Cash-strapped universities look at cutting remedial classes

Remedial courses that prepare students for college-level work are in danger as states and schools look for cheaper alternatives.

As finals approached, nearly 240 students in a computer lab worked through basic algebra problems at Ohio’s Kent State University, where they and more than 3,200 of their classmates had been deemed unprepared for college-level math. They struggled to solve for x in equations such as 3x + 1 = 7, a skill students are meant to master in middle school.

Just down the hallway, university officials were trying to crunch a few numbers of their own, analyzing how much it’d cost to keep providing such remedial education to students who don’t arrive ready for college-level work.

The annual price tag for remedial education in American colleges and universities is at least $3.6 billion, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. It’s also a reason that many college students quit in frustration, contributing to high dropout rates.…Read More

Ed-tech grant program aims to boost college readiness

The Educause-backed program will fund ed-tech projects designed to make high school graduates college ready.
The Educause-backed program will fund ed-tech projects designed to make high school graduates college ready.

Six months after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pumped $3.6 million into a national certification program for teachers of remedial college courses, a new initiative will dole out grants to education-technology projects aimed at improving college readiness, especially among low-income students.

The Next Gen Learning Challenges program, launched in late June and headed by nonprofit education technology supporter Educause, will aim to raise America’s high school graduation rate – which hovers around 50 percent among Hispanic, African American, and low-income students – and ensure that college freshmen are ready for higher education without having to take non-credit-bearing remedial classes.

Only half of Americans who enroll in a postsecondary school will earn a degree, according to national statistics, with as few as 25 percent of low-income students completing a degree program.…Read More