Students who take college courses while in high school are more likely than their peers to graduate, to go on to college, and to do well in college, an Ivy League study suggests.

The courses appear to be especially beneficial for male students, students from low-income families, and those who struggled academically in high school, according to a study done by Columbia University.

Dual-enrollment programs have increased in popularity in recent years as policy makers strive to increase the rigor of secondary education. Analyzing statewide data from Florida, the researchers found that students who took college courses in high school were slightly more likely than their peers to earn a high-school diploma and were 16.8 percent more likely to go on to college. They were 7.7 percent more likely to enroll in a four-year institution and were also more likely to enroll full time, which generally correlates with better outcomes in college.

Once in college, former dual-enrollment students were more likely to stay enrolled and to have significantly higher grade-point averages, even after two years in college.

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