A new Community College Research Center (CCRC) report released today analyzes student enrollment and degree records from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) for more than 200,000 high school students who took a community college class to examine who enrolls in dual enrollment courses and what happens to them after high school. Accompanying the report is an interactive visualization of the state-by-state results.
The number of high school students taking college courses at community colleges has grown dramatically since the early 2000s as students and their families have seized on its potential to give students a jump-start on college and save money by finishing college faster. Numerous studies have shown that these "dual enrollment" students are more likely to graduate high school, go on to college, and complete college degrees than other students. Despite the growing prevalence and potential benefits of high school dual enrollment, many colleges and states have not closely monitored which students participate, where they enroll in college after high school, and how many complete a college degree.
Overall, 88 percent of community college dual enrollment students continued in college after high school, and most earned a degree or transferred within five years. What type of college former dual enrollment students attended after high school and how many completed a college credential varied greatly by state. And many states showed big disparities in degree completion rates between lower and higher income students. The results raise important questions about why dual enrollment students in some states do substantially better in college and why there are large achievement gaps between income groups in some states.