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Maureen Lane

Increase Graduation Rates With This Promising Program

This week’s Gotham Gazette Eyeopener and the New York Times note the release of a new study by the Community College Research Center (CCRC). The Gazette writes, “Students who participate in dual enrollment – or those who take college courses for credit while still in high school – are nearly 10 percent more likely to pursue a bachelor’s degree.”

This is encouraging news for New York and all states and localities where graduation rates have lagged.

Dual enrollment is a collaboration between high schools and colleges where high school students are allowed to enroll in actual college classes. The study describes some of the positive outcomes of dual enrollment, “reducing high school drop out rates and increasing student aspirations.” Aspirations are key to help students become successful as WRI’s high school project has confirmed. In our high school project we do outreach to schools that have strained resources right now in order to connect students to college or other programs. Many of these student's are unaware of their opportunities and our outreach provides a critical bridge to college for them.

Karen Arenson of the New York Times reports, “The study…also found that low-income students benefited more from such programs than other students did.”

The CRCC report is well timed. As I've written, the growing divide between low-income and middle and high income students getting college degrees is alarming. The challenge for policy-makers and advocates and parents will be to make sure high schoolers who are in low performing schools and poor neighborhoods are encouraged and supported to enroll.

The NY Times also reports that the New York State Education Department will ask for 100 million dollars for the dual enrollment program. Programs and implementation go hand in hand. If NYS sees dual enrollment as part of a comprehensive plan, an opportunity to break barriers to college for poor and low-income students, we will need to have an inclusive process for vision to meet implementation.

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Posted at 6:31 AM, Oct 25, 2007 in Education | New York
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