The Answer is Yes: Dual Enrollment Benefits Students at the Community College

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Objective: The study assesses the impact of dual enrollment participation on remediation and completion for traditional first time, full-time freshmen at a community college in Northeast Tennessee. Method: This study began with the full population of 1,232 students who enrolled between 2008 and 2012 at a community college in northeast Tennessee the fall semester after finishing high school. The population was required to have American College Testing (ACT) scores, completely fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), enroll full-time as a degree-seeking student, and complete the first fall semester. Propensity score matching was utilized to eliminate self-selection bias and enable parametric comparisons using optimal matching of dual enrollment participants and non-participants while controlling for a range of covariates. Results: The analyses showed that community college students who participated in dual enrollment were (a) 9% or nearly 3.4 times less likely to take remediation, (b) 26% or nearly 2.5 times more likely to graduate in 2 years, and (c) 28% or nearly 1.5 times more likely to graduate in 3 years. Contributions: This study contributes to the literature showing that dual enrollment reduces remediation rates and assists in timely completions for community college students. Policy recommendations are to increase equitable participation, normalize dual enrollment for students academically able to do college coursework, align state terminology with the nation, and improve data for future research.