California is rethinking dual enrollment. Long acknowledged as an effective acceleration strategy, dual enrollment has emerged as a powerful equity strategy when designed for the success of students who might not otherwise attend college. Over the past few years, college-high school partnerships across the state have been strengthening and expanding their dual enrollment programs—removing barriers to student access and participation and designing for equity. And as demonstrated in the final 2022–23 state budget and related legislation, California is doing its part on the policy front to sweep away statutory barriers and promote the use of dual enrollment centered on equity and completion.
Here is some of the recent news:
- The California Exemplary Dual Enrollment Award Program, which recognizes high schools for exemplary dual enrollment programming, was just announced by the California Department of Education. The award selection criteria support equitable dual enrollment for completion. Applicants must provide evidence of attention to: college partnership; equity; integration with college and district plans/frameworks; dual credit; outcomes; pathways; and student support. Applications are due November 30.
- Legislation awaiting the Governor’s signature, AB 102 (Holden), removes the state 10% dual enrollment cap and the sunset date on the College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) program, ensuring that dual enrollment opportunities remain available. It also removes language prohibiting CCAP partnerships from offering college courses that are oversubscribed or have a waiting list. It clarifies that community schools, juvenile court schools, and adult education programs are included in CCAP and authorizes county offices of education to enter into CCAP agreements.
- Intent language concerning dual credit was included in the Education Budget Trailer Bill (AB 181). This underlines the importance of dual credit—that dual enrollment students should receive college credits and that these should be applied to high school graduation requirements in equivalent subject areas.
- The 2022–23 state budget includes $200 million to expand dual enrollment through CCAP and middle college or early college high schools.
- The new $500 million Golden State Pathways grant program requires that the pathways provide opportunities to earn at least 12 units of early college credit.
- The Multi-year Roadmap Between the Newsom Administration and the California Community Colleges includes key commitments and goals that identify dual enrollment among the strategies to improve equitable college completion in California. The document updates Vision for Success goals and includes explicit goals to:
- Close equity gaps in access to dual enrollment.
- Increase the number of high school students who graduate with 12 or more college credits earned through dual enrollment.
- Ensure that dual enrollment opportunities are included in pathways and carry units that transfer toward degree programs.