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Abstract

The push for increased democratization of higher education in the United States coupled with the rising costs of college have led many institutions to turn to dual enrollment models as a means to increase access for students. Most states now allow qualifying high school students to take college courses free, or at a reduced rate, while still enrolled in secondary education, saving students and their families tens of thousands of dollars. Increased access, however, has not necessarily led to increased student success in terms of academic achievement and completion rates, especially among students from traditionally underrepresented populations. Racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation students, and students from low socio-economic status (SES) families continue to have lower than average college completion rates. One dual enrollment model, the early college high school, focuses specifically on these groups in an effort to improve academic performance both at the high school and college levels. The North Carolina early college model, in particular, has demonstrated effectiveness in improving high school graduation rates and college readiness among traditionally underrepresented populations.

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