Taking College Courses While Still in High School: Peralta Colleges Reach Forward with Dual Enrollment


By Tamika Brown

Peralta Colleges (Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College) are seeking to close equity gaps and remove the economic barriers to higher education through early college initiatives such as dual enrollment. Dual enrollment is when current high school students take college courses during or after school providing a pathway to college and an orientation to the level of rigor and critical thinking needed to excel in college.

In partnership with our K-12 unified school districts (Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley), including charter schools, students can earn high school and college credits simultaneously for a course or series of courses. Nationally, low-income youth and historically under-represented populations in higher education take more college level classes when offered at a local high school site. High school students who complete even a single college class are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, persist in college, and complete an Associate’s degree or higher degree.

In 2015, the Peralta Community College District launched its Early College Dual Enrollment Pilot Program with our K-12 partners. Today, we offer one of the largest dual enrollment programs in the Bay Area, with over 1,500 high school students enrolled in a college level course. We are building pathways for high school students to attend college and to achieve career readiness by offering transferable classes connected to degrees and/or certificates offered at the Peralta Colleges.

Why should every parent or guardian consider dual enrollment options for their high school student? Dual enrollment is free and provides access to early college credit! Most dual enrollment courses are conveniently offered on the high school campus.

All registration fees, tuition and lab fees are waived for dual enrollment students (up to 11 units per semester). All services available to regular college students, such as use of the Library and Tutoring Center, are also available to dual enrolled students. Textbooks are purchased by the participating public high schools.

Dual enrollment lowers the cost of postsecondary education for students by enabling them to earn free college credits and shorten their time to degree completion. Additionally, the James Irvine Foundation noted that dual enrollment helps retain underperforming students by offering career-focused college pathways which can lead to certificate or degree achievement.

Our dual enrolled program has been very successful in terms of expanding successful student outcomes. During the 2015-16 academic year, the overall retention and success rates for dual enrolled courses were 92 percent and 78 percent respectively. Here’s what our students are saying about the dual enrollment collaborative program with our K-12 partners:

“This class was a great experience for me because I was thinking about majoring in this subject in college, but I was on the fence. Now that I have taken the class I have an idea about what to expect.”

“This was an awesome experience, it really prepared me for my future college classes and I believe I’m really ready for it.”

In Fall 2018, students will have the opportunity to increase their dual enrollment credits by receiving one additional year of tuition “free” education at Peralta Colleges fulfilling the California Promise (Assembly Bill 19, signed into law by Governor Brown).

For more information, please contact your K-12 Principal or the Peralta Community College District Enrollment Services at (510) 587-7875, or look online at http://web.peralta.edu/admissions/enrollment-steps/high-school-students/.

Tamika Brown is the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Services, Peralta Community College District. 


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