What Works Clearinghouse Intervention Report: Dual Enrollment Programs

National Reporting / Research / Student Outcomes /

Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college courses and earn college credits while still attending high school. Such programs, also referred to as dual credit or early college programs, are designed to boost college access and degree attainment, especially for students typically underrepresented in higher education. Dual enrollment programs support college credit accumulation and degree attainment via at least three mechanisms. First, allowing high school students to experience college-level courses helps them prepare for the social and academic requirements of college while having the additional supports available to high school students; this may reduce the need for developmental coursework. Second, students who accumulate college credits early and consistently are more likely to attain a college degree. Third, many dual enrollment programs offer discounted or free tuition, which reduces the overall cost of college and may increase the number of low socioeconomic status students who can attend and complete college.