Frequently Asked Questions about Minnesota Online Learning (OLL)

  • Is online learning open to all Minnesota K-12 students?
    The statute allows a public school student residing in Minnesota to apply to a certified online learning provider to enroll in full-time or part-time online learning at no cost to the student. 

    Minnesota Statutes section 124D.095 Subd 3a, articulates the following online learning enrollment parameters:  A student age 17 or younger must have the written consent of a parent or guardian to apply.  No school district or charter school may prohibit a student from applying to enroll in online learning. An online learning student may enroll during a single school year in a maximum of 12 semester-long courses or their equivalent delivered by an online learning provider in a comprehensive program or through supplemental online learning up to 50 percent of the student’s full schedule of courses per term at their enrolling district. A student may exceed the supplemental OLL registration limit if the enrolling district grants permission for additional supplemental OLL enrollment or if there is an agreement between the enrolling district and the OLL provider for these instructional services. 

    Students who are ineligible for public funding for online learning include nonpublic school students, students taking summer classes, students enrolling in classes above full-time status (e.g., credit recovery) and students who are not physically located in Minnesota.  Students may enroll on a tuition basis with an online learning provider if they are ineligible for state public school funding or do not qualify for another public school program.

    How many courses can a student take through a certified online learning program?  
    Supplemental online learning, defined as an online course taken in place of a course period during the regular school day at a local district school, may not exceed 50 percent of the student’s full schedule of courses per term at their enrolling district. A student may exceed the supplemental OLL registration limit if the enrolling district grants permission for supplemental OLL enrollment above the limit, or if an agreement is made between the enrolling district and the OLL provider for instructional services. 

    Students that enroll in a full-time program (open enroll or transfer to a charter school) will take all of their classes and receive all student services through the online school in which they’ve enrolled. They will receive a high school diploma from this online learning public school.

    Where can I find a list of online learning programs in Minnesota for K-12 students?  
    There are two Websites that provide information about public school online learning in Minnesota:
    • The Minnesota Department of Education Website has a list of providers and other information about online learning: > academic excellence > school choice > public school choice > online learning
    • The ISEEK Website offers information about Minnesota education, careers, employment and business information has a searchable database and information about online learning: > K-12 online learning courses

    Can a student participate in online learning courses beyond being a full-time student?
    Yes. Students can participate at their own expense or at the district’s expense, but they will not generate additional funding for the school district.  

    The enrolling (resident) district may reduce the instructional contact time of an online learning student in proportion to the number of online learning courses the student takes from an online learning provider that is not the enrolling district (M.S. § 124D.095 subd 3d). The statute states that enrollment in additional courses, beyond full-time status, with the online learning provider is permitted under a separate agreement that includes terms for payment of any tuition or course fees. (M.S. § 124D.095 subd 4b3).  A public school student must first be offered a reduction of instructional contact time in the enrolling district so that full-time status is not exceeded.  If a student/family elects not to reduce instructional contact time to within full-time enrollment, then payment of tuition is allowable.

    What school is responsible for comprehensive student enrollment when a student registers for online learning classes outside of their enrolling (local) school?  
    There are comprehensive online learning programs that provide grade level advancement and grant high school diplomas and others that provide supplemental online learning instruction (grade level progression and comprehensive student enrollment is maintained at the local school).  Certain certified OLL programs offer both comprehensive and supplemental enrollment options. 

    The student and family determine which school (local or online) the student will be enrolled in as a full-time, comprehensive student.  Continued enrollment in the local (enrolling) school requires that all grade level and graduation requirements are met at that district, OLL courses are transferred in, and the enrolling school continues to provide non-academic services.  A student may access supplemental instruction through online learning up to 50 percent of the student’s full schedule of courses per term at their enrolling district and remain enrolled in their local school.

    Are there deadlines for student application to online learning and notifications to students and resident districts?
    Part-time, Supplemental Online Learning. In order that a student may enroll in online learning, the student and student’s parents must submit an application to the online learning provider and identify the reason for enrolling in online learning.  The online learning provider that accepts a student under this section must, within 10 days, notify the student and the enrolling district in writing if the enrolling district is not the online learning provider. The student and family must notify the online learning provider of their intent to enroll in online learning within 10 days of acceptance, at which time the student and parent must sign a statement of assurance that they have reviewed the online course or program and understand the expectations of online learning enrollment. The online learning provider must notify the enrolling district of the student’s enrollment in online learning in writing on a form provided by MDE (OLL Supplemental Notice of Student Enrollment Form).

    Supplemental online learning notification to the enrolling district must include the courses or program, credits to be awarded, the start date of online enrollment, and confirmation that the courses will meet the student’s graduation plan.  A student may enroll in supplemental online learning courses up to the midpoint of the enrolling district’s term. The enrolling district may waive this requirement for special circumstances and upon acceptance by the online provider.   (M.S. § 124D.095 Subd 3 a and b). 

    Full-time or Comprehensive Online Learning. Students may apply for full-time enrollment in an approved online learning program through open enrollment, agreement between school boards or to an online charter school following enrollment procedures and timelines in Minnesota Statutes § 124D.03 (Enrollment Options), Minnesota Statutes § 124D.08 (School Boards' Approval To Enroll In Nonresident District.) or Minnesota Statute $ 124D.10 (Charter School).

    How does the student get access to necessary technology for online learning?
    An online learning student has the same access to the computer hardware and education software available in a school as all other students in the enrolling district.   

    An online learning provider must assist an online learning student whose family qualifies for the education tax credit under section 290.0674 to acquire computer hardware and educational software for online learning purposes (M.S. 124D.095 Subd 4c). 

    Online learning programs may provide computer hardware, educational software and stipends for Internet services to enrolled students.

    Can home school or nonpublic school students participate in online learning from a certified provider and generate state funding for online learning?
    The Omnibus Education Bill (2005) changed funding for online learning such that Minnesota nonpublic school students must become full-time public school students to be eligible to generate funding for OLL courses.  If you have specific questions relating to funding, please contact Sharon Peck at 651-582-8811 or e-mail

    Nonpublic school students (home and private school students) can generate funding through the shared-time aid law (M.S. § 126 subd. c19), but the students must participate in core curriculum from a public school building. Therefore, nonpublic school students can generate shared-time aid for online learning only for the number of hours they access the course from a computer in a public school building.

    Do teachers of online courses need to be licensed in Minnesota?
    Yes. A teacher who is properly licensed in Minnesota and highly qualified must assemble and deliver instruction to online learning students enrolled in certified programs.  The delivery of instruction occurs when the student interacts with the computer or the teacher and receives ongoing assistance and assessment of learning.  The instruction may include curriculum developed by persons other than a teacher with a Minnesota license.

    Is there a limit on the number of students enrolling in a single course or program?
    Unless the commissioner grants a waiver, a teacher providing online learning instruction must not instruct more than 40 students in any one online learning course or program.

    Can an online learning provider limit enrollment?
    An online learning provider may limit enrollment if the provider’s school board or board of directors adopts by resolution specific standards for accepting or rejecting students’ applications.   

    The Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) Model Policy 624 provides a summary of the statute as it relates to online learning enrollment for review or approval by school districts.  MSBA members can access policies through the following Website:  

    The law specifically states that no school district or charter school may prohibit a student from applying to enroll in online learning (M.S. § 124D.095 subd 3a).

    Can a student participate in extracurricular activities as an online learning student?
    Yes, a student can participate at their local district of enrollment when they enroll in supplemental online learning classes. 

    When a student enrolls in a full-time online learning program, they should contact that school’s coordinator to see what arrangements can be made for extracurricular activities based on rules established by the Minnesota State High School League.