PSO & Joint Enrollment

"PSO" stands for Post Secondary Option. This refers to the program that allows high school students currently enrolled in Georgia public high schools to attend Georgia public colleges.

"Joint Enrollment," sometimes called "Dual Enrollment," refers to all other high school students, currently enrolled in home school or private school, who enroll in any college. For example, a home school high school student attending Oglethorpe, Brenau, Truitt McConnell, or other private college is considered a Joint Enrollment Student. A private high school student attending classes at Gainesville College or other public college is also a Joint Enrolled Student.

Many admissions officers refer to all high school students taking college classes as PSO students. You need to know to the difference, however, as it affects funding and, in some cases, admissions procedures.

Admissions Requirements

In general, Joint Enrollment students must have completed the following high school requirements before attempting college courses:

English 3 Credits
Math 3 Credits
Social Sciences (History) 3 Credits
Science 3 Credits
Foreign Language 2 Credits

Most institutions also have minimum SAT or ACT scores. Some require students to complete SAT II tests prior to admission into their Joint Enrollment program.

Some colleges do not have these course or test requirements. Others will allow students to take, for example, an English course if they have completed the English requirements even though they have not completed the others. Most colleges will not allow students to complete their fourth Science at the college; this must be completed in a high school (home school or other). Check with the school you are interested in having your child attend to find out about their Joint Enrollment requirements.

For most private colleges, the admissions procedures for Joint Enrollment students are identical for public school students, home school students, and private school students. They require only

  • A completed application
  • A transcript showing all classes taken in high school thus far
  • SAT or ACT test scores.

The transcript can be from a parent if home schooled or the school attended if a private or public high school. Some colleges also require a letter of recommendation from the student’s school. A parent would complete this letter for home school students.

In North Georgia, Truett McConnell, Brenau, Piedmont, and Toccoa Falls are all home school friendly and welcome home school students as joint enrollment students. Atlanta Christian College in the southern part of Atlanta is also home school friendly. Each of these schools allows qualified Joint Enrollment students to take as many classes as they can handle.

Oglethorpe also welcomes home school students, but they limit Joint Enrollment students to a maximum of classes. After this number of courses is met the student must either become a full-time college student or go somewhere else for classes.

I am sure there are other institutions that would welcome home school students. If there is a college or university near you, give them a call. They may not actively recruit home schoolers, but may be open to the idea.

For the Georgia public institutions, PSO students apply through their high school and all the paper work is done through the high school counselor’s office. Joint Enrollment students must complete an application to the institution and submit the application to the admissions office along with the following:

  1. Recommendation from the high school attended
  2. SAT or ACT test score report
  3. Official Permanent Transcript from the private school
  4. Letter from parents/guardian giving permission for student to attend

Home school students are currently not eligible for Joint Enrollment at some Georgia Public Colleges and Universities. Each public institution has its own policy regarding home school students. Check with the colleges for this information.


Funding for PSO students is different from that of Joint Enrolled students. PSO students receive a voucher from their high school to pay tuition. In essence, the state is paying for their tuition and taking it from the high school’s funds. They simply take the voucher to the college in payment of tuition and fees.

Joint Enrolled students, however, receive no state funding. Also, because they are not yet high school graduates, they are not eligible for the HOPE Scholarship. Classes taken as a Joint Enrollment student are not even eligible for the retroactive payments given many home school graduates. The HOPE Scholarship is for classes taken after high school graduation only. Joint Enrollment students are not eligible for most financial aid due to the fact that they are not high school graduates. There are privately funded scholarships available at some schools, however. Be sure to talk with the financial aid administrator at the college of your choice.

Transferring these credits to another institution

ne question many families have is "Will these credits taken as a Joint Enrollment student transfer to another college?" Maybe. Some colleges will transfer in all credits completed as a Joint Enrollment student; others will not transfer any. There are a number of possible outcomes of Joint Enrollment classes.

  1. The institution your child attends after high school graduation may accept all Joint Enrollmentcredits and allow them to fulfill degree requirements. This would mean the institution treats theJoint Enrollment credits as they would any credits taken on their campus.

    For example, an American History class taken at TMU may transfer to another college and fulfill their history requirement.

  2. An institution may not accept any of the Joint Enrollment credits your child has earned and require the student to repeat all college courses taken prior to high school graduation.

    As an example, Bob’s University may think it fine to take Joint Enrollment classes to further challenge a student. It shows the student is motivated but the courses do not count for much else as far as BU is concerned. They will not transfer any credits from Joint Enrollment classes; students must take all of their classes at Bob’s University in order to graduate from Bob’s University.

  3. Some institutions allow the credits completed prior to high school graduation to transfer, but they will count them as electives, not degree core requirements. This would mean the student would still need to complete all degree core requirements at the university of college, even those courses already taken as a Joint Enrollment student. The hours taken as Joint Enrollment would fulfill elective requirements for a degree.

    Ralph College may transfer in all twenty hours taken by Gertrude at Taccoa River University. These courses consist of history, English and math courses. Ralph College, however will consider these elective courses and require Gertrude to take all core English, history and math courses on their campus her freshman year.

  4. A university may transfer in courses such as two freshman English courses worth six hours and allow the student to go on to higher-level Literature courses. But if the degree chosen by the student requires nine hours of English, the student would still have to complete nine hours of English at that university. The English courses taken as a Joint Enrollment student would allow the student to skip the basic courses at the university, but would count as elective credits not core requirements. The student would still need to complete a minimum number of hours in that subject at the university.

    Frank took six hours of Grammar and Composition at Pedville College. He is attending Anita College after high school graduation. Anita College requires a minimum of nine hours of English for the philosophy degree Frank is working toward.

    Anita College will allow Frank to skip the two Grammar and Composition courses taken by most freshman and go straight into the Russian and Polish Literature courses Frank wants to take. (Grammar and Composition is a pre-requisite for these classes.) Even though the philosophy degree requires only nine hours of English and Frank already has six, he will need to take an additional nine hours at Anita College for his philosophy degree.

  5. Many colleges treat Joint Enrollment hours differently depending on the subject taken and the degree program the student pursues. Math credits may be treated differently than science credits.

This may be confusing, so I strongly suggest you speak with the admission office at the college you want your child to attend after graduation. They will be able to tell you how they will handle Joint Enrollment Credits.

The goal in this is not to get a jump on college credits – although that would be nice – but to get the best education we can for our children.

Joint Enrollment allows students to complete classes and learn subjects they might not otherwise learn in high school. They will be better prepared for more advanced college courses or even similar courses at a more demanding institution.

Taking a few courses on a college campus will be beneficial to our children. They will become acclimated to the college environment becoming familiar with things like add/drop, parking permits, students ID’s, etc. They will learn how to take good notes and what college classes can be like. Full-time college will not be nearly as intimidating if they have taken a few courses while living at home and still in high school.

One last note on Joint Enrollment:

Many high schools, both public and private, have begun to have college professors come to their buildings to teach college Joint Enrollment courses. This saves time and allows more students to participate in the Joint Enrollment program.

However, most of the private colleges we have spoken with will not transfer in credits taken at a high school. The schools we have dealt with believe that courses taught on the high school campus with only high school students is not the same as a course taught with the variety of students and student experiences one gets when the course is comprised of mostly college students and taught at the college campus.

The Association will serve and assist any home schooling family or support group in Georgia, however, GHEA is a Christian organization and the counsel and direction of the organization will be Christian.

GHEA • P.O. Box 229 • Snellville, GA 30078
Phone: (770) 461-3657