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Study: Taking college courses in high school pays off; Jointly enrolled Iowa students more likely to pursue higher ed
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Study: Taking college courses in high school pays off; Jointly enrolled Iowa students more likely to pursue higher ed

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Iowa State University

Iowa State University.

DES MOINES — Students who take college credit courses in high school are more likely to enroll in postsecondary education after graduation and earn a college degree or credential, a new Iowa Department of Education report found.

State officials looked at data that tracked 29,000 high school graduates from the class of 2011 over an eight-year period. Their “Outcomes of Jointly Enrolled Students in Iowa” report compared postsecondary enrollment and completion rates of students who jointly enrolled in community college credit courses while in high school, and students who did not.

“Earning college credit while in high school benefits students in so many ways,” said a statement from Ann Lebo, director of the state Education Department. “While we had a record number of jointly enrolled students during the 2019-20 academic year, we still have work to do.

“Closing the gap and ensuring all high school students take advantage of these opportunities will help more students explore career paths and experience the rigor of college-level courses, putting them on a path for success in both college and careers,” Lebo added.

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According to the agency’s findings, 75.5% of the 17,508 high school students from the class of 2011 who earned college credit in high school enrolled in college immediately after graduating and 59.1% of those students achieved a degree within eight years.

In comparison, 50.4% of students who did not earn college credit in high school immediately enrolled in college. Of those, the report found that 32.8% completed a degree or transferred during the same time frame.

Student participation in joint enrollment in Iowa schools has experienced an average annual growth rate of 5.8% since 2004, although participation differs by district, state officials said. In total, 51,800 students were jointly enrolled during the 2019-20 school year.

Metrics for the study on joint enrollment were collected from Iowa’s 15 community colleges.

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