As the coronavirus continues to insert uncertainty and anxiety into the 2020-21 academic year, an increasing number of families and students are looking for innovative options to keep their children engaged in learning this fall. Applications to homeschool since 2019, for example, have increased anywhere from 20 percent in Nebraska to 75 percent in Vermont
The move toward alternative models has raised questions about equity, however.
TEL Education, a nonprofit organization specializing in online courses for high school students, aims to fulfill families’ desires for new educational models while ensuring all students have access to those options at an affordable price. Founded in 2015, TEL offers online courses that deliver college credit for high school students at about $66 per credit hour – compared to $125 to $150 at community colleges, $350 at four-year public institutions, and $1,200 at a four-year private college or university. The courses are available to students in any setting, traditional high school, homeschool, or micro-school.
With a grant from the Charles Koch Institute, TEL will expand its current offerings and has launched its Micro-Collegiate Academy, an affordable, turnkey solution that allows micro-schools, homeschool co-ops, and other organizations to offer a collegiate academy experience for students in grades 9-12. The scaffolded curriculum will prepare students for college-level studies and the program’s flexible sequencing will enable students and parents to take ownership of the learning process.
With dual enrollment courses and the ability to earn an associate degree while completing high school requirements, students also will be able to get started on the next phase of their educational career while learning from home this year.
The Micro-Collegiate Academy is available this fall through select virtual high school partners in Texas and Oklahoma. TEL is partnering with Epic Charter in Oklahoma and Responsive Ed in Texas to offer their courses to all virtual charter students in those states this fall. These schools provide individual families and micro-schools a high school curriculum and instructional support along with comprehensive collegiate academy experience.
The college-credit courses for the Micro-Collegiate Academy will be provided under the direction of York College, a four-year, private, regionally accredited college located in York, Nebraska that is one of the 19 institutions that currently partner with TEL.
“TEL’s approach disrupts the dual enrollment market. Most programs are costly and constrained by geographic access to a partner college. TEL’s online coursework breaks that barrier,” said Charles Koch Institute Executive Director Derek Johnson. “We are excited to continue our partnership and to support Micro-Collegiate Academy, which will provide another affordable option to families, along with a high-quality, rigorous curriculum.”
Registration for the program begins Sept. 8 and extends through Oct. 12. Learn more here.