English learners in California are less likely to attend and complete college than students fluent in English. This report looks at how to increase opportunities for English learners to take college courses while they are still in high school, a strategy known as dual enrollment.
The report finds that English learners face several obstacles for enrolling in college courses during high school, including low expectations from school staff, full schedules that require language support classes that make it harder for them to enroll in college courses, and uneven access to information.
The authors recommend several strategies to increase English learners’ enrollment in college courses. Districts should provide opportunities for English learners to enroll in advanced college language courses in their primary languages, as well as bringing college ESL courses into high schools to count for both high school and college credit. In addition, the authors find that proactive outreach to students and parents is crucial, and that it can make a big difference for districts to set an expectation that all students, including English learners, complete at least one or two dual enrollment courses before high school graduation.