started in Minnesota such as Post Secondary Enrollment Options and open enrollment. Initially only literature and composition courses were offered but now 31 introductory courses are offered which are sponsored by four University of Minnesota colleges: University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development and University of Minnesota Institute of Technology.

Program Evaluation
Columbia University found that students who took dual enrollment courses in high school were more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college, as well as three years after high school graduation, students who had participated in dual enrollment courses in high school had earned higher college GPAs and more postsecondary credits than their peers.

Research shows that colleges and universities nationwide accept dual enrollment credits at almost the same rate as they accept AP scores, though it greatly depends on the institution from which the credit originated from. College in the Schools dual enrollment through the University of Minnesota is accepted almost universally coast-to-coast.

Once limited to high-achieving students, such programs, specifically College in the Schools, are increasingly seen as a means to support the postsecondary preparation of average-achieving students. CIS simulates a truer college experience, as unlike AP courses, students are already enrolled in a college institution and need only to earn a quality grade throughout the course, rather than the potential for college credit being based solely on the score of a cumulative final exam. The United States Department of Education recommends expanding accelerated learning options that offer true post-secondary course work so that students enter higher education with a minimum of six college credits already earned, as students who fail to earn 20 college credits by the end of their first year were less likely to graduate from college.

There is no charge to high school students attending U of M courses offered by CIS at their high school. The University of Minnesota-TC charges schools or districts tuition based on a per student, per course basis (not per credit). For the 2010–2011 school year, tuition is $145 per student, per course, and partial reimbursement for these costs is available to public high schools from the state. College in the Schools is significantly less expensive than the full tuition rate the school district or parent pays when a student enrolls full time PSEO or after graduation.