Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Administration and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Kent Seidel, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susan Korach

Third Advisor

Ryan Gildersleeve

Fourth Advisor

Douglas Allen


Accelerated programs, Concurrent enrollment, Dual credit, Dual enrollment, Postsecondary educational opportunities, Poverty, Social capital


Poverty has been linked to reduced workforce opportunities, reduced collegegoing rates, increased social-emotional challenges, and even negative health consequences. Postsecondary educational opportunities, offered during high school, that contribute to the acquisition of social capital may improve academic outcomes for students from impoverished backgrounds. The Colorado concurrent enrollment legislation, provides one opportunity for students to enroll in college level coursework and receive college credits with tuition being paid through state funding while in high school. Concurrent enrollment (CE) programs support the college application, financial aid and enrollment processes. Most importantly, they also support the development of social networks that may foster beneficial secondary and postsecondary outcomes. This dissertation examines the participation and representation rates of free and reduced lunch (FRL) students in CE programs at the state and local level. Next, the impact of CE participation on secondary and postsecondary outcomes in students from impoverished backgrounds is examined. The quasi-experimental research design included a matched control group generated by logistic regression and propensity score matching techniques. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to estimate unaccounted for variance that may have contributed to any observed between-group differences. Between-group differences were examined for a range of outcomes at the high school and postsecondary level. The study analysis was replicated utilizing two additional groups of program participants across two years to increase confidence in the obtained findings.

Overall, the findings indicate that FRL students were underrepresented as concurrent enrollment participants during the 2010 and 2011 academic years. A limited number of local education agencies had FRL student participation rates that exceeded enrollment expectations. Statistical analysis indicated that FRL students earned CE credits at a lower rate than their non-eligible peers. In contrast, the FRL students enrolled for a larger number of CE credits than non-eligible students. Additional analysis revealed that a number of positive secondary and postsecondary outcomes were related to concurrent enrollment participation for economically disadvantaged students. The results of sensitivity analyses indicate that other, unaccounted for variables were unlikely to have impacted the obtained findings.

The findings of this study indicate that concurrent enrollment opportunities may mitigate some of the deleterious impacts of poverty by improving academic achievement and college-going rates. The beneficial role of social capital for achievement of postsecondary success is discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Dan D. Jorgensen

File size

119 p.

File format





Education policy, Educational evaluation, Education