Date Awarded

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Pamela L Eddy

Committee Member

Thomas J Ward, Jr.

Committee Member

Joshua Pretlow, III


Dual enrollment (DE) programs provide high school students the opportunity to earn credit for college coursework completed while still in high school and help smooth the transition from high school to college by making the unfamiliar familiar—a valuable experience for students from a wide range of economic and academic backgrounds. Yet, the value of DE is largely undermined when students who have completed college credits do not enroll in college after high school graduation. Therefore, this study examined student demographics and academic metrics of Virginia DE students to explore potential patterns between student habitus and college enrollment, providing prototypical profiles of Virginia DE students who immediately enrolled in college, delayed enrollment, or did not enroll. Overall, the data demonstrated that participants of Virginia DE experienced high enrollments in college, but the majority of these students were non-minority, non-first generation, academically high performers, and/or from families with higher income. African American students, Hispanic students, and first generation college students participated in Virginia DE and enrolled in postsecondary education at rates lower than expected given their representation in higher education today, revealing the need to improve policy and practice to better attract and retain these students in DE. This study underscores the need for policymakers and educators to better leverage DE programs to prepare a broader range of students for success in college rather than simply providing courses to those students already primed to attend college and succeed.



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