Teachers College, Columbia University

Scaling Dual Enrollment Equity Pathways to College and Career Success

September 2021–May 2024

Dual enrollment (DE) helps millions of high school students get on a path to college each year. Nationally, 82% of public high schools offer DE coursework, mostly in partnership with community colleges. As a result of its reach, DE has great potential to reduce equity gaps by race and family income in college-going and degree attainment. Yet, rather than advance equitable college access and success, the conventional approach to DE tends to reinforce inequities in the high school-to-college transition. In fact, 4 of every 5 school districts have racial equity gaps in access to DE.

In this project, CCRC will work in Florida and Texas to expand efforts by community colleges and their K-12 partners to extend equity-focused guided pathways (GP) practices to DE students from underserved groups. We’ve observed this approach, which we are calling “dual enrollment equity pathways” or DEEP, emerging at early adopter GP colleges through fieldwork for the Dual Enrollment Playbook (co-authored with the Aspen Institute) and other GP projects. 

Through DEEP, colleges and their K-12 partners better utilize DE to expand college and career opportunities. They deliberately reach out to and support low-income and racially minoritized students to take DE courses that will help them build postsecondary momentum through high-quality college instruction and alignment to their post-high school aspirations. This contrasts with the conventional, laissez-faire approach to DE, which mostly benefits students already likely to enroll and succeed in college.

In partnership with the Florida Student Success Center at the Florida Department of Education, the Texas Success Center at the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and Dr. Lauren Schudde of the University of Texas at Austin, CCRC will develop practitioner-oriented guidance materials and tools in three areas to support scaling of DEEP practices by colleges and schools in these and other states: implementation models; metrics for planning and evaluation; and costs, funding, and policy incentives. For each topic, we will develop guides for practitioners that will include case studies of colleges and schools, as well as planning tools and data templates. In a related project, CCRC will develop additional guidance for state policymakers on how they can support the scaling of DEEP practices across their states.

This project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Project Lead

Davis Jenkins