Dual enrollment provides high school students the opportunity to take college courses while in high school, and research suggests that participation could increase the likelihood that students will attend and graduate from college. Another recent study, following more than 30,000 Texas high school graduates, adds to a growing body of research that supports dual enrollment as a powerful connector of high school and postsecondary education.
For six years, Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit organization helping align education with high-demand careers, followed the 2004 Texas high school graduates. Half of the students had participated in dual enrollment opportunities while in high school, and the other half had not.
The findings from the Texas study are powerful:
- College Entry and Persistence: Dual enrollment students were more than twice as likely to enroll in a Texas two-year or four-year college. They were twice as likely to return for a second year of college.
- College Completion: Dual enrollment students were nearly twice as likely to earn an Associate degree or higher within six years of graduating high school. This held true for all racial groups and for students from low-income families.
Jobs for the Future recommends that policymakers expand dual enrollment opportunities for students. State policy should ensure support and policies to support low-income and underrepresented students in participating in dual enrollment.
Through programs of study that strategically connect secondary education with postsecondary and workforce options, Career Technical Education (CTE) widely supports student participation in dual enrollment programs as a research-based path to postsecondary credential and degree completion.
Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager