A project aimed at increasing dual enrollment participation and curbing dropout rates in rural North Carolina has received a $20 million federal i3 grant to expand, according to an article by the Greensboro News & Record.
The project is run by the nonprofit North Carolina New Schools and allows students from 18 rural schools in the state to earn up to 21 tuition-free credits of college-level classes online or through local community colleges. Since 2012, the year the program launched, dropout rates have decreased at the five schools that first joined the initiative.
Rural states across the country have recently ramped up dual enrollment programs in an attempt to increase high school graduation and college completion rates. Some research shows that participation in dual-enrollment programs can increase the likelihood that students will graduate from high school and attend college. Nationwide, students in rural areas are less likely to go to college than their non-rural peers and may attend schools that struggle to offer dual-enrollment courses due to a lack of transportation, funding, and qualified teachers.
A report released earlier this year by The Education Commission of the States offered several strategies to increase dual enrollment in high schools, such as providing courses online, offering financial support for teachers who want to earn a certification to teach dual enrollment courses, and covering the cost of programs for students.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.