Ohio Colleges to Cut Remedial Courses to Save Money

Remedial courses help four out of ten college freshman in Ohio, but now the Board of Regents want to cut the amount of classes that teach what students should have learned in high school, in an attempt to save universities and students money.

Statewide, a quarter of all freshmen attending four-year universities and 60 percent of freshman at two-year colleges have to take a Developmental Education class, writes Ida Lieszkovszky at WKSU.

Kim Norris, a spokesperson for the Ohio Board Regents, believes that the problem lies at high school level.

"That's high for students taking at least one remedial course. So that needs to be addressed."

This is a nationwide issue – remedial classes are expensive for the university and the students that take them. However, in an attempt to cut these costs, many colleges are now seeking to inform high schools what they need to teach so their graduates are college ready rather than spend to offer the education themselves.

Charisma Hawkins is a freshman, and she doesn't feel ready. She said:

"My high school didn't really prepare me so when I got to these new classes I'm like well I don't really know how to do some of this stuff because I wasn't taught this so the developmental classes are definitely there to help you prepare for a higher level of learning."

Norris said:

"Right now in Ohio, in the last couple of years, for example in 2009 about $130 million was spent on remedial work at the college level, and in 2010 it went up to $147 million so it's not trending the right way."

College students who have to take remedial classes are statistically more likely to drop out. And even those that don't drop out, are having to face the greater mountain of spending even more time at university to complete their degree.

Norris recognizes this, and she explains that this is why the Board of Regents has asked the heads of Ohio's colleges to come up with a definition of remedial education – the first step in a long process to start phasing out remedial classes from four-year universities, starting in 2014, writes Lieszkovszky.

Thomas Sudkamp, assistant provost for undergraduate studies at Wright State, says that high schools want to help.

He cites the relationship between Wright State and two Dayton area high schools:

"One of the things that we're trying to do is to really reach out early and get the students before they come on campus or before the fall term if they come early in the summer to remediate some of the work."

And while it is the college's duty to educate their students – including those students who need a little more help – Wright State is considering drawing the line, says Sudkamp.

He explains that they'll draw this line by quite simply not accepting those students who cannot cannot complete their remedial education in a semester.

A report by the Ohio Board of Regents is expected within the next few weeks.

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