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March 07, 2019

Remedial education rates continue to drop at Missouri colleges and universities

Remedial education rates continue to decline at Missouri’s public colleges and universities, potentially reducing the amount of time and money it takes for many students to earn a degree.

A recent report from the Missouri Department of Higher Education shows the total number of public high school graduates taking remedial courses in college decreased from 22.8 percent in 2017 to 21.5 percent in 2018. The rate has dropped more than 14 percentage points since 2013.

The rate for African American students has declined by more than 25 percentage points during the past six years – from 65.5 percent in 2013 to 38.2 percent in 2018.

Research shows that students who must complete remedial classes before they can enroll in credit-bearing courses often have to spend an extra semester or more in college, and are far less likely to graduate. The additional time in school can also increase college costs and result in more student loan debt.

“The drop in remedial education rates means more students are able to enroll in credit-bearing courses from the start,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education. “The continued reduction each year is something to celebrate – students are saving both time and money on their way to earning a college credential. We’re making slow and steady progress toward meeting our Big Goal of having 60 percent of working-age adults with a degree or certificate by 2025.”

The Department of Higher Education has focused on working with Missouri’s public higher education institutions to reduce remedial education rates for the past six years, implementing a corequisite model, and using multiple measures for better course placement.

Corequisite courses provide additional academic support for students who would otherwise be required to take remedial classes. These supports may include tutoring, mentoring, labs and workshops – to help students master the subject matter and succeed in the course. A majority of public colleges and universities now offer credit-bearing corequisite courses in math and English.

Instead of looking only at students’ ACT or SAT scores, schools are considering the classes students complete in high school and their grade point average to determine whether or not they need to take remedial classes before they can enroll in college-level courses.

Reducing remedial education rates is one strategy in Missouri’s Blueprint for Higher Education, the state’s coordinated plan for higher education, to help more students in Missouri earn a degree or certificate.


About the Missouri Department of Higher Education: The department seeks to build Missouri’s future by degrees and coordinate higher education policy that fosters a quality postsecondary system. More information about MDHE can be found at https://dhe.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @MoHigherEd.