Arizona dual enrollment students more likely to go to college, policy brief finds

Feb 15, 2023, 4:35 AM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — Taking dual enrollment classes in high school increases a student’s chances of going to college, but access to these courses that provide students college credit is not equal across Arizona.

The latest findings come through a policy brief conducted by Arizona State University and the Helios Education Foundation.

“Students who take a dual enrollment course in Arizona are twice as likely to go to college than students who don’t,”  Senior Vice President of Community Impact and Learning for the Helios Education Foundation Paul Perrault said.

Perrault added these students have an increased likelihood of staying enrolled in college.

One reason is such courses expose high school students to college-level curriculum, preparing them to transition successfully from high school to college.

However, dual enrollment participation varies among student populations, according to the policy brief.

“For example, Hispanic or Latino students are only about half as likely to have taken a dual enrollment course than a white student,” Perrault said. “The same can be said for a low-income student.”

Statewide, the rate of students taking dual enrollment courses has been increasing over the past few years, but it’s lower than what post-secondary education supporters would like.

The policy brief shows about a quarter of high school graduates in Arizona take at least one dual enrollment course.

Most students in Arizona take the courses on their high school campus with a dual enrollment-certified high school teacher, and they are more likely to take an English or math course. Others take the courses on a college campus.

Perrault said one way to increase the number of students taking dual enrollment courses is by increasing availability. Nearly half of all high schools in Arizona don’t offer them, according to the policy brief.

Cost is also a barrier to dual enrollment courses for some students.

Some school districts have partnerships with local colleges to eliminate or minimize the costs to students and their families.

Perrault said his organization is working with policymakers to provide financial support for dual enrollment courses to low-income students.

“Your background shouldn’t dictate whether you have access to these courses or not,” he said.

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Arizona dual enrollment students more likely to go to college, policy brief finds