Ohio cuts funds for university remediation

Ohio is cutting funds for remedial classes at state universities.

North Carolina community colleges are backing out of participation in federal student loans, fearing a high default rate will risk future students’ access to Pell Grants.

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  1. It’s long past time to return to the days when colleges offered NO remedial classes and expected to weed out 1/3 of the freshman class during the first year (engineering schools used to weed out 2/3). At my school, the freshman weeder classes were the sciences (real sciences; the “easy” one was geology) and (lit-based) English composition. I knew a number of smart, well-prepared kids from competitive high schools who made honors the first semester, because they had had much of the material in HS classes, and flunked out second semester because of bad study habits; by the time they realized they were in trouble, it was too late. Most professors did not grade on a curve and did not allow make-ups or extra credit; this was especially true of those teaching freshman classes.

  2. momof4,

    I agree, during my first go-round in college, the first programming course we had about 35 homework assignments, 8 quizzes, a midterm, a final, and a class project (groups of 3-4 students).

    The class was such that if you weren’t comprehending the material in question after 7-8 classes (about a month), you were filling out a drop slip and giving serious consideration about changing your major to something else.

    These days, the first progamming course a comp sci major takes at most universities would have perhaps 8-14 assignments (at the most).

    No four year college or university should offer a SINGLE remedial course, if placement exams and assessments show that the student is incapable of handling english 101 and at least college level math (algebra II/trig), withdraw the offer of admission, and suggest to the student to go to a community, junior college, or adult education courses to get the education needed to succeed in college coursework.

    • What four-year schools should do and what they will do are two separate matters. I agree with you, but I imagine most will listen to the siren song of “more bodies in the classroom = more $$$ for the coffers.” As long as the bottom line outranks the institution’s ostensible mission of higher education, the focus will be on getting more bodies in the classroom, and keeping them there as long as possible. Offering remedial classes kills both of these birds rather nicely.

  3. There is a significant consequence to consider with respect to remedial classes. Not every student who enrolls in remedial classes at university will JUST enroll in remedial classes. That is, the higher level university classes may be unapproachable without being successful in those remedial classes. So, if a university doesn’t provide remedial classes, in effect, that university does not allow them the opportunity to pursue a higher education. In that way, the intellectual ability of the work force will be weakened. An important question to consider is how many students who complete remedial classes in university continue on with higher education. I’m guessing that the number is high because generally speaking, university is expensive and no one is going to go to enroll in a university JUST to take remedial classes. Otherwise, they could just go to community college. Financially, it just makes more sense. That’s why I think that the likelihood is high that cutting remedial classes from university will have a significant negative impact on the work force.

    On the note of community colleges, if there does happen to be a student who enrolls in a university just to take remedial classes, then of course he should be referred to a community college. But, that will never happen. Why? Because no one can get a university degree in remedial education.

  4. The general consensus among the educated population of this country is that if a student needs remedial education, he doesn’t belong in the university. This POV is the standard in European and Asian systems. America’s inclusiveness in higher education is a strength, but it has gone down the slippery slope to absurdity. If state budgets, which are already strapped, then remedial classes at the university level should be the first to go.

  5. Stacy in NJ says:

    What some of the poster might not be considering is that not all students are equally strong or weak across all subject areas. My son’s best friend in high school is aceing his honors Algebra II class as a freshman but is placed in “B” (remedial) level English and History courses. His ambition is to become an engineer. Should he not have access to a four year college because some of his skills are weak?

    • Those weaknesses should have been remediated in k-12. A kid that strong in math should have been identified (apparently was) as college material and given help in his weak areas; obviously, he has the necessary IQ. Even in STEM fields, being able to read and write well is necessary for many/most positions (and certainly for advancement; my STEM relatives have assured me of this). Conversely, even in non-STEM fields, students should know enough math to be prepared for statistics, finance, economics, etc. The availability of remediation at colleges has allowed the k-12 system to abdicate its responsibilities; that should be stopped, immediately. When “college-prep” and “honors/AP” kids from “good” schools in upper-middle-class neighborhoods can’t get into competitive (let alone highly competitive or elite) colleges like the flagship state campus, parents will be screaming at the fraud perpetrated on their kids; I don’t see the schools cleaning up their acts before then. (maybe if politicians suddenly acquire common sense and a spine…)

      I’ve also heard arguments that the fine arts types (art, theater, dance, music etc) shouldn’t be expected to meet the same college math/English standards as others. The only reason I’ve discovered for them to be in college at all (as opposed to specialized schools, conservatories and dance/theater troupes) is because of the k-12 credentialism. I see that credentialism, a toxic alliance of the ed schools, the accrediting agencies, the k-12 system and the school boards, as part of the problem.

  6. tim-10-ber says:

    Please, please, please let this be this first step (should be the only step needed) to finally hold K-12, students and parents accountable for a high school diploma meaning a kid is truly ready for what comes post high school…ready without the need for remedial education. Without the accountable K-12 continues to be dumbed down, students are not held accountable for not fulfilling their part of the education bargain and parents look to others to blame. Together everyone can make this work. Separately, well more of the down hill slide we have had for the past 40 – 60 years…

  7. If you’re looking at a STEM career, you will be spending a great deal of time writing material which is job related (even more so as you move farther up the career ladder).


    A student who is prepared for their first year of college should be able to place (via ACT/SAT or placement exam) into the following courses:

    English 101 or 102
    Math (Algebra II/Trig/Pre-calc or higher)
    Science (Biology/Chemistry/Physics/Astronomy/Geology)
    U.S. History/Political Science 101

    Those were core classes when I started back in 1981.

    • Although the basic history our university required was European Civ (US history and civics were state HS requirements), the rest are what was expected in my brother’s day (HS class of 55) and in mine (HS class of 67). Intermediate college foreign language was also a freshman requirement ( it could be a programming language for the STEM fields – can’t remember when that started)