Even with state funding for post-secondary students, Miami University’s budget takes a small hit while picking up the rest of the cost.
Post-secondary students are high school students who enroll with an average of seven credit hours per semester on top of high school coursework.
Miami began accepting post-secondary students in 1991, with a group of 105 students taking classes on all three Miami campuses.
By the 2007-08 school year, that number grew to 469 students.
Colleges and universities are required to provide funding for post-secondary students by a 1989 law mandated by the Ohio General Assembly.
Cheryl Young, director of Lifelong Learning, said the state returns a portion of the direct costs to Miami, leaving the university to foot the rest.
During the 2007-08 school year, the program cost more than $128,000, said David Creamer, vice president of finance and business services.
He added that the Oxford campus received about $43,000 from the State of Ohio under the post-secondary enrollment program.
According to Creamer, the money spent on post-secondary students does not pose a threat to finances allotted for other students.
“The assumption is that there is no negative impact to other students,” Creamer said.
Creamer said post-secondary students actually bring in revenue, filling seats in classes that otherwise might have remained empty.
The university also works, Young said, to ensure post-secondary costs don’t climb too high. Since the university is required to provide the students with any necessary supplies, administrators monitor what courses post-secondary students are allowed to take.
“So, for example, we would not put an art course that requires a lot of art supplies on the list of courses allowed,” Young said.
Creamer said the process of providing post-secondary students with books is a bit different than what regular students go through every semester.
“It’s almost like a rent-a-book program with a very modest pricing difference,” Creamer said.
Young also said if post-secondary students end up taking a full course load at both their high school and Miami, the university would not be reimbursed.
“Each student is only allowed to take the equivalent of a full-time course load,” she said. “This is the high school plus college courses combined can only equal a regular full-time equivalent load.”
While studying at a university, post-secondary students cannot live on campus or be involved in any campus organization. The program was only offered to high school juniors and seniors at first, but opened to all high school grade levels in 1998.
“We still do not see many freshman and sophomore level students, but they can apply,” Young said.
First-year communications major Stacie Testaguzza took post-secondary classes at Ohio Dominican University starting her freshman year of high school, which allowed her to graduate high school a year early. Now in her first semester at Miami, Testaguzza said she has enough credits to be at sophomore status.
“I encourage people to do it,” Testaguzza said. “I loved it, I had a lot of friends.”
Sophomore diplomacy and foreign affairs major Dasha O’Leary took nine credits of post-secondary classes during her senior year of high school at the University of Toledo.
“(Post-secondary is) an amazing program for those students who can handle the situation properly,” O’Leary said. “I’d recommend it to anyone whose AP classes were just too easy for them, needed to earn free credits because of financial situations or ease into college gradually.”