Oakland, CA – Years of research have highlighted the toll of traditional remedial coursework on students’ academic trajectories and odds of completing; however, little attention has been paid to the added financial costs students also incur due to taking remedial courses. The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) collected data from five community colleges in California to shed light on the role remedial courses played in the total units completed by financial aid recipients who successfully completed their associate degree or transferred, and a new brief out today – The Detrimental Costs of Remedial Education for California Community College Students – illustrates the added financial costs of remedial education even for those students who beat the odds and ultimately achieve their educational goals.
“Students enrolled in remedial coursework at the colleges we looked at experienced excessive credit accumulation, longer times to completion and increased cost of attendance,” notes TICAS vice president Jessica Thompson. “We hope these findings reinforce the need, in California and across the country, to continue to prioritize evidence-based reforms to traditional remedial education practices.”
In 2017, the California Legislature unanimously approved Assembly Bill 705 (AB 705), landmark legislation aimed at fundamentally transforming California community colleges’ use of below-transfer level (remedial) education in English and mathematics, responding to a growing body of research showing that remedial education often does more harm than good. Changes at colleges following AB 705 have resulted in significant boosts in transfer-level course completions. However, the data we analyzed show that, even after the implementation of AB 705, too many students continue to accumulate excessive remedial education credits.
“Significant progress has been made, but it is clear that additional work remains to ensure students in California are not enrolling in courses that delay their success and add unnecessary costs,” emphasized California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, lead author of AB 705 and AB 1705. “Being unnecessarily placed into remedial education can have an enormous impact on a student’s educational trajectory and future opportunities. We owe it to students to stay focused on the evidence-based reforms that data show will lead them to succeed.”
The recently introduced Assembly Bill 1705 (AB 1705) offers California legislators the opportunity to create additional directives for colleges to more effectively meet the State’s intent to create equitable placement and completion reform by further increasing student placement and enrollment in transfer-level English and math courses.
The Institute for College Access & Success is a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education. For more information see www.ticas.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.