Teachers College, Columbia University

Dual Enrollment and Dual-Credit Programs

Dual Enrollment and Dual-Credit Programs

In 2010–11, approximately 1.4 million students took dual enrollment courses. Seventy-six percent of schools reported that students took dual enrollment courses with an academic focus, and 46% reported that students took dual enrollment courses with a career or technical-vocational focus.

Eighty-two percent of public high schools reported that students participated in dual enrollment courses in 2017-18. Funding was provided by the school, district, or state in 78% of schools with dual enrollment, while in 42% of the schools, families or students paid for the courses. In 10% of schools, another entity provided funding.  

Among students who started ninth grade in 2009, 34% ever took a dual enrollment course. White and Asian students were more likely to take dual enrollment courses than Black and Hispanic students.

Former dual enrollment students represented 19% of first-time-in-college, degree-seeking students who started college in fall 2014: 17% of the cohort at community colleges, 23% at public four-year colleges, and 17% at private nonprofit colleges.

According to the most recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics, 69% of high schools reported enrollments in AP or IB courses, with a total of about 3.5 million enrollments (course enrollments, not individual students).

The number of AP exam-takers was 2.5 million in 2020-21.

CCRC has conducted studies in Florida, New York City, and California that showed that dual enrollment participation is positively related to a range of college outcomes, including enrollment and persistence, credit accumulation, and GPA. The What Works Clearinghouse found that dual enrollment programs have positive effects on degree attainment, college access and enrollment, credit accumulation, and other outcomes. 

A recent CCRC study in Florida found that all racial and ethnic groups studied benefitted from dual enrollment. But the vast majority of districts nationally have racial/ethnic gaps in AP and dual enrollment participation. 

A CCRC study that tracked 200,000 high school students who first took a community college course in fall 2010 found that 88% of the students continued in college after high school. Nearly half first attended a community college after high school and 41% attended a four-year college. Among former dual enrollment students who started at a community college after high school, 46% earned a college credential within five years.

CCRC data viz

CCRC's data visualizations offer an interactive way to explore trends in community college outcomes.

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