Remediation: Higher Ed's Expensive 'Bridge To Nowhere' Costs Taxpayers $100 Million A Year

Ann McClure's picture

More than a third of incoming college students in Michigan take high school-level classes on campus -- essentially repeating material they should have learned before they got their diplomas.

Those remedial classes may cost students, schools and taxpayers more than $100 million a year, and often don’t lead to a degree; many of the 23,000 students taking remedial courses each year drop out before they ever take an actual college-credit course, and few graduate.

Those sobering statistics raise uncomfortable questions for the state: How ready are Michigan students for college in a world where a degree is virtually a prerequisite for the middle class? And in its drive to increase degrees, does the state need to pay twice, once in high school and once in college, for students to learn algebra?

College readiness wouldn’t matter if Michigan was producing enough college graduates. But a Bridge Magazine analysis projected that by 2018, more than 37 percent of jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or more, compared to 29 percent today.

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