Early College, Continued Success: Early College High School Initiative Impact Study (2014)
In 2013, AIR released the report, Early College, Early Success: Early College High School Initiative Impact Study. The report was a comprehensive examination of two research questions. It relied on many data sources to examine high school and post-high-school outcomes as well as high school experiences. This report uses an additional year of postsecondary data from NSC to provide updated findings for several key postsecondary outcomes.
Overall, 81 percent of Early College students enrolled in college, compared with 72 percent of comparison students. During the study period, 25 percent of Early College students earned a college degree (typically an associate’s degree), as compared with only 5 percent of comparison students. The authors noted that students in the study were between two and four years out of high school so many would not have had time to complete their bachelor’s degrees.
Although the findings from this study are applicable only to the 10 Early Colleges included in the study sample, they provide strong evidence for the positive impact of Early Colleges on students. The findings in this report, which extend the study’s original results by including an additional year of data, affirm the core findings: Early College students had a greater opportunity than their peers to enroll in and graduate from college. They also appeared to be on a different academic trajectory, with Early College students earning college degrees at higher rates than comparison students. In addition, Early Colleges appeared to mitigate the traditional educational attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Early College students were benefitting from their Early College experience beyond high school, and AIR expects these benefits to continue.