Scaling Dual Enrollment Equity Pathways Across States: Guidance From Practitioners for Policymakers

January 2022–December 2023

Equity gaps in access to dual enrollment are widespread. Even in states that offer dual enrollment coursework tuition-free, inequities in access remain because of exclusionary policies and practices. Misalignment between typically available dual enrollment course offerings and students’ college and career ambitions misses an opportunity to motivate underserved students to explore and pursue a postsecondary pathway in a field that interests them.

In a related project, CCRC is leading the development of practitioner-oriented guidance materials to support the scaling of efforts to align dual enrollment offerings with whole-college guided pathways reforms, an approach we call dual enrollment equity pathways, or DEEP. CCRC is working with community colleges and K-12 schools in Florida and Texas that are using this approach to increase college-going and success for Black, Latinx, low-income, and other underserved students. DEEP combines efforts to expand access to dual enrollment with guided pathways reforms to better connect students to high-opportunity postsecondary pathways that lead to good jobs and transfer into a bachelor’s program without loss of credits.

In this two-year project, CCRC will develop additional guidance for state policymakers on how they can support the scaling of DEEP practices across their states. This guidance will be based on insights from community college and K-12 leaders implementing DEEP reforms in Florida, Texas, and Ohio. We will build on CCRC’s ongoing partnership with the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Ohio Association of Community Colleges to document the experiences and perspectives of practitioners at high schools and colleges exemplifying the DEEP approach. We will draw on findings from CCRC’s ongoing guided pathways research in Ohio as well as on additional research on a set of school-college pairings that have been intentionally designed to expand access to dual enrollment for students from underserved communities.

The project aims to yield much-needed insights—grounded in the perspectives of K-12 and college practitioners—on how state policy can incentivize and support institution-led efforts to advance equity in dual enrollment.

Funding for the project is provided by the Joyce Foundation.