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Parents, Students Paying $1.5 Billion A Year for Remedial College Courses


April 12, 2016
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
What happens when half a million students are forced to take zero credit, remedial college courses? Parents and students must pay roughly $1.5 million and borrow $350 billion extra a year - even if 74 percent of those students end up delaying college or dropping out. Not only does it break the bank for low-income families, but yes, the affluent families as well. Who's to blame for college unpreparedness?

What happens when half a million students are forced to take zero credit, remedial college courses? Parents and students must pay roughly $1.5 million and borrow $350 billion extra a year - even if 74 percent of those students end up delaying college or dropping out. Not only does it break the bank for low-income families, but yes, the affluent families as well. Who's to blame for college unpreparedness?

According to a new report by researchers at Education Reform Now, "American families across all income levels are spending billions each year in extra college costs." Though the common perception is that remedial courses are only available for low-income students or community colleges, it extends to middle, upper-middle, high-income, and many colleges of well. In particular, some of the most affluent students at private nonprofit four-year colleges (the top 20 percent) are taking more remedial courses than students from the bottom 20 percent of national family incomes. Statistics show that over $12,000 extra has been spent by unprepared students from the top income quintile (incomes over $113,440) attending private nonprofit institutions. On average, about $3,000 is paid extra, and $1,000 borrowed to complete remedial courses. Additionally, unprepared students are more likely to delay completing college - or simply drop out. The issue of college unpreparedness is not limited to minority or low-income students, but it penetrates all income levels.

But who's to blame? Researchers point to the "expansive failure of our K-12 education system" and recommend giving secondary assessment when accessing college readiness. Some believe that we are focusing on the wrong topics and should, for example, teach statistics and not algebra since it will be more practical and useful post-college. Others blame the way in which students are evaluated through the "traditional method of scoring." Proponents of the Common Core State Standards, including President Obama and even some conservative allies believe that the "common-sense logic" is premised on the skills necessary to successfully participate and compete in the 21st-century economy and global market. Some schools have already addressed the issue by implementing a "corequisite remediation" model which allows students to take for-credit courses while being enrolled in a "learning support class to help them master the material."

Should both high schools and students be held accountable for their college readiness? Remedial courses are depleting students' financial aid and savings, and have them asking professors whether they know of any scholarships that are intended to help students who have run out of financial aid. You can count on ample scholarship opportunities here at Scholarships.com to leave you financially prepared for college costs. From easy scholarships where you hardly have to do anything to essay scholarships, you have the chance to help fund your higher education dreams.

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Ellen  on  4/18/2016 1:40:53 PM commented:

I see that as a really big problem! Our public school system needs to be restructured to stop this trend. How awful for families that PAY for private education only to realize that the private school failed them! Fortunately, that was not the case for my family as my 2 children attend one of each (daughter - public; son-private). Both took AP classes and received scholarships to attend college.

Max  on  4/13/2016 6:28:00 AM commented:

That is crazy but very true. They did not accept my credits from community college and made me take remedial classes and I had to pay for that myself. It was a waste of time really

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