Skip Navigation
Data
Point
U.S. Department of Education NCES 2019-176 February 2019
Dual Enrollment: Participation and Characteristics

This report is based on data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), a nationally representative study of more than 23,000 ninth-graders in 2009. Follow-up surveys were administered to the cohort in 2012, 2013, and 2016. The study also obtained data from students’ high school transcripts, generally covering the fall 2009 term through the summer 2013 term.

What percent of students took courses for postsecondary credit in high school?

FIGURE 1. Percentage of fall 2009 ninth-graders who ever took courses for postsecondary credit in high school, by demographic characteristics

FIGURE 1. Percentage of fall 2009 ninth-graders who ever took courses for postsecondary credit in high school, by demographic characteristics

NOTE: Estimates of White, Black, and Asian students describe students who did not identify their ethnicity as Hispanic or Latino. The “other” category includes American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and students who identified as having multiple races. “HS diploma” refers to a high school diploma or GED.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), Second Follow-Up Restricted-Use Data File.

Students in HSLS:09 were asked questions about courses they took for college credit during their high school tenures. This arrangement is commonly known as “dual” or “concurrent” enrollment and is promoted as a means to help students prepare and demonstrate their readiness for the rigors of college coursework, as well as potentially save on the costs of college.1

  • About a third of students (34 percent) took courses for postsecondary credit in high school (Figure 1).
  • Students whose parents had higher levels of education more commonly took courses for postsecondary credit in high school: 42 percent of students whose parents had earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher took these courses, compared to 26 percent of students whose parents’ highest level of education was lower than a high school diploma (Figure 1).
  • A lower percentage of Hispanic students (30 percent) and Black students (27 percent) took courses for postsecondary credit in high school than did White or Asian students (both 38 percent) (Figure 1).

Where do high school students take courses for postsecondary credit?

Though many students take dual enrollment courses at their high school or on a college campus, providing such courses online or at other, regional high schools may increase access for students who do not live near a postsecondary institution.

FIGURE 2. Locations where students took courses for postsecondary credit during high school (as of spring 2012), by the student’s fall 2009 high school urbanicity

FIGURE 2. Locations where students took courses for postsecondary credit during high school (as of spring 2012), by the student’s fall 2009 high school urbanicity

! Interpret data with caution as the standard error represents more than 30 percent of this estimate.
NOTE: This figure is restricted to students who reported having taken courses for postsecondary credit during high school in the spring 2012 first follow-up questionnaire (information on dual enrollment locations was only available in the first follow-up). School urbanicity is classified according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) locale framework. A “city” is defined as territory inside a Principal City within an Urbanized Area (a Census-defined urban area of 50,000 or more people). “Suburb” refers to territory outside of a Principal City, but within an Urbanized Area. A “town” is territory within an Urban Cluster (a Census-defined urban area of at least 2,500 people and less than 50,000 people). The “rural” classification covers all Census-defined rural territory. Students could report having taken courses for postsecondary credit in multiple locations; therefore, percentages across locations sum to over 100 percent.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), First Follow-Up Public-Use Data File.

  • Students who took courses for postsecondary credit while in high school most commonly took those courses at their own high school (80 percent). Less common locations were a college campus (17 percent), online (8 percent), and a high school other than the student’s own (6 percent) (Figure 2).
  • Among students who took courses for postsecondary credit while in high school, students in city schools more commonly took these courses on a college campus (26 percent) than did students in rural or suburban high schools (11 percent each). Students in rural schools more commonly took these courses online (12 percent) than did suburban students (5 percent) (Figure 2).

Endnotes

1 Models of dual and concurrent enrollment vary, but this Data Point focuses broadly on any courses taken during high school for postsecondary credit (as reported by students in survey questionnaires or recorded in high school transcripts). However, these courses do not include Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, which may help students prepare for college and potentially earn postsecondary credit if they pass standardized AP or IB exams.

Data in this report are from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), a nationally representative sample survey. To learn more, visit https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/hsls09/. For questions about content or to view this report online, go to https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2019176.

This NCES Data Point presents information of education topics of current interest. It was authored by Azim Shivji and Sandra Wilson of Abt Associates. Estimates based on samples are subject to sampling variability. All stated differences are statistically significant at the .05 level using a two-tailed Student’s t-test without adjustments for multiple comparisons. In the design, conduct, and data processing of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) surveys, efforts are made to minimize effects of non-sampling errors, such as item response, measurement error, data processing error, or other systematic error.