Innovative New Tool to Promote Dual Enrollment in High School and College

There is a lot of discussion in education circles about dual enrollment – the ability of students to earn college credits while still in high school. Participation in dual enrollment programs in Louisiana has risen in recent years, but it’s still far short of what education leaders would like it to be. A new dual enrollment online portal recently launched by the state Department of Education and the Board of Regents seeks to change that.

In today’s world, the idea of completing your education with only a high school degree is virtually unthinkable. Gone are the days when students can realistically consider any kind of meaningful career without earning some sort of postsecondary credential.

Dual enrollment allows students to start down that path while still in high school and the benefits are tangible. The head start on college can save time and money. Access to college course work and the college experience in high school can ease the transition to postsecondary education. And you don’t have to be headed to a four-year university to benefit. Technical courses leading to a high-demand, high-quality credential are also available.

The problem is, not nearly enough students are accessing dual enrollment courses. Of the 90,000 or so high school juniors and seniors in Louisiana, only about 20,000 are participating in dual enrollment. Adding to that, less than a third of those students are Black.

While dual enrollment opportunities are better understood by students and parents than ever before, getting the information needed to enroll has been difficult to come by. It’s out there, but it can be hard to pull together.

A new online resource available at should make all of that a whole lot easier. The portal is basically a one-stop shop of dual enrollment information for students and parents. It offers a long list of frequently asked questions to get anyone who is interested in dual enrollment quickly up to speed. It contains a searchable list of both technical and academic course offerings available at Louisiana community colleges and universities. And it also links to the Department of Education’s Fast Forward initiative with pathways for students to earn an associate’s degree or state approved apprenticeship along with their high school degree.

The new portal is one of several recommendations made by the Louisiana Dual Enrollment Task Force which CABL is a part of. Among its goals is provide universal access to dual enrollment courses for all high school students and in doing so close the equity gap that exists for students of color.

For too long we have looked at the senior year of high school as the end of one thing and college as the beginning of something else. The truth is, in today’s world they’re all part of the same thing – acquiring the education and skills needed to start a career. Our education leaders get that and are promoting innovative approaches to blur those lines between high school and college.

Dual enrollment is one way of doing that. It is our hope that the Legislature and other state leaders will support these efforts, including additional funding and incentives where appropriate, to enhance learning opportunities for our students and improve the dismal education attainment levels in our state.

We can do better and this is one of the ways.

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