Equity in Dual Enrollment


Dual enrollment options have not reached their potential to provide opportunity for all students: Underrepresented populations include students of color, low-income students and those in rural areas, according to U.S. and state studies. Cost, availability, teacher qualifications, transferability of credits, and academic readiness contribute to lower enrollment and completion rates among these students.

Recent studies from the U.S. Department of Education’s High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 found that a lower percentage of Hispanic students (30%) and black students (27%) took high school courses for postsecondary credit than did white or Asian students (both 38%). And students in urban high schools more commonly took courses on a college campus than did students in rural areas.

Many states now have longitudinal data systems to analyze information on equity trends in course taking and dual enrollment, as well as performance, enrollment, persistence and completion of postsecondary credentials. State studies clearly show inequities by race and ethnicity, income and geographic location

Rising Costs

The rising cost of dual enrollment courses is a key concern for parents, educators and policymakers. State investment in dual enrollment has risen dramatically in some areas, yet students are often asked to absorb more of the cost on top of costs of attendance such as transportation and textbooks.

Nearly every state has policies that influence the cost of a dual enrollment course. Accreditation policy can also impact cost by defining who can teach these courses, to whom, when and where. Keeping dual enrollment affordable is an essential strategy to address the overall cost of postsecondary education and access for all students.

From SREB Dual Enrollment Initiative Overview, June 2019