Scaling Dual Enrollment Equity Pathways to College and Career Success

September 2021–August 2024

Dual enrollment helps millions of high school students get on a path to college each year. Nationally, 82% of public high schools offer dual enrollment coursework, mostly in partnership with community colleges. As a result of its reach, dual enrollment 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 dual enrollment tends to reinforce inequities in the high-school-to-college transition. In fact, four of every five school districts have racial equity gaps in access to dual enrollment.

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 practices to dual enrollment students from underserved groups. This approach, which CCRC calls “dual enrollment equity pathways” or DEEP, emerged at early-adopter guided pathways colleges through fieldwork for the Dual Enrollment Playbook (co-authored with the Aspen Institute) and other guided pathways projects.

Through DEEP, colleges and their K-12 partners better utilize dual enrollment to expand college and career opportunities. They deliberately reach out to and support low-income and racially minoritized students to take dual enrollment 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 dual enrollment, 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