What Happens to Students Who Take Community College “Dual Enrollment” Courses in High School?

Student Outcomes /

The number of high school students taking community college courses has grown dramatically since the early 2000s as students and their families have seized on the potential of “dual enrollment” to give students a jump-start on college and save money by finishing college faster. Numerous studies have shown that dual enrollment participants are more likely than nonparticipants to graduate high school, go on to college, and complete college degrees. Despite the growing prevalence and potential benefits of dual enrollment, many colleges and states have not closely monitored which students participate, where they enroll in college after high school, and how many complete a college degree.

In this report, we use student enrollment and degree records from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) to examine who enrolls in community college dual enrollment courses and what happens to them after high school. We focus on students who took college courses offered by community colleges because those institutions provide the majority of dual enrollment offerings nationally.