A Rising Tide

Dual Enrollment is Growing Among California High School Students


Research tells us that high school students who take college courses while they are still in high school benefit from the experience in both systems. To capitalize on the benefits of this dual enrollment, California and other states have moved to increase high school students’ access to college courses.

Because California lacks an integrated state data system to connect information from K–12 to higher education, researchers have been hampered in their efforts to understand to what extent the state’s high school students participate in dual enrollment.

UC Davis researchers with the Wheelhouse Center for Community College Research and Leadership have matched high school and community college datasets to provide a clearer picture of college course-taking among California public high school students statewide.

This infographic reveals that college course-taking by high school students in California is more prevalent than previously understood: 18.2% of high school students took a course at a community college at some point during the 2018–19 academic year.

Participation has grown in recent years among all racial and socioeconomic groups of students, but disparities in participation persist. Latinx, Black, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students were underrepresented in community college course-taking compared to their share of overall high school students.

Given the demonstrated benefits of dual enrollment, the equity concerns are significant.

This infographic is an update of a prior brief, "A Leg Up on College," which can be found here.

Suggested citationPolicy Analysis for California Education. (2020, December). A rising tide: Dual enrollment is growing among California high school students [Infographic].