Keeping Community College Students Out of Remedial Courses Boosts Eventual Earnings: Study
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- Community college students finished both associate and bachelor's degrees faster when they were sent to a college-level class with support rather than a remedial class, according to a new study.
- Students who took "corequisite courses" saw an average of $3,000-$4,500 more in earnings per year than their peers who were sent to remedial classes.
- Students reported earning similar wages before they earned degrees. But students who took the college-level course reported higher average wages five, six, and seven years after the initial random assignment, according to the report.
Community college students finished their degrees faster and had higher eventual earnings when they received help in college-level classes rather than being bumped to remedial courses, according to a new study.
Students were 50% more likely to finish their associate degrees within three years, and twice as likely to finish their bachelor's degrees within five years, if they were sent to college-level courses with academic support rather than to remedial classes, according to the seven-year study by Trinity College and the City University of New York (CUNY).
Community college students who took those "corequisite" courses, or college-level courses with academic support, also saw higher earnings, thanks in part to the shortened degree completion time. Students who took corequisite courses saw an average of $3,000-$4,500 more in earnings per year than their peers who were sent to remedial classes, according to the study.
The study tracked more than 900 community college students beginning in the fall of 2013, according to a Trinity College press release. Students were either assigned to a "traditional option" of remedial algebra or a new college-level statistics class that included weekly workshops with peer leaders.
Students reported earning similar wages before they earned degrees. But students who took the college-level course reported higher average wages five, six, and seven years after the initial random assignment, according to the report.
"Corequisite coursework allows students to enter college as full members of the college community with the support they need to succeed," Daniel J. Douglas, the study lead and Trinity College's director of social science research, said in the release.
The study comes amid a nationwide conversation about the role of remedial classes in community colleges. Remedial education can act as a barrier to student success, holding up students' progress on their degrees, according to Community College Review.
Some lawmakers have looked to curb the number of remedial classes in community colleges. Last year, California legislators passed a bill that almost completely banned the state's community colleges from putting students in remedial math and English classes, BestColleges previously reported.