High school graduates may be attending college in great numbers, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily ready for higher education.
According to Complete College America, a Washington-based nonprofit aimed at increasing college completion, 4 in 10 high school graduates are required to take remedial courses when they start college. Additionally, Two-thirds of those students attending four-year colleges in Ohio and Kentucky fail to earn their degrees within six years: a number that is on par with national statistics.
College completion rates are even lower at two-year and community colleges. In Ohio and Kentucky, only 6.4 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, of remedial students earn an associate’s degree in three years. The rest either require more than three years, or withdraw.
Researchers say that remedial numbers have increased from nearly one-third of incoming college freshmen in 2001, to about 40 percent currently. The most common remedial -- otherwise known as “developmental” -- classes are math, English and writing, and many students are unaware that they need theses courses until they start planning their schedules and colleges decide who is required to take placement tests.
About 1.7 million students across the United States take remedial classes, a cost of $3 billion a year since developmental courses often cost as much as regular college courses.
“It’s not efficient to be using those higher education dollars for remedial coursework,” Miguel Ocacio, student at DePaul University, told Le Prestige. “It’s not only more difficult and more expensive, it also makes students feel like they can't compete with the other kids.”
The ACT indicates only about a third of high school students are college-ready, yet around two-thirds of them are college-bound every year.
Even high school grads who earned As and Bs in honors courses are in need of remedial coursework. A national survey showed four out of five students in college remediation had high school GPAs above a 3.0.
According to Chicago’s high school progress reports last October, just 22 percent of students graduating from the city’s high schools in 2011 were prepared for college coursework.
In January, the New York Post reported that nearly eight out of 10 high school graduates in New York City who enrolled at CUNY community colleges last fall were deemed unable to do college-level work and ultimately required to take remedial classes.