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Systems theory analysis of low-income high school students affording college dual credit

Currey, Rebecca Anne (2021) Systems theory analysis of low-income high school students affording college dual credit. Doctoral thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Dual credit has become a recent phenomenon in high schools and early college high school programs. The growing popularity of dual credit requires an increase in collaborative efforts between secondary and postsecondary entities. State and local policies are expanding to reflect the growing popularity, but little research exists on the complex interconnectedness of the two entities. This study was conducted to examine the complex system of dual credit financial policy and how that information is disseminated to low SES students affording financial access to dual credit. Dual credit classes are offered at a reduced cost, giving students the opportunity to earn college credits with significant savings, while also lessening the time to degree attainment. In further examination, this study will look at policy as it guides equitable access for students taking dual credit courses, including low-income students. Despite reduced cost and scholarship opportunities, the cost of the class, fees, and textbook remain a barrier for some low SES students. The researcher conducted a qualitative case study of administration and faculty who work with dual credit at an accelerated high school in Texas. The study was built with the guiding question, “What financial opportunities are available for low-income students to gain financial assistance while taking dual credit courses, and how is that information being disseminated?” This question further analyzed the institutional financial policies and procedures in place to advise students of financial opportunities for taking dual credit courses. The theoretical framework of this study utilized systems theory to unpack the complex interconnectedness of the program between the high school and college. As this study sought to understand the interconnectedness of the dual credit system between the high school and college, data were collected using interviews. The interview questions were written after review of PEIMS data. The findings from this study indicate that students at the site of the case study are responsible for the payment of dual credit courses. The only financial opportunity available to cover the cost of tuition is the Free Reduced Grant, which is only offered to those who qualify for free or reduced lunch. This grant does not cover the cost of textbooks or additional fees associated with dual credit courses. This information is documented in the Memorandum of Understanding, which is posted on the College and Career Readiness website. Jean High School shares this information at eighth grade recruitment meetings. For those interested, communication becomes an on-going piece with email and parent meeting nights. Keywords: dual credit, low SES, Accelerated, equitable access

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: dual credit; equitable access; low SES; Texas
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Education > Educational Leadership
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2022 19:18
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 19:18
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5628

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