How Accelerated Coursework Contributes to Increased Postsecondary Attainment in Florida

<< Back to Latest

Individuals who complete a postsecondary degree experience higher lifetime earnings and are less reliant on public assistance programs. In Florida, however, only 44.7 percent of working-age adults hold an associate degree or higher. While attainment rates among Asian and white Floridians are higher than the state average, rates for Hispanic, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Black residents remain significantly below.

How do we address the postsecondary degree attainment gap? Offering accelerated coursework in high school is one avenue.

In our latest research brief, How Accelerated Coursework Contributes to Increased Postsecondary Attainment in Florida, Helios Education Foundation and WestEd examined the relationship between accelerated course-taking for public high school graduates—specifically, Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment (DE)—and college access and success at institutions in the Florida College and State University systems.

Data found the influence of accelerated coursework-taking impactful for all students. In fact, students who took a DE course were 2.4x more likely to attend college and 1.7x more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than those who did not enroll in rigorous courses. The impact is most considerable among students of color. Black students who took DE courses in high school were 1.3x more likely to attend and 1.6x more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree. While Black students see the greatest postsecondary result from accelerated coursework, they are the least likely to enroll.

State funding covers the cost of enrollment in any AP or DE course for students attending a public high school in the state of Florida. However, cost is not the only barrier. So too is access.