Higher Education

As a new school year begins, hundreds of thousands of students won’t be able to, for one vexing reason

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A new school year brings nervousness, excitement and expectation. But for more than one in four beginning college students, that’s about to slam into a harsh reality:

They’ll find out they’re not considered ready to start college-level work in math or English, and be detoured into so-called remedial courses to bring them up to speed.

These courses don’t count toward the credits needed to graduate, are covered by financial aid only up to a limited number of hours, and cost the country a collective $7 billion. Students who end up in them have a worse chance of eventually graduating than their classmates who don’t have to take them. *

The impact is worst for low-income students who come from urban public high schools that do a poor job of preparing them. And the problem persists in spite of years of work to fix it.

Read and hear a comprehensive collection of stories about this issue, the policies that make it worse, and potential solutions, a collaboration between The Hechinger Report and the investigative and documentary arm of American Public Media, APM Reports.

* This story has been changed to reflect that financial aid covers only a limited numbers of hours of remedial courses.

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