WACO, TX — Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college courses for credit that applies towards an associates or bachelor's degree.
Benefits of DE programs include financial savings, an increased likelihood to be enrolled full-time in college, better grades, and a faster and more successful graduation rate.
Allowing high school students to participate in these programs prepares them for the transition into college, giving them an idea of the bigger picture behind their learning, and can even improve association with Career–Technical Pathways, according to a study by Columbia University's Community College Research Center.
Programs like dual enrollment being less accessible for students from low-income housing and rural areas are a concern for educational institutions, as lower income and lower achieving students that do actually participate in dual enrollment are associated with higher college enrollment and GPA's, according to Columbia University's CCRC study.
Especially since college attendance rates for students from rural areas are lower than students in non-rural areas, according to a 2016 study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Columbia University's CCRC study lists eliminating restrictive eligibility requirements, expanding outreach to areas with marginalized populations, and introducing dual enrollment as a rewarding addition to school curriculum, as some of the ways state educational institutions and schools can make dual enrollment programs more accessible.
These dual credit program roadblocks include their policies, required qualifications, and limited course availability to student enrollment.
Since students are being graded at the college level, these grades can determine admittance into a four-year college or university. And, policies can restrict parent access to information on their child's enrolled courses and on their performance; however, FERPA or parental access waivers may allow students to grant their parents access to this information.
Eligibility requirements can include grades from previous course work and a student's score on assessments such as the SAT or ACT to determine whether a they qualify for dual credit classes, according to the Texas Education Agency.
The number of courses students take are limited to two per semester, with few exceptions, according to the Texas Education Agency. Students also have to be sure the courses they are taking will apply to their major or program once they begin their college career; high school students in some cases may not be ready to decide on a major or area of focus at the sophomore to senior level.
Many state education agencies now identify dual enrollment access as a strategic priority for various student populations, according to the Institute for Education Sciences.
For more information or data on Texas' dual credit programs you can visit the Texas Education Agency's website.