School & District Management What the Research Says

Early-College High Schools Boost College Enrollment, Completion

By Sarah Schwartz — September 24, 2019 1 min read

Participating in early-college programs could have a long-term positive effect on students’ college-enrollment and -completion rates, finds a new study by the American Institutes for Research.

Using data from the National Student Clearinghouse, researchers looked at 2,458 students in 10 early-college programs. These programs enrolled students by lottery; about half the students were selected, and half applied but were not chosen. The study tracked both groups of students from grade 9 until they were in their mid-20s.

Overall, they found that students who participated in early college were more likely to enroll in college and complete a degree within six years of high school graduation. Early-college students were consistently more likely than their peers to enroll in two-year colleges and to have completed an associate degree.

The biggest differences between the two groups were at the four-year mark after expected high school graduation: Nearly 21 percent of early-college students had bachelor’s degrees, while 11 percent of control students did. Those who had attended early-college programs also had higher degree-earning after taking into account students who took six years to complete their degree.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 25, 2019 edition of Education Week as Early-College High Schools Boost College Enrollment, Completion


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