By Chibuzo Ezeigbo
The Joyce Foundation helped launch a new Dual Enrollment Research Fund this week to usher in a new wave of scholarship focused on equitable dual enrollment policies and practices. The Fund will invest at least $1 million into research projects to help answer questions about how to broaden access to dual enrollment, dual credit, and early college credit programs, especially for students in marginalized communities.
There’s a large body of evidence that shows dual credit and dual enrollment programs–which allow high school students to earn college credit–have a positive impact on college readiness and can save students time and money in pursuing a post-secondary degree. As a result, these programs have exploded in popularity and most states have policies designed to help more students enroll.
But, as with many things in education, these important programs are not equitably distributed. A recent analysis by Columbia University on dual enrollment participation shows that Black students make up 15 percent of the student enrollment, but only nine percent of the dual-enrollment population. For Latino students, the numbers are 25 percent and 19 percent. This is a tremendous problem given that dual enrollment programs can help students earn a college degree, a proven driver of economic mobility.
Many questions remain about how policymakers can leverage policy and practice to increase participation. The Dual Enrollment Research Fund will support quantitative and qualitative research that addresses the most urgent of these unanswered questions, as identified by the field.
The Fund was launched after a three-year effort started by the Joyce Foundation. In 2020, Joyce funded the development of Research Priorities for Advancing Equitable Dual Enrollment Policy and Practice, which unearthed more than 150 research questions to deepen our understanding of how to broaden access to dual enrollment. Joyce then convened a national collaborative of dual enrollment scholars, policymakers, and practitioners to identify the research questions to prioritize. These urgent questions were vetted by more than 100 dual enrollment program administrators, educators, researchers, and local, state, and federal policymakers.
The Dual Enrollment Research Fund will prioritize funding to answer these questions that have been identified as most relevant to the field and actionable for policymakers.
The Dual Enrollment Research Fund is a critical part of the Foundation’s College and Career Readiness strategy to increase access to rigorous courses like dual enrollment programs, particularly for students of color and students from historically marginalized backgrounds in the Great Lakes region. With strong evidence and policymaking, we can help ensure that young people, regardless of background, have an opportunity to prepare for success in college and career.
About The Joyce Foundation
Joyce is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.