Dual Enrollment Programs Give Hope to Disadvantaged Students

The Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University has recently published a study which reveals that dual enrollment programs benefit greatly not only A-level students but also those with disadvantages.

Dual enrollment programs are aimed at giving high-schoolers a chance to take university and college courses for credits. It is generally seen as a means to make public universities and some private colleges collaborate actively with local schools.

It has become an especially effective way to increase high-school students’ preparation for college. However, until a few years ago only high-achievers were entitled to enjoy the benefit of this. The situation has changed and now more and more disadvantaged students choose to participate in dual enrollment programs which serve as a great transitional stage to ensure their readiness for college.

The study surveyed over 3,000 California students who took part in 8 different dual enrollment programs featuring young people who come from disadvantaged non-white or non-English speaking families. The program targeted mainly students who were struggling in studies or those facing the risk of being expelled. Funded by the James Irvine Foundation grant high-school career technical program students were given an opportunity to take college classes in mathematics, college physics and computer science. The study showed that the dual enrollment program participants were much more likely to complete their high-school education and start off for a 4-year college degree than their peer non-participants.

The Community College Research Center study demonstrated the advantages and opportunities that dual enrollment programs present to high-schoolers if opened to a wider range of students. It is significantly important for those students who come from low-income families which not only cannot provide for a student’s college education but sometimes are not even supportive of his graduating from high-school.

Dual enrollment programs can help struggling high-school students to improve their college preparation, increase their interest in much desired STEM-related disciplines and promote academic achievement and motivation. Over just 3 years the program has boosted greatly high-school graduation and college-going rates

As it often happens in such situations, despite many benefits that dual enrollment programs provide to disadvantaged students and their families, the value of such initiatives seems to have been greatly underestimated. As the result 2 dual enrollment programs in California have already been closed down due to the lack of financing and the rest of them are facing the same grim perspective.