DUAL ENROLLMENT – START STRONG
To improve both access and success, we cannot focus exclusively on bringing more students to college; we also must find ways to bring more college to kids. Our high schools, public and private, currently graduate approximately 45,000 students a year. Through dual enrollment and other opportunities to gain postsecondary credits during high school, a clear opportunity exists for many more students to enter college with substantial earned credits or even to graduate high school with a credential.
Though growth in dual enrollment since 2003 is impressive, access to college-in-high-school opportunities continues to be uneven, varying widely by schools, districts, costs to students, faculty availability, and other factors.
In addition, recent data indicate that more than half of Louisiana students who might be eligible do not participate – especially low-income students and students of color. Many students are unaware of the benefits of dual enrollment, including the opportunity to earn early college credit, the cost savings related to entering college with a shorter time to degree, and the potential to enter the workforce earlier and directly into a well-paying, rewarding job. Louisiana’s rural population can also have limited access to college-level work, simply because of geography. A statewide framework designed to bring parity in access and expand opportunity to all schools and more students will be paired with a campaign to educate administrators, parents, and students on opportunities for college work in high school. Alongside efforts to map clear pathways to and through higher education, this campaign will ensure that students understand the value of doing college work in high school and recognize it as an early step to a credential.
Louisiana’s Talent Imperative requires that we seek deliberate and strategic approaches to provide universal access to college in high school– ensuring availability of high-quality instruction and clearly charting the links between the college- level work and each student’s plans. The PK-12 system has already made efforts to streamline students’ access to different postsecondary education pathways. This work must be coupled with strong advising to help students understand the applicability of earned credits to credential pathways.