- The California State University System is replacing remedial classes with credit-bearing courses that span two semesters with support classes offered in tandem as a way to help more students at its 23 campuses graduate faster, and with fewer costs, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The decision is part of the university's system-wide Graduation Initiative 2025, a $450 million effort to raise the four-year graduation rate to 40% and the six-year rate to 70% by 2025. The initiative has received $150 million from the state so far, supporting the addition of academic advisers and professors as well as improved mentoring programs.
- Dropping remedial courses and graduating students faster means the university will have more spots available for new students. Through the initiative, the system has added 4,300 new courses and opened up 90,000 seats.
Colleges rethinking the role of remedial classes will have to consider the amount of time students are willing to spend in college as well as the costs of developmental and supplemental classes.
A report on remedial education from the Center for American Progress shows that about half of first-year students end up in these courses, making college more expensive and leading to higher dropout rates. African-American (56%) and Latino (45%) students tend to enroll in remedial courses at higher rates than do white students (35%) while the on-rate completion rate for students who take remedial courses is only 10%.
Preliminary findings of a study from the City University of New York's Start initiative finds that students enrolled in developmental courses during their first semester, especially in math, made more progress than those who went on to degree-counting classes. Students in the program take an intensive semester of remedial math, reading and writing courses before moving on to college-level, credit-bearing coursework. CUNY Start students pay $75 to be enrolled in the program, allowing them to apply their financial aid award to credit-bearing courses.