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Access College Early (ACE) dual enrollment scholarship recipients in Nebraska: A mixed methods study

Carna J Pfeil, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This mixed methods sequential explanatory study was conducted for two purposes: (a) to determine the number of low-income Nebraska high school students who participated in the state funded Access College Early (ACE) dual enrollment program and subsequently enrolled in college, and (b) to explore the factors related to dual enrollment participation of dually enrolled low-income ACE students and their subsequent enrollment in college. The population for this study consisted of 220 senior ACE scholarship recipients in 2007-08. Dual enrollment in high school and subsequent college enrollment, with a concentration on low-income students, had not been researched in Nebraska and minimally in other research studies. The researcher deemed that both quantitative and qualitative research methods would provide a more complete analysis.^ The quantitative phase determined a significant difference between the college-going rates of Nebraska low-income high school students who received ACE scholarships to dual enroll in classes and those students who did not receive an ACE scholarship. Furthermore, the analyses determined that only one factor, grade point average (GPA), was predictive of Nebraska low-income ACE students’ subsequent enrollment in college.^ The qualitative case study involved interviews with ten low-income ACE dual enrollment students. The qualitative phase explained the factors or influences the students cited as encouragement to participate in dual enrollment courses and subsequently enroll in college. Six themes emerged from the qualitative phase: (a) dual enrollment was an opportunity, saved money, and provided a head start; (b) family, friends, and extended family were sources of encouragement; (c) dual enrollment encouraged enrollment in college; (d) scholarships were critical; (e) teachers and counselors were instrumental; and (f) participants expressed strong self-motivation and inner drive.^

Subject Area

Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Secondary|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Pfeil, Carna J, "Access College Early (ACE) dual enrollment scholarship recipients in Nebraska: A mixed methods study" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3388974.