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3 Benefits of Dual Enrollment for Institutions of Higher Education

The benefits that students get from dual enrollment programs are clear. Students that dually enroll in traditional or differentiated options are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and have greater post-secondary success

Dual enrollment participation can put students on a path to improve their time to complete a certificate program, improve bachelor’s degree completion rates, and often graduate from high school already having earned an associate’s degree or another credential.

Students receive many benefits from participating in dual enrollment programs, but what are the benefits for post-secondary institutions?

Benefit #1: Strong Pipeline for Students

Higher education enrollment suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Community colleges took an exceptional dip in their enrollment with a 9% decrease in enrollment across the board and a 19% drop in freshman enrollment.

To combat the effects of the pandemic, two and four-year institutions across the country looked to dual enrollment students as a means of increasing enrollment during a time when college-aged and older students were sitting out semesters.

[Read more about how Robust Career Assessments can improve community college enrollment]

Dual enrollment programs play an important role in giving local community or four-year colleges a direct link to high school students. The idea that students will take their credits to another school is a common criticism, but this infrequently happens. 

According to a 2017 report by the Community College Research Center, 84% of students that participate in dual enrollment programs enroll at the college in which they took their courses. When students are happy enough to re-enroll, they will most likely recommend the program to others, improving the pipeline of future students.

Benefit #2: Better Student Performance

K-12 and higher education institutions can see an increase in student performance. For K-12 students, these programs allow for access to an advanced curriculum and have the ability to experience the rigor and expectations of higher education while still in high school. Students can also get an earlier look into how a campus works and understand the location of certain offices

Motivated K-12 students participating in dual enrollment courses can bring up the quality of education in college classrooms. A 2012 report conducted by Kennesaw State University found that the maturity level of their classrooms increased when dual enrollment students were present, allowing instructors to enrich the courses with new assignments and activities.

Benefit #3:Improve Access for Underserved Communities

Increasing student access is on many lists of institutional goals at post-secondary institutions. Dual enrollment programs can improve access to higher education for underserved racial and socioeconomic communities when implemented with equity in mind.

While these programs have the potential to improve access, a 2020 Columbia University report found that only 1 in 5 dual enrollment programs are successful in narrowing or eliminating race and income gaps in access for their participants.

The same Columbia University study goes on to share 5 principles that successful state programs all follow to improve equity:

  • Set a shared vision and goals that prioritize equity
  • Expand equitable access
  • Connect students to advising and supports that ensure equitable outcomes
  • Provide high-quality instruction that builds competence and confidence
  • Organize teams and develop relationships to maximize potential

With these principles in mind, how can Awato help post-secondary institutions increase dual enrollment participation for underserved communities?

Connect All Students to Dual Enrollment Programs with Awato

Improving access to dual enrollment starts with increasing student awareness of the programs available to them. The Awato platform makes it easy by displaying every relevant dual enrollment opportunity at a two or four-year college to every student. Students can then build and compare custom pathways to see how dual enrollment can help them reach their education and career goals.

Awato’s pathfinding platform can improve the benefits of dual enrollment for students and post-secondary institutions by:

  1. Increasing awareness and participation in dual credit programs 
  2. Identifying how each student can save time and money by continuing their education at the institution at which they received dual enrollment credit 
  3. Boosting enrollment by converting more dual credit students into enrolled students seeking their college degree 

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