Dual enrollment, as the California Community College Chancellor’s Office asserts, should be considered by colleges and K-12 districts alike as a student success strategy to increase college access and success for more students. A misperception is that the intended student population for dual enrollment is those already considered to be part of the college going student population, an alternative to Advanced Placement courses.
Research indicates that strategically planned dual enrollment pathways are particularly beneficial for students who might not have otherwise considered themselves as candidates for higher education. By intentionally seeking representation from students historically underrepresented in higher education, dual enrollment becomes a key strategy to reduce and potentially close gaps in access and completion for student populations that are disproportionately underrepresented in colleges across the state.
Fresno City College through the Office of Early College forms a partnership with local K-12 districts that enables high school students to take college courses at their high school, free of tuition. High school students can be awarded both college credit and high school credit for the single course.
Through this partnership, dual enrollment provides students with the opportunity to get a head start on their college education, to save time and money, and to experience the rigors of college coursework with support from the high schools and community college.
Mission Statement of the Office of Early College
Creating intentional, supported pathways for high school students, bridging K-12 to higher education and gainful employment
Vision Statement of the Office of Early College
Providing equitable higher educational opportunities for all high school students
Dual enrollment is a high impact tool to increase the college-going culture for more students on both high school campuses and community college campuses. UC Davis Wheelhouse’s recent publication, “A Foot in the Door: Growth in Participation and Equity in Dual Enrollment in California,” asserts that dual enrollment programs are indeed effective for a broad range of students. In fact, when compared to regular college students, dual enrollment students show statistically significant gains in the following areas:
Increased high school graduation rates
Increased enrollment in higher education
Increased retention in higher education
Increased completion rates in higher education.
For many students, participation in dual enrollment eases the transition from high school to college by giving students a sense of what college academics are like in a supported environment. Dual enrollment is a cost-efficient way for students to accumulate college credits because courses are taken at no cost to the student through the local high schools.
Dual enrollment is an opportunity to take challenging courses and accelerate educational opportunities. Students who successfully complete dual enrollment courses receive many benefits. However, there are some possible disadvantages that all students must consider before enrolling in a dual enrollment class:
Dual enrollment courses become part of students’ permanent college transcripts; if students fail, these grades could affect eligibility for financial aid and admission to other postsecondary institutions.
Dual enrollment classes receive college and high school credits. If students fail one of these classes, it will negatively affect both their high school and college transcripts.
If students need additional support to complete regular general education high school classes, adding the additional rigor of the college class may not be the best choice for them at that time.
Fresno City College partners with many different school districts throughout the Central Valley, and each high school has its own dual enrollment pathways for its students developed with Fresno City College.
Common pathways include transfer pathways with general education courses in addition to a wide variety of Career Technical Education pathways that range from business, education, construction, medical and sport sciences, and industrial technology pathways.
Interested students should check with their high school counselors, and a list of pathway partnerships and high school contacts are available on Fresno City College’s Dual Enrollment.