Dual Enrollment Improves Student Success

Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to try college courses. Tuition is discounted and sometimes free. Sometimes called early college access, these programs provide an opportunity for students to try college courses while still in the secure high school environment.

In general, students who take advantage of dual enrollment programs are:

  • Better prepared for college, both academically and socially;
  • Able to obtain college credit at discounted tuition rates;
  • More likely to obtain certifications and/or licenses for career advancement;
  • More likely to complete college; and
  • Able to save anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars when transferring community college credits to the same degree program at any 4-year institution.

Some of the best news is that early college access programs can benefit the majority of high school students, not just those who excel academically.

In fact, there is a growing body of research that shows early college access programs can be especially beneficial to students who:

  • Have lower high school grade point averages (GPAs);
  • Are not native English-speakers; and
  • Are from ethnic and economic groups historically underrepresented in college.

A 6-year study following over 32,000 Texas high school students found that, students who took college courses while in high school were significantly more likely to complete an Associate’s degree, or higher, within 6 years.

This same study also showed that students from low-income families were significantly more likely to attend a 4-year college following participation in an early college access program.

Additionally, early college access programs are not just for degree-seeking students. They can provide valuable skill-building opportunities for high school students interested in technical fields such as information technology, healthcare, construction, and business administration, to name just a few.

  • Technical careers often do not require an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, but can quickly lead to well-paying jobs with the licenses and certifications available through community college courses.
  • Last year, Maryland’s 16 community colleges provided training for over 100,000 students in over 130 occupations requiring licensure and certification.
  • High school students taking community college courses get valuable hands-on experience, while earning the licenses or certifications they need to enter the workforce.

In Maryland, some rapidly growing industries with careers needing certified, non-degree personnel include: cyber security, healthcare, transportation logistics, and finance.

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