Early College Experiences and Transition Support

What is it?

The research is clear; early exposure to college and career options is good for students.  When students have access to early programs they are more likely to attend and complete college.  There are many good programs and models for students but require K12 and community colleges to have joint responsibility for their success and importance in the community.

What are the indicators of success?

    • Thriving Early and/or Middle College programs are considered and/or established
    • Summer Bridge programs are in place
    • Dual credit opportunities are provided for career and technical education and academic courses
    • Clear transitions from K-12 career-themed programs (eg. Linked Learning, CA Partnership Academies) are mapped to the local community college pathways

What research supports this work?

This paper was prepared for the U.S. Department of Education to understand the impacts and outcomes of dual enrollment programs nationwide.  This paper is based on a synthesis of findings from prior research. After reviewing the status of dual enrollment across the county, the researchers identify lessons learned and potential solutions to overcoming common barriers in implementing dual enrollment programs.

Experts from states, high schools and colleges, and national organizations testing new approaches, such as transition courses, reported on and offered their perspectives on how to ensure that all 12th graders are college and career ready. The brief is based on highlights of a November 2013 briefing JFF and CCRC held in Washington, DC.

Performance-based funding is an increasingly popular way for states to fund public colleges and universities: Produce more graduates; get more funding. But JFF’s Ben Struhl suggests that in addition, states should invest this funding in colleges that partner with high schools on dual enrollment programs that better prepare future college goers. His latest policy brief makes the case for using this particular funding to sustain these programs and highlights how four states are already doing so.

LifeLink is an innovative college bridge and retention program, developed and run by Good Shepherd Services, a nonprofit community agency providing youth development, education, and family services. Good Shepherd Services partners with the New York City Department of Education to help students who have struggled in school, or who have dropped out altogether, to graduate. LifeLink provides an efficient, centralized postsecondary bridging and support opportunity to students from across Good Shepherd Services’ schools and programs. This guide provides an overview of the LifeLink program for educators and community leaders seeking to improve postsecondary outcomes for off-track and out-of-school youth.

This study suggests that career-focused dual enrollment programs—in which high school students take college courses for credit—can benefit underachieving students and those underrepresented in higher education. The study found that California students who participated in dual enrollment as part of their high school career pathway were more likely than similar students in their districts to graduate from high school, enroll in four-year colleges, and persist in college. They also accumulated more college credits and were less likely to take remedial classes.

This report has a companion technical report, “Bridging College and Careers: Using Dual Enrollment to Enhance Career and Technical Education Pathways (An NCPR Working Paper),” released by the National Center for Postsecondary Research.

For this report and accompanying tools, guides, and briefs: http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/publications/broadening-benefits-dual-enrollment.html#.UHRP8E7ybTo

Using longitudinal administrative data, this study compares outcomes of students who in 2008–09 and 2009–10 enrolled in one or more dual enrollment courses through the Concurrent Courses Initiative (CCI) in California with those of similar students in the same school districts who did not participate in the initiative. CCI dual enrollees had similar GPAs but higher graduation rates in high school. CCI dual enrollees entered college at similar rates to the comparison group, but entered four-year institutions and persisted in college at higher rates. Notably, CCI dual enrollees accumulated more college credits than the comparison group, and this difference in credit accumulation grew over time.

This NCPR working paper is the companion technical report to the overview report: “Broadening the Benefits of Dual Enrollment.”