Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and two of his colleagues introduced a bill last week to reduce the need for remedial courses and improve remedial programs in post-secondary education.
The bill, called the Promoting Readiness in Education to Prevent Additional Remediation and Expense (PREPARE) Act, aims to align high school graduation requirements with entrance requirements for post-secondary coursework to prepare students for the rigors of college classes. The PREPARE Act authorizes competitive grants to states to achieve this goal.
“Every student should have the opportunity to pursue higher education, and we must equip them with the necessary skills to succeed,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who introduced the bill alongside Jones and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).
Sen. Hassan said too many high school graduates are not prepared for college classes and are forced to spend their time and money on remedial courses which do not count towards their degree. “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,” Hassan said.
The PREPARE Act will also support students at higher education institutions who need these remedial courses once they are enrolled. Under the bill, post-secondary institutions will be provided resources to improve their remedial programs.
Alleviating the financial burden placed on students and their families for taking non-credit earning remedial courses is a focus of the bill. That financial burden is a significant one, too; according to a 2016 study by the Center for American Progress, remedial courses cost students and their families in the U.S. about $1.3 billion each year.
“Students shouldn’t have to spend their precious tuition and financial aid dollars on coursework that doesn’t count towards their degree,” Jones said, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.