Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Cherng-Jhy Yen

Committee Member

Dana Burnett


In Virginia, the availability of dual enrollment classes for high school students has varied, depending on the interest of the local school division and the community college's president in whose service region the school division is located. HB 1184, which passed in the 2012 session of the Virginia General Assembly, stipulates that the opportunity must be available for all high school students throughout the Commonwealth to be able to participate in dual enrollment and either receive a Uniform Certificate of General Instruction or an associate degree. Utilizing data from 2006 dual enrollment students, this study's purpose was to determine if there is a relationship between the wealth of the locality in which each student's school division is located and the rate of dual enrollment participation in community colleges serving Virginia school divisions. Utilizing the composite index of local ability-to-pay, calculated every biennium by the Virginia Department of Education as a measure of local wealth to determine the state and local shares of mandated expenditures for K-12 public education, research questions measured whether local wealth influenced participation in dual enrollment. The relationships between local wealth and dual enrollment rate in urban, suburban, and rural school divisions respectively were examined. Finally, local wealth was analyzed to determine if it was a statistically significant predictor of the rate of dually enrolled students who subsequently enrolled in a community college or in a four-year institution. For the predictive models calculated, a linear relationship was not established between local wealth and dual enrollment participation. In addition, local wealth did not predict enrollment in a Virginia community college in the fall after the student's spring graduation from high school. There was a moderate relationship between local wealth and subsequent enrollment of dual enrollment students in a public or private four-year institution in the fall following spring graduation. Local wealth's moderate relationship to enrollment in a four-year institution after high school graduation indicates that some uniform model of cost-sharing between community colleges and local school divisions, and the state and local funding streams that support them, should be investigated.