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Senator Hassan, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Improve and Reduce Remedial Education

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) today introduced legislation to help reduce the need for students to take remedial courses when pursuing post-secondary education, and to improve degree completion rates. The Promoting Readiness in Education to Prevent Additional Remediation and Expense (PREPARE) Act  would better align high school graduation requirements with entrance requirements for credit-bearing post-secondary coursework, and would provide resources to schools to strengthen their remedial programs and improve outcomes.

The nation’s high school graduation rate is at an all-time high of 84 percent of students. Yet, many of these graduates are unprepared for college. More than one-third of all first-year college students take some type of remedial coursework in English or math, but this figure can be as high as 60 or 70 percent of students in some cases. While the goal of remedial education is to help students attain the skills they need to succeed in college, it can also be a deterrent to completion by adding to the cost and the time it takes to complete to a degree. The PREPARE Act aims to address this issue by reducing rates of post-secondary remediation and increasing post-secondary completion rates.

“College is already costly for students and their families, and every remedial course that a student has to take increases the price of his or her education and delays the completion of a degree. Students shouldn’t have to spend their precious tuition and financial aid dollars on coursework that doesn’t count towards their degree,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

“Every student should have the opportunity to pursue higher education, and we must equip them with the necessary skills to succeed,” Senator Klobuchar said. “The PREPARE Act will help more students get through school by making sure they are prepared for the rigor of higher education while also offering courses to those who need additional support once enrolled. All students deserve access to the educational foundation required for academic achievement.” 

“Too many high school graduates enter higher education under-prepared and are forced to spend their financial aid dollars and time on remedial courses that don’t count toward their degree,” Senator Hassan said. “These students are held back and often do not end up completing their degree. These grant funds would help states improve alignment between K-12 and higher education and provide additional support so that more high school graduates enter higher education prepared and on track to complete college on time.”

The PREPARE Act authorizes five-year, competitive grants to states to align high school and post-secondary education. States are required, among other things, to:

  • align high school graduation requirements with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in State institutions of higher education;
  • develop statewide standards for placement in remedial coursework based on multiple indicators;
  • develop statewide articulation agreements between high schools and public institutions of higher education; and
  • develop statewide articulation agreements among public institutions of higher education in the State.

The bill is endorsed by the Achievers Foundation, Advance CTE, Alliance for Excellent Education, Bard College, Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning, Colorado Community College System, Education Northwest, Education Reform Now Advocacy, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Knowledge Alliance, National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, National Association for College Admission Counseling, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National College Access Network, National Urban League, Teach Plus, Third Way, and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.