Luzerne County Community College has seen 20 percent growth in its dual enrollment program since the 2015-16 academic year, and many of these students are returning after high school graduation to earn a degree or certificate at the college.
Dual enrollment allows high school students to enroll at a local community college and receive college credit while they are still in high school. In the past ten years, dual enrollment at Pennsylvania community colleges has grown by more than 85 percent. Last year, more than 17,000 high school students enrolled at Pennsylvania community colleges through dual enrollment.
Dual enrollment holds great potential for improving college access and completion rates, in addition to lowering the cost of postsecondary education for students and their families. Luzerne County Community College is leveraging this knowledge to better serve students in their geographic footprint.
Rosana Reyes, MPA-IG, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Luzerne County Community College, is tracking the data on returning dual enrollment students – and seeing favorable results.
“Early college or dual enrollment students are increasingly returning to Luzerne County Community College over time,” she said. “We are seeing many either delay their college start after high school or enroll at other postsecondary institutions, only to return and complete here.”
Trends indicate that as many as half of dually enrolled students at Luzerne County Community College could matriculate over a five year period.
These positive trends are being noticed. In 2018, Luzerne County Community College won a national Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation for the College Ready Math Program, which is part of its dual enrollment curriculum. The program was developed to help high school students enhance their college-ready math skill level. In addition to Ms. Reyes, Mary Ellen Jolley, Off-Campus Programs Specialist, and Nicole Saporito, Professor and Chairperson of Mathematics and Engineering, were also honored.
“The commitment of these Luzerne County Community College team members to the students we serve is unparalleled,” said Tom Leary, President of the college. “While we pride ourselves on providing quality, affordable education, these individuals have truly gone above and beyond.”
“We’re very interested expanding dual enrollment possibilities, both at Luzerne County Community College and other community colleges across the Commonwealth,” summarized Ms. Reyes. “This type of benchmark data will help validate our efforts and allow us to better support students.”