The Impact of Dual Enrollment on College Degree Attainment: Do Low-SES Students Benefit?

College and Career Readiness / Equity / Research / Student Outcomes /

Dual enrollment in high school is viewed by many as one mechanism for increasing college admission and completion of low-income students. However, little evidence demonstrates that these students discretely benefit from dual enrollment and whether these programs narrow attainment gaps vis-à-vis students from middle-class or affluent family backgrounds. Using the National Education Longitudinal Study (N = 8,800), I find significant benefits in boosting rates of college degree attainment for low- income students while holding weaker effects for peers from more affluent backgrounds. These results remain even with analyses from newer data of college freshman of 2004. I conduct sensitivity analy- ses and find that these results are robust to relatively large unobserved confounders. However, expanding dual enrollment programs would modestly reduce gaps in degree attainment.