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A foot in the door growth in participation and equity in dual enrollment in California

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UAL ENROLLMENT ALLOWS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS to take college courses and earn college credits that can provide a valuable head start toward a college degree. The practice has multiple benefits for students in both systems, improving college preparation and increasing efficiency toward completion of degrees and certificates.1 Many states— including California—have capitalized on these benefits by increasing high school student access to community college courses,2 though not all students have benefited equally. This brief builds on previous Wheelhouse research by providing a closer examination of dual enrollment growth in California. We present data about which students are participating in different types of dual enrollment in the California Community Colleges (CCC)—the primary provider of dual enrollment statewide. Matching the most recently available K–12 and CCC data, we also document how participation differs across high schools and course subjects pursued. There is cause in our findings for optimism, in that one type of dual enrollment—courses taught exclusively to high school students—is growing and appears to be increasing equity in participation. However, dual enrollment opportunities remain scarce or non-existent for many students and largely depend on the high schools they attend.

This work has been supported, in part, by the University of California Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives grants M21PR3278.

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