Adult Dual Enrollment through Ability to Benefit




United States

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NCTN provides technical assistance to state systems to scale and sustain Ability to Benefit. The Wisconsin Technical College System ATB Toolkit is a prime example of our technical support of state champions engaging their colleagues to create actionable guidance. NCTN also works within local ATB efforts, bringing partners into dialogue on creating the policies and practices to support adult dual enrollment.

Twenty-seven million US adults lack a high school diploma or equivalent. People of color are significantly overrepresented in this number at 20% — double the rate of whites. Providing accelerated access to dual enrollment in high school diploma/equivalent programs and postsecondary education is a racial imperative. It’s also an economic one. Adults without a high school diploma or equivalent earn on average $553/week — less than half the average of those with a bachelor’s degree and far too little to adequately support themselves or a family.

A Pell Grant of $6,345 (2020-2021 level) can make a world of difference for a low-income adult student. This is an equivalent amount to what they would earn working a $12/hour job 20 hours per week for one whole school year (two semesters). This aid essentially buys freedom for adult students to attend classes full-time, study more, participate in supplemental academic activities, and take care of themselves with adequate sleep and reduced stress–all of which improve their chances of retention and completion.

The economic impact of closing the door to postsecondary education on adults without a high school diploma or equivalent extends to employers and the economies in our communities. Most good jobs in today’s economy require some sort of postsecondary education, and this requirement will only increase into the future. Adult education dual enrollment efforts need to be widely implemented to support local economies and communities.

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World Education strives to build lasting relationships with partners across diverse geographic regions and technical sectors to produce better education outcomes for all.