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Higher Ed in the News

Push to end need for pre-college remedial classes

May 29, 2009

More than a million college freshmen across the nation must take remedial courses each year, and many drop out before getting a degree.

The stimulus law that Obama signed in February requires states receiving stabilization money to work to improve courses and tests so that high school graduates can succeed in college without remedial classes.

Experts called the new requirements an important shift in federal policy, which until now has focused on promoting college access and financial aid.

“This is a breakthrough, the first time we’ve had federal policies try to move the public schools and the postsecondary systems closer together by demanding preparation in high school and persistence in college,” said Michael Kirst, a Stanford University professor emeritus who has studied the proliferation of remedial courses on American campuses.

More than 60 percent of students enrolling at two-year colleges, and 20 percent to 30 percent at four-year colleges, take remedial courses, Dr. Kirst estimated..

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Read the full story from the New York Times.