Data Story

Dual Credit Data Story

Hawaiʻi’s Public Investment in Increasing College Access and Success

Published: October 2023
Sectors: K–12 Postsecondary

Dual credit programs allow high school students to enroll in college classes and earn credit toward high school graduation and a college degree. By exposing participants to college coursework, dual credit programs ease the transition to college, particularly for traditionally underrepresented students. These programs aim to increase the rate of college-going and successful college attainment for all participants.

This data story illustrates the dual credit journey of Hawaiʻi public schools.

A Brief History

Pre-Early College

Prior to 2011-2012
The main dual credit opportunity was the Running Start program, in which students enrolled at University of Hawaiʻi (UH) campuses alongside regularly-enrolled students and earned both high school and college credit.

Early College Pilot

Early College, a program which allows students to take UH classes at their own high school, was developed to address some of the transportation, scheduling, and financial barriers that prevented students from taking college classes previously.

Early College Expansion

After 2017
Funding from the Hawaiʻi State Legislature supported the continued expansion of the Early College Program for public schools.

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How have dual credit programs expanded in Hawaiʻi over the last decade?

Dual credit opportunities have greatly expanded thanks to public investment in Early College.


Dual credit participation among public high school students greatly increased from School Year 2014-2015 (14-15) to 2021-2022 (21-22).


Public high schools with Early College classes increased to 57 schools since 2014-2015 (14-15).

Grade Level

An increasing number of students from the lower grade levels are taking dual credit courses.


The number of unique dual credit courses taken by public high school students per school has increased 41% since 2014-2015.

RankCourse# Enrolled
1ENGLISH 1001,197
3SPEECH 151394
4HISTORY 152298
7MATH 103192
10MATH 100156
357 Other Courses4,955

Statewide Participation

Dual credit programs have expanded to benefit students across the entire State of Hawai‘i.

Note: Click on the arrows to toggle the years 2014–2015 and 2021–2022.


1,915 public high school students participated in dual credit programs, representing 3.8% of students in Grades 9-12.


4,507 public high school students participated in dual credit programs, representing 8.8% of students in Grades 9–12.

UH Campus

Public High School Students Served


To what degree have dual credit programs reached Hawaiʻi’s diverse student population?

Hawaiʻi’s public high schools serve a diverse student body.

NOTE: Graphs in this section show the statewide percentage of dual credit participants as a reference.
The sub-group(s) whose percent is above the statewide line indicate that the population is over-represented relative to the other sub-group(s).


While males makes up 52% of public high school students, females are more likely than males to participate.


There are race/ethnicity differences in participation rates among dual credit students. Over the eight years of data represented in this graph, growth has been strongest for populations that are underrepresented in higher education including Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders.

Economically Disadvantaged

While more than 40% of public school high school students are economically disadvantaged, participation rates have grown faster for non-disadvantaged students.

English Learners (EL)

EL students represent less than 10% of public school students. EL participation rates have increased over time from a low of 0.5% in School Year 2016-2017 to 3.9% in 2021-2022.


Are dual credit participants in Hawaiʻi more likely to attend and successfully complete college?


The proportion of public high school graduates participating in dual credit increased from 10% of the Class of 2015 to 22% of the Class of 2022.

Graduates First Fall College Enrollment Rate

Historically, the proportion of dual credit public high school graduates enrolling into college the first fall after high school graduation has been about 29% higher than graduates who do not participate in dual credit.

NOTE: Classes of 2020 – 2022 were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

College Enrollment

Graduates participating in dual credit are more likely than non-participants to attend college at an UH campus or on the continent.

Campuses Attended

Dual Credit Participants
Public High School Class of 2022
UH Campuses Attended%
UH Mānoa18%
Leeward Community College5%
Kapiʻolani Community College4%
UH Hilo4%
Maui College3%
Kauaʻi Community College3%
Windward Community College3%
Hawaiʻi Community College2%
UH West Oʻahu2%
Honolulu Community College1%
BOLD – UH 4 Year Campuses
Dual Credit Non-Participants
Public High School Class of 2022
UH Campuses Attended%
UH Mānoa8%
Leeward Community College4%
Kapiʻolani Community College4%
Maui College2%
Windward Community College2%
Hawaiʻi Community College2%
Honolulu Community College2%
Kauaʻi Community College1%
UH Hilo1%
UH West Oʻahu1%
BOLD – UH 4 Year Campuses

Enrollment and Completion

Graduates participating in dual credit are more likely than non-participants to enroll in college within 6 years of completing high school and earn a college award.

NOTE: These values are for the Class of 2015 – Class of 2021 pooled together.

Enrollment within 6 years

The portion of graduates that enrolled in college within 6 years of completing high school is 89% for dual credit graduates compared to 66% for non-dual credit graduates.

College Award with 6 years

The portion of graduates that earned a college award within 6 years of completing high school is: 57% for dual credit graduates compared to 31% for non-dual credit graduates.

Key Findings

  • Expansion

    Dual credit opportunities have expanded widely across the state. A concerted effort is being made to strengthen the overall Early College experience for students, including more intentionally connecting Early College courses with college and career pathways, embedding dual credit program supports, and incorporating college and career counseling/advising to guide students in pursuing their goals.  Additionally, work is being done to ensure that students in rural/remote communities have equitable access to dual credit opportunities.

  • Impact

    Students who participate in dual credit opportunities have significantly higher rates of college enrollment, persistence, and degree completion. Further analysis is needed to understand the impact of dual credit participation on students who may not initially see themselves as “college bound” and to examine the factors that may lead some dual credit participants to not enroll in college the first fall after their high school graduation.

  • Underrepresented Students

    Dual credit participation rates by students from underrepresented populations have increased and will continue to be a focus area. Future work will explore how to employ recruitment strategies and support services to ensure that males, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, English Learners, and economically disadvantaged students have equitable access to and greater probabilities of success in dual credit programs.

  • Academic Readiness

    Academic preparation is particularly important in fostering equitable participation in dual credit opportunities. Further discussion and collaborative work between secondary and postsecondary partners should occur to ensure that more students, particularly those from underrepresented populations, are ready for the rigors of college coursework.

Note: Due to the different student matching process that DXP uses, dual credit participant numbers in this dual credit data story may not completely align to individual UH or HIDOE reports.

Interested in more resources about dual credit?

Please visit the Hawaiʻi dual credit website or contact Nicole Atwood at and Wendi Vincent at

The 2023 Data Summit presentation, Moving the Needle: Effective Uses of Data in Evolving and Growing Hawaiʻi’s Early College Program, provides an excellent view into how data is being used to make decisions around the Early College program.

The creation of this data story was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant 84.372A (Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems) to the Hawai‘i State Department of Education. The opinions expressed are those of Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.