Because of high school educations that aren’t up to par, new college students are often made to take “developmental” courses to round out their schooling in preparation for college, according to NPR. These classes are required for graduation, but don’t usually count for college credit. Students do, however, have to pay for the cost of these courses.
According to Education Reform Now, a non-profit organization, students who are forced to take remedial courses are “74 percent more likely to drop out of college.” This could be due to the addition of costs, stigma surrounding remedial courses, or the added stress of more work, among other reasons.
The fact is that high schools, public and private, should be preparing students enough for college that no one has to face additional schooling—and the fees that come with it. All the extra classes and extra time ramps up costs for everybody.
We know that student debt is paralyzing and affects more individuals than ever, so the fact that high schools aren’t doing their jobs simply isn’t acceptable. This is a problem for students of all class backgrounds, and “students from families in the top income quintile” end up paying the most for remedial courses. These students might traditionally go to more rigorous private high schools, but clearly there are issues there as well.
“Imagine how much more affordable college could be if we could get more students to graduate and graduate on time,” Michael Dannenberg, a co-author of the report, said in a press release. “You used to get a four-year degree in four years. Today, the typical student takes five years to complete a bachelor’s degree.”
If we are all supposed to graduate from college and be contributing members of society, that possibility is bleak given the reality of student debt. Compounding it with remedial courses that high school should have covered is going to make college a possibility for fewer and fewer individuals.