The state’s “Course Choice” program in which universities, community colleges and private businesses can receive state money for offering college prep and career-training classes to public school students statewide is moving forward with 72 applicants that will be further evaluated before the process is finalized in December.

According to a release from the state Department of Education, the 72 Course Choice applications cover a wide variety of additional course options for high school students outside of their respective schools, including Advanced Placement, career and technical education, industry-based certification, dual enrollment and internships and apprentices.

The new program, started this year under the education reform package crafted by Gov. Bobby Jindal, allows the state to fund tuition for private course providers, though providers receive half of the approved tuition when a student starts the course and the other half upon the students’ successful completion of the class:
The second round of evaluation includes a background check, a more rigorous review of each applicant’s course offerings, interviews by a panel of Department content experts, and follow-up due diligence.  Applicants designated to “Proceed” after the Interview process will face a third evaluation round by a panel of independent experts.  In December, the Department will recommend applicants to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), which will make final decisions on approval of courses and course providers.  In January, students will be able to review the course catalogue.  Starting in March, students will be able to enroll in courses for the 2013-2014 school year.

There are provisions in the statute to pay less than the remaining 50 percent if the student completes the course late.  Course providers will receive no part of the second payment if a student fails to complete a course.

BESE will authorize Course Choice providers for three-year terms, re-authorizing only those that demonstrate high levels of student achievement.   
View the list of applicants moving forward here.

Read more on the Course Choice program here.

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