Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-10-2019


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name



Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Gary Shank

Committee Member

Launcelot Brown

Committee Member

Stanley Denton


Dual Enrollment, Underserved Students, Underrepresentation, Equity, College and Career Readiness and Success, Inadequate Preparation, Poor Funding, Dynamics, Cultural and Social Capital, Validation


This study examines dual enrollment activities and their impact with a focus on equitable recruitment, persistence, and targeted success mechanisms for Black students and students from low-income families. The lived experiences of four former students from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds, and the perspectives of ten dual enrollment practitioners garnered from a purposeful sampling of two Southwestern Pennsylvania universities inform the study. A qualitative approach examines interviews, focus group, and survey data through thematic investigative interpretation to yield common and unique experiences and perspectives relevant to recruitment processes, funding, support systems, and observed outcomes. The findings indicate how adequate preparation, broad-based access, quality opportunity, academic, financial, and psycho-social support hold the keys to equitable recruitment, persistence, and success of both Black and low-income students in dual enrollment programs. Other components are a congenial learning environment, familial/community involvement, the efficacy of the programs as well as close co-operation and communication between high schools and post-secondary institutions. The research found how these dynamics, components, features coupled with other soft skills enable underserved students to acquire knowledge, capacity, and competencies that make for college and career readiness and success. The study presents recommendations meant to improve the equitable recruitment and targeted success of underserved student populations in dual enrollment programs.