Submitted by ub on Thu, 06/27/2013 - 16:18

US Students who wind up attending college after a couple of high school years by earning credit toward a college degree while they finish high school, are more likely to graduate, go to college, and earn a degree, concludes a by American Institutes for Research.

The AIR study examined 10 schools that were part of the Early College High School Initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2002 and was designed to keep students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, from dropping out of high school and to give them better opportunities to succeed in college.

The same research indicated that 86 percent of students in early-college high schools graduated, compared with 81 percent of their peers. It also found that college enrollment among early-college students outpaced such enrollment in the study’s comparison group, especially at two-year institutions: 59 percent of early-college students enrolled at two-year institutions, compared with 38 percent of the comparison group.

The study also found that 54 percent of early-college students enrolled at four-year institutions, compared with 47 percent of their peers. And the study found that early-college students were significantly more likely than were their peers in the comparison group to earn college degrees, though almost all were associate degrees.

Key findings include:

Early College students were significantly more like to graduate from high school than comparison students. Eighty-six percent of Early College students graduated from high school and 81 percent of comparison students graduated from high school.

Early College students were significantly more likely to enroll in college than comparison students. During the study period, 80 percent of Early College students enrolled, compared with 71 percent for comparison students. Early College students were also more likely than comparison students to enroll in both two-year and in four-year colleges or universities.

Early College students were significantly more likely to earn a college degree than comparison students. Up to one year past high school, 21 percent of Early College students earned a college degree (typically, an associate’s degree), compared to only 1 percent for comparison students. Because they start earning college credits in high school, Early College students should complete college degrees earlier than comparison students.

The impact of Early College on high school graduation and college enrollment did not differ significantly based on gender, race/ethnicity, family income, first-generation college-going status, or pre-high school achievement. The impact on earning a college degree was stronger for female, minority and lower income students than for their counterparts.

The findings provide strong evidence for the positive impact of Early Colleges on students. Early College students had a greater opportunity than their peers to enroll in and graduate from college. They also appeared to be on a different academic trajectory, with Early College students earning college degrees and enrolling in four-year institutions at higher rates than comparison students. In addition, Early Colleges appeared to mitigate the traditional educational attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students.

The ten Early Colleges examined used admissions lotteries for the academic years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08. The overall study sample included 2,458 students. The primary student outcomes for the study were high school graduation, college enrollment, and college degree attainment. Data came from administrative records from schools, districts, and states; the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC); and a survey administered to students. Due to privacy concerns, the Early Colleges are not identified in the study.

17 year old Yiliang Chen says "in the system, I am a graduate" He is ecstatic and delighted to be one of the students, who graduated early. He graduated from Lehman High School with NYC Chancellor's Honors and has also been accepted to The SUNY University System.

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AIR Author(s): Andrea Berger, Project Director; Lori Turk-Bicakci, Deputy Project Director; Michael Garet, Principal Investigator; Mengli Song, Joel Knudson, Clarisse Haxton, Kristina Zeiser, Gur Hoshen, Jennifer Ford, Jennifer Stephan; SRI International Authors: Kaeli Keating, Lauren Cassidy - See more at:…