Chase Eskelsen M.Ed., Owner, Fersken Education LLC

Chase Eskelsen M.Ed. is an educator of more than 15 years with experience in digital education ranging from full-time online school administration to launching hybrid schools as the COO of an education nonprofit.  In between the full-time online schools and the hybrid schools, he worked in academic policy and government affairs, effectively fighting for good student-centered accountability and against bad education legislation. After seeing the benefit of a digital educational backbone bringing the very best of digital learning and partnering that with the very best of an in-person experience, he decided to launch his own educational firm to support new, innovative school options as they launch hybrid programs.  He is also very involved in parent advocacy, where he believes that parents know their kids better than any policymaker or politician ever will and because of that, parents should have the right to enroll their kids in the best school for their family.  He also hosts the FerskenED Edupreneur Mastermind, where he supports education entrepreneurship for new business owners in their first three years.


In the dynamic landscape of modern education, the transformative wave of online learning is not only reshaping traditional classroom models but also providing smaller and lesser-known colleges with a unique opportunity to reimagine their academic strategies. As these institutions navigate the challenges of tight budgets and increased competition, the integration of virtual learning initiatives becomes imperative for their sustainability. Small colleges, often overshadowed by larger counterparts, must strategically consider how they can harness the potential of online education to not only enhance the quality of their offerings but also to bolster their financial standing.

In this context, the exploration of partnerships with high schools for dual credit programs emerges as an avenue for revenue generation. For these colleges, the incorporation of virtual learning not only aligns with contemporary educational trends but also presents a viable pathway to tap into additional revenue streams. Furthermore, as the educational landscape evolves, the prudent consideration of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and 529 plans becomes crucial, offering both financial support for students and a means for colleges to navigate the complexities of funding. This confluence of virtual learning, intentional partnerships, and financial innovations provides smaller colleges with a roadmap for resilience and growth in an ever-changing educational environment.  There are 4 boring but expected benefits and two exciting and innovative benefits that colleges and smaller universities should consider.

4 Expected Benefits

  • Expanded Reach and Recruitment Opportunities: Partnering with K-12 schools to offer dual credit courses allows colleges to reach a broader audience of prospective students. By engaging with high school students early on, colleges can establish a connection and cultivate a pool of potential future applicants.
  • Enhanced Academic Preparedness: Dual credit programs provide college-bound high school students with a head start on their academic journey. This early exposure to college-level coursework not only prepares students for the rigor of higher education but also contributes to increased retention rates as students enter college with a solid academic foundation.
  • Diversification of Revenue Streams: Collaborating with K-12 schools to offer dual credit courses represents a tactical move for colleges to diversify their revenue streams. As these programs attract more students, they can generate additional income for the institution, helping to offset the financial challenges that many higher education institutions face.
  • Alignment with Workforce Needs: By engaging with K-12 schools, colleges can tailor dual credit offerings to align with industry needs and workforce demands. This collaboration allows higher education institutions to play a proactive role in preparing students for careers in emerging fields, fostering an interdependent relationship between education and industry.

2 Innovative Ideas

  • Adaptation to Evolving Education Policies: The landscape of education policies is constantly evolving, and colleges need to stay nimble to navigate these changes. The advent of the ESA policy allows colleges new avenues for financial support. By staying informed and strategically integrating these updates into their programs, colleges can harness additional resources to support their initiatives.
  • Capitalizing on Private High School Partnerships: Beyond the realm of public education, the potential for revenue generation and collaboration extends to private high schools. Smaller colleges can intentionally explore partnerships with private institutions, leveraging the unique offerings each brings to the table. Private high schools often have more flexibility in curriculum design and can tailor programs to align seamlessly with college-level courses. In states where ESAs are available, this partnership takes on added significance. By tapping into ESA dollars, colleges can attract students currently enrolled in private high schools, creating a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Private schools benefit from offering their students advanced courses with potential college credit, while colleges gain access to a pool of students with dedicated funding through ESAs. This symbiotic relationship not only opens up new avenues for revenue but also establishes a collaborative bridge between private high schools and smaller colleges, creating a win-win scenario in the ever-evolving landscape of virtual education.

These considerations are not just theoretical musings; they stem from vibrant discussions within the FerskenED Edupreneur Mastermind. Within this dynamic community of education entrepreneurs, the value of forging collaborations between higher education institutions and K-12 schools has been a recurrent theme. Members of the mastermind have explored the intricacies of implementing dual credit programs and delved into the nuances of adapting to evolving education policies, such as updates to ESAs and 529 plans. The collective wisdom and diverse experiences shared within the Edupreneur Mastermind enrich these insights, offering a practical perspective on how education entrepreneurs in the K-16 space can navigate the ever-evolving landscape successfully. The FerskenED Edupreneur Mastermind stands as a testament to the power of shared knowledge and calculated partnerships in driving innovation within the education sector.

In conclusion, the rise of online learning brings exciting opportunities for higher education institutions to forge meaningful partnerships with K-12 schools and offer dual credit programs. By embracing these collaborations and staying attuned to policy updates, colleges can position themselves at the forefront of innovation, ensuring a brighter future for both their institutions and the students they serve.

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