Could enrolling in college while still in high school help students graduate?

New research suggests that dual enrollment and early college programs could be the secret to more students graduating.

  1. A high school trend

  2. High schools across the U.S. are enrolling their students in college even before they graduate -- this is a process called 'dual enrollment.' Dual enrollment programs allow students to simultaneously take high school classes in addition to courses from a local college.
  3. These concurrent enrollment programs are becoming more and more popular. The Today Show spoke with former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Ivywise CEO Katherine Cohen about the benefits of dual enrollment. Watch the clip below.
  4. Today Show Clip on Dual Enrollment
  5. Dual enrollment benefits first-generation students

  6. What may seem like a counter-intuitive approach to education is actually helping students, according to a new study from the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy. The new data suggests dual-enrollment programs increase college enrollment numbers, particularly among less affluent and first-generation students.
  7. Success in college is more than just "getting accepted." Students face financial barriers, along with the many struggles that come with transitioning to the college lifestyle, such as preparing themselves for advanced coursework.
  8. The transition is often more difficult among first-generation college students who may not have adequate levels of preparation and guidance. Without this support, numbers show that many first-generation students drop out of college when faced with challenges.
  9. Early college exposure can help these students get in and stay in college.
  10. Early college credits also play a role

  11. A separate report from the American Institutes for Research supports the theory that students enrolled in early college programs are more likely to attend college than students in traditional high school classes.
  12. Early college programs allow students to receive college credit, which gives them a head start when they become full-time college students. College credits also reduce the time and cost of completing a secondary program.
  13. Looking ahead

  14. So far, the future looks promising for dual enrollment programs. High schools around the nation are noticing higher graduation and college enrollment rates -- but the long-term effects (e.g., looking at students' careers after graduating college) have yet to be studied.
  15. Ultimately, in addition to increasing college preparedness and high school graduation rates, dual enrollment programs have the potential to significantly increase the overall college-going population.
Read next page