Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Christopher Glass

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Mitchell R. Williams


Dual enrollment has been shown to increase post-secondary student success outcomes across a variety of measures such as retention, grade point average, and four-year attainment (Allen & Dadgar, 2012; Hoffman, 2012, Pretlow & Wathington, 2014). In Virginia, access to community colleges among students of color has increased from 32.3% in 2008 to 42.7% in 2018 (SCHEV, 2019-a). Despite these gains, far fewer African American students than White students participate in dual enrollment in Virginia, which has significant implications for their future success in post-secondary education. This study examined the experiences that influenced African American students’ choice to participate in dual enrollment, and the implications of these experiences. Using a phenomenological approach, this study sought to gain insight and understanding of the lived experiences of African American dual enrollment students.

The findings from this study described African American high school students’ perceptions as they moved from awareness of dual enrollment to interest in dual enrollment to acting on a choice to dual enroll. The students’ experiences highlighted a lack of awareness and a belief that dual enrollment is more for White students. Despite this, the students identified the positive factors in participating, such as improving their GPA, getting a head start on college, and saving money. The students who were undecided about their post-secondary plans prior to participating in dual enrollment credit that experience with their decision to enroll in college.


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