digiLEARN founder Gov. Bev Perdue wrote an opinion piece featured in The 74. Below is an excerpt. Read the full piece here.
As with all aspects of our education system, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and widened inequities in postsecondary pathways, especially for the most underserved students.
According to recent data, undergraduate college enrollment rates declined by nearly 5 percent since last year across all types of postsecondary institutions. Community colleges took the brunt of this decline, with a nearly 10 percent decrease in enrollment in total and an even higher percentage of decline among Latino students (13.7 percent). Not only does this decline widen the gap between four-year and community college enrollments, it also heavily impacts low-income communities and communities of color, who have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of COVID-19.
Dual enrollment offers one opportunity to repair high school-to-college pathways and level the playing field for students coming out of the pandemic. Participation in dual enrollment programs introduces high school students to rigorous college-level material and allows them to get ahead on their postsecondary coursework. Research also shows that taking college courses in high school benefits Black, Latino and low-income students, improving college grades, college graduation rates and attainment of technical degrees.