National Study Finds Dual Enrollment a Key Recruitment Tool; Majority of Institutions Accept Credit for Transfer

New research by AACRAO and Hobsons finds continued growth and enthusiasm for dual enrollment as strategy for both enrollment and student success  

WASHINGTON, DC – November 7, 2016 – The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), in partnership with Hobsons, today released a new report that finds institutions are embracing dual enrollment as a strategic enrollment initiative.

Dual enrollment has also increased significantly in popularity in the United States from approximately 1.16 to 2.04 million students from 2002 to 2011, or an increase of 75 percent. Policymakers and education leaders have adopted new policies to broaden college course access and establish common K-12 state standards. That growth is reflected in the survey: 78 percent of institutions reported offering dual enrollment options during the 2015-2016 academic year, and 86 percent accepted dual enrollment credit for transfer.

“Our findings add to the body of research, which demonstrates ongoing and growing support of dual enrollment as a means for expanding college access, improving student success, and reducing the cost of a postsecondary degree,” said Wendy Kilgore, AACRAO director of research. “Our findings show that institutions view dual enrollment as a critical strategy to boost student success and support the institution’s enrollment goals.”

More than 75 percent of respondents said dual enrollment serves as a recruiting tool, and 9 in 10 agreed that dual enrollment improves access to college courses.

The new report, “Dual Enrollment in the Context of Strategic Enrollment Management” builds on existing Institute of Education Sciences (IES) research to illuminate the institution level practices of dual enrollment in the context of strategic enrollment management. The report finds that one-quarter of participating institutions awarded at least one associate’s degree to high school students during the 2015-2016 academic year, an increase since 2013 when the IES study was published.

“Dual enrollment is no longer just for high-achieving students. It now presents an opportunity for more students to discover their ability to succeed in college,” said Ellen Wagner, vice president of research at Hobsons. “This research is part of Hobsons’ ongoing efforts to reduce the points of friction students encounter as they navigate their educational experiences. By bringing K-12 and higher education leaders together, dual enrollment can play a critical role in the college preparation and admissions processes.”                                                                                                                           

Other key findings include:

  • In addition to dual enrollment functioning as a recruiting tool, dual enrollment is helping to meet the mission of their institutions and serving as a community service mechanism.
  • Fifty-eight percent of institutions discount tuition for dual enrollment, and two-thirds of those do so by more than 50 percent.
  • One in four use dual enrollment as a means to support student success and/or diversity on campus.
  • Private institutions are less likely than public institutions to accept dual enrollment credit transfer.
  • Among those that do not offer dual enrollment, institutional culture is the most cited reason for not doing so.

This report was developed in partnership with Hobsons, the leading advising, admissions, and student success company, and included responses from nearly 400 AACRAO members and non-AACRAO member institutions in the United States, representing 46 states and Puerto Rico. To download the full report, visit here.





AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association of more than 11,000 higher education professionals representing approximately 2,600 institutions in more than 40 countries. Its commitment to the professional development of its members includes best practice guidance on admissions strategies to meet institutional diversity objectives, delivery of academic programs in innovative ways to meet the needs of a changing student body, and exemplary approaches to student retention and completion. To learn more, visit  


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