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For-profit college seeks access to Florida dual enrollment program



Ever since taking over Rasmussen College's Land O'Lakes campus, former Pasco County high school principal Steve Knobl has looked for ways to attract more students to his doors.

Over the past several months, he's talked with Pasco school district officials about getting juniors and seniors from nearby Sunlake High School to participate in Rasmussen's early honors program. The teens would take one college course per quarter at no charge, with the district covering the instructional materials costs.

Knobl envisioned the process working withing Florida's dual enrollment model. That's where students substitute state college or university courses for high school classes, free of charge to the students.

There's a sticking point, though, and it's in state law. For-profit colleges that are not accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools are not eligible to participate in dual enrollment.

"We're handcuffing parents and kids," said Knobl, who's begun lobbying state Sen. John Legg to rewrite the rules.

Legg, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said for-profits have floated this idea for the past couple of years, primarily in the Florida House. He did not discount the concept, but said he suspected if dual enrollment were to expand, the state's independent non-profit schools would be next in line to participate.

St. Leo University, also in Pasco County, has asked to get into the system as well, he said. The for-profits, some of which have been blasted for predatory admission and lending practices, would be the last layer, he said.

"I don't see it happening this year," Legg said. "I can't say it will never happen."

Knobl remained hopeful that his efforts will pay off at some point, saying the real benefactors will be the students who otherwise might not be able to get to college.

[Last modified: Friday, October 16, 2015 11:25am]


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