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More than 42 percent of students who arrived at the state’s community colleges in 2014 required at least one remedial course, as did more than 17 percent of new students, including transfers, at four-year public Mississippi universities according to a new analysis of data.

The data, which was compiled from 44 states as part of a year-long project by The Hechinger Report’s Sarah Butrymowicz, found that more than half a million public college students had to take a remedial course in 2014-15that covers “basic math and English skills they should have learned in high school.” This number is likely much higher, however, since states vary in how they collect data, and in some cases, whether they collect any data on this topic. Data analyzed by Butrymowicz from 911 two-and four-year colleges shows students at 96 percent of those schools were enrolled in a remediation course during the 2014-15 school year, and at least 209 of those schools required more than half of their incoming students to take at least one remedial class.

Here’s what Butrymowicz’s analysis found about Mississippi schools. Keep in mind that different schools may have different “cut off” scores on entrance exams that qualify students for remedial courses. That means a score that may get a student into a typical freshman English course at one university may qualify a student for remedial instruction at another university.

  • In 2014, Mississippi State University had the lowest percentage of students enrolled in one or more remedial course during the first year of college. About 8 percent of incoming students there were enrolled in a remediation course.
  • Alcorn State University had the highest percentage of students in a remedial course, with nearly 59 percent of new undergraduate students enrolled in 2014.
  • Community college freshman remediation enrollment varied from a low of about 17 percent of students in at least one “developmental class” at Coahoma Community College, to a high of 56 percent at Itawamba Community College.

Here are two charts with the percentages for all community college and four-year schools that had data available:

How does this compare nationwide? It’s hard to know, since data collection on this topic is so hit-or-miss. A 2012 report by the nonprofit Complete College America looked at data from 33 states for the freshman class of 2006, and found that 52 percent of students at two-year schools and 20 percent of students at four-year schools took remedial courses.

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