Can state policies reduce racial disparities in the time-to-degree? Examining the interconnected role of statewide articulation agreements with dual enrollment

Insights Report
Research Report

Many students take considerably longer than four years to complete a bachelor’s degree, incurring additional costs and delaying their entry into the workforce.


Dual enrollment, which allows high school students to earn college credit while completing high school requirements, offers a promising way to shorten time-to-degree. For the benefit to be realized, however, the student’s subsequent institution must accept the credits for coursework completed. Likewise, students who take classes at two-year colleges for dual enrollment and later attend a four-year college may lose their credits unless there is an articulation agreement in place to facilitate credit transfer. This paper examines how Georgia’s 2012 statewide articulation agreement affected on-time degree completion for students who took dual enrollment coursework at two-year colleges, including differences by race and dual enrollment course type.

Key Insights

  • Articulation implementation has a positive effect on the timely bachelor’s degree completion of dual enrollment participants.
  • The policy effect is conditional on race, as Georgia’s articulation agreement had no statistically significant effect for Black students.
  • Differences by race do occur, however, based on where students take dual enrollment courses and the types of courses taken.
  • States seeking to enhance their graduation rates through dual enrollment may benefit from statewide articulation agreements, but additional support and advising may be needed to help Black students choose dual enrollment courses suited to their goals.

Black students who participate in dual enrollment, compared to other racial groups, are found to complete fewer transferable courses.


Using Georgia’s Academic and Workforce Analysis and Research Data System, the researchers analyzed data on 25,337 students who enrolled at a University System of Georgia institution as first-time freshmen between 2008 and 2015 and took dual enrollment classes at either a Technical College System of Georgia or University System of Georgia institution during high school.

Dual enrollment credit hours in transferable coursework


George Spencer

University of Georgia

Alex Monday

University of Georgia

Renni Turpin

University of Georgia

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