Dual enrollment programs
- Allows students to take for-credit college classes while still in high school
- Helps prepare students for the academic and social challenges of undergraduate education
- Aim to increase college enrollment and overall degree attainment
- Some programs offer tuition discounts, reducing barriers to post-secondary education
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse
High school-aged children
Outcomes and impact
- Increased degree attainment
- Increased college enrollment
- Increased credit accumulation
- Increased high school completion
Keys to successful implementation
- Partner with high schools, as well as two- and four-year colleges, to identify and evaluate appropriate, rigorous courses for program participants to accumulate college-level credits.
- Conduct broad, widespread recruitment efforts, encouraging students of all backgrounds and most levels of academic achievement to apply.
- Collaborate with state and local leaders to ensure that both the high schools and colleges offering program courses receive funding for a student’s enrollment, thus creating a more sustainable program over the long term.
- When resources allow, incorporate on-site college courses taught by a university instructor, rather than a college-level course designed for high school students, into program.
- Incorporate traditional college preparation services into the program, such as admissions and financial aid application assistance.
- Prioritize offering courses that clearly apply to a postsecondary course of study leading to a degree or credential, including university core requirements like English and math, as well as career and technical training.
- Consider developing incentive programs for schools or districts that have high participation rates in dual enrollment programs, such as recognizing the achievement or offering some form of reward.