Press Release

BREAKING: Minnesota pauses attack on faith-based education State will not exclude faith-based schools from high school college credit program during litigation

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON – The state of Minnesota promised today not to enforce a newly amended law that strips some faith-based schools of their ability to offer free college credits to high school students using the Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program. In Loe v. Walz, a group of Christian families and schools recently filed a lawsuit challenging an amendment to the program that excludes schools from participating if they require a statement of faith from students. Today, Minnesota agreed to a federal court order that bars state officials from enforcing the new law while the legal process is ongoing. Students across the state can now continue to learn at faith-based schools and join communities that uphold their beliefs.

Minnesota created the PSEO program nearly 40 years ago to encourage and enable high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit for free. Through this program, students have been able to attend any eligible school in the state, public or private. Melinda and Mark Loe and Dawn Erickson are parents in Minnesota whose older children have used PSEO funds at two outstanding Christian schools—the University of Northwestern – St. Paul and Crown College—that uphold their religious values. Their current high-school aged children hope to do the same, but last month Governor Tim Walz signed a bill into law that bans colleges like Northwestern and Crown from the program because they ask on-campus students to sign statements of faith in order to build Christian communities.

With Becket’s help, these families and schools challenged the law in federal court to stop Minnesota from punishing religious students and the faith-based schools they want to attend because they are religious. The Supreme Court has consistently and recently affirmed that public benefits that are open to private organizations cannot exclude organizations because they are religious.

Today, Minnesota’s attorney general saw the writing on the wall and agreed not to enforce the law while the case is ongoing. Minnesota schools now have the freedom to continue shaping their campus environments according to their religious beliefs, and students have the choice of an education that aligns with their beliefs.

Statements for media use:

Mark and Melinda Loe:

“We are glad that Minnesota has agreed not to punish our children and many students like them for wanting to learn at schools that reflect their values. They should be able to pursue the same great opportunities as all other students in the state without politicians in St. Paul getting in the way. We hope the court will eventually strike this law down for good and protect all religious students and the schools they want to attend.”

Corbin Hoornbeek, president at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul:

“The entire Northwestern community is grateful to continue to foster a Christ-centered community on campus that serves all our students, including our PSEO students. The state cannot single out schools such as Northwestern due to our campus culture and the integration of faith and learning. We hope the court will permanently recognize that and continue to permit us to help on-campus PSEO students flourish in their faith and education.”

Andrew Denton, president of Crown College:

“We are thankful that Crown can continue welcoming PSEO students who seek to join our Christian community and earn college credit without taking on debt. The law protects our current and future PSEO students’ ability to use PSEO funds at schools that reflect their beliefs and values. The state should never have singled us out for our faith. We remain steadfast in our commitment to upholding our mission of providing PSEO students a boldly Christian, biblically based education, and we are hopeful the court will permanently protect our faith-based culture and the students we serve.”

Diana Thomson, senior counsel at Becket:

“It’s not every day that a state asks a federal court to tie its hands to prevent it from enforcing its own anti-religious law—but Minnesota has done just that. As this effort to walk back demonstrates, the state didn’t do its homework before it passed this unconstitutional law. The next step is for the court to strike down this ban for good.”

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby at or 202-349-7219. Interviews can be arranged in English, Mandarin, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.