Does Dual Enrollment Influence High School Graduation, College Enrollment, Choice, and Persistence?

Lee et al. / Research in Higher Education / January 2022

classroom with students

This study examines relationships between dual enrollment and high school graduation, college enrollment, college choice (2-year or 4-year), and persistence in college among Nebraska’s 2018 high school graduating class. Unlike previous studies that focus on states where dual enrollment is standardized and subsidized by state policy, the Nebraska context offers an opportunity to study potentially heterogeneous effects of dual enrollment where implementation is devolved to the local level. Using propensity score matching, the authors find that taking at least one dual enrollment course was positively associated with graduating from high school, going to college, choosing a 4-year college over a 2-year college, and re-enrolling in college in the second year. More importantly, the positive association was greater for racial minority students, first-generation students, and low-income students. Findings suggest that dual enrollment may help close achievement gaps for historically underrepresented students. The authors provide policy implications on how states can use dual enrollment to improve higher education access and success.