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Digest of Education Statistics
2019 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest


Table 311.40. Percentage of first-year undergraduate students who reported taking remedial education courses, by selected student and institution characteristics: Selected years, 2003-04 through 2015-16
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Selected student or institution characteristic Percent of 2003-04 first-year undergraduates1  who took any remedial courses Percent of 2007-08 first-year undergraduates1  who took any remedial courses Percent of 2011-12
first-year undergraduates1  who took any remedial courses
2015-16 first-year undergraduates1
Total number of students2  (in thousands) Students who took any remedial courses Percent who took specific remedial courses in 2015-16
Ever In 2003-04 Ever In 2007-08 Ever In 2011-12 Percent who ever took Number who took in
2015-16 (in thousands)
Percent who took in
2015-16
Mathematics Reading/ writing
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Total 34.8 (0.36) 19.2   (0.30) 36.2 (0.38) 20.0   (0.35) 32.6   (0.42) 19.7   (0.36) 7,706 43.0   (0.58) 1,482 19.2   (0.43) 14.0   (0.36) 8.8   (0.28)
Sex                                                            
Male 33.0 (0.53) 18.4   (0.46) 33.0 (0.53) 19.3   (0.51) 30.8   (0.61) 19.9   (0.55) 3,364 40.7   (0.82) 643 19.1   (0.67) 13.9   (0.58) 8.5   (0.38)
Female 36.2 (0.54) 19.8   (0.39) 38.7 (0.51) 20.6   (0.46) 34.0   (0.52) 19.7   (0.46) 4,342 44.8   (0.66) 839 19.3   (0.50) 14.1   (0.41) 8.9   (0.36)
                                                             
Race/ethnicity                                                            
White 31.7 (0.42) 17.8   (0.35) 31.3 (0.46) 17.7   (0.41) 29.4   (0.51) 17.7   (0.47) 3,683 38.3   (0.76) 620 16.8   (0.48) 12.6   (0.42) 7.0   (0.33)
Black 41.2 (1.00) 22.4   (0.76) 45.1 (0.99) 24.4   (0.86) 37.6   (0.89) 22.2   (0.75) 1,419 48.7   (1.05) 292 20.6   (0.78) 15.0   (0.74) 10.2   (0.62)
Hispanic 38.5 (0.91) 21.5   (0.72) 43.7 (1.12) 23.3   (0.84) 35.8   (0.99) 22.4   (0.81) 1,726 47.7   (0.97) 397 23.0   (0.98) 16.7   (0.82) 10.7   (0.60)
Asian 39.6 (1.72) 17.6   (1.56) 38.9 (2.05) 20.0   (1.90) 37.6   (2.25) 23.0   (1.75) 490 45.4   (1.83) 97 19.8   (1.48) 13.9   (1.28) 10.4   (1.11)
Pacific Islander 40.8 (5.11) 22.4   (4.55) 39.9 (4.63) 19.1   (3.90) 33.4   (5.16) 15.2   (3.50) 37 43.7   (6.07) 21.8   (5.04) 12.0 ! (3.73) 10.6 ! (4.44)
American Indian/Alaska                                                            
Native 44.8 (4.34) 23.7   (3.10) 47.9 (4.66) 29.7   (3.88) 34.9   (4.11) 19.8   (2.79) 79 50.1   (5.64) 19 23.8   (4.98) 12.0   (3.30) 13.9   (4.10)
Two or more races 33.9 (2.02) 20.9   (1.80) 32.3 (2.29) 20.4   (2.06) 29.8   (2.02) 19.0   (1.68) 271 41.1   (2.28) 49 18.1   (1.79) 12.8   (1.55) 8.4   (1.35)
Other 31.1 (2.78) 17.3   (2.34) 35.2 (6.00) 21.7   (5.11)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)   (†)
                                                             
Age                                                            
15 to 23 33.7 (0.41) 21.5   (0.39) 34.5 (0.46) 22.0   (0.43) 31.0   (0.49) 21.1   (0.38) 4,678 41.0   (0.70) 912 19.5   (0.52) 14.5   (0.46) 9.8   (0.37)
24 to 29 35.0 (0.99) 16.0   (0.78) 39.7 (0.98) 19.5   (0.86) 34.4   (1.12) 17.2   (0.91) 1,332 47.4   (1.17) 252 18.9   (0.94) 13.9   (0.82) 6.6   (0.52)
30 or older 37.6 (0.87) 15.6   (0.52) 38.1 (0.84) 15.2   (0.68) 35.4   (0.94) 18.4   (0.82) 1,696 45.1   (1.06) 318 18.8   (0.81) 13.0   (0.66) 7.5   (0.56)
                                                             
Attendance status                                                            
Full-time, full-year3 31.4 (0.45) 19.1   (0.37) 31.4 (0.52) 19.4   (0.46) 28.1   (0.48) 17.6   (0.41) 3,254 36.7   (0.78) 550 16.9   (0.58) 12.5   (0.48) 8.5   (0.43)
Part-time only,
    for only part of year
37.5 (0.65) 17.9   (0.51) 39.8 (0.71) 19.0   (0.59) 37.4   (0.81) 21.3   (0.78) 3,033 47.7   (0.92) 616 20.3   (0.74) 14.5   (0.63) 8.1   (0.46)
Mixed attendance status4 41.1 (0.97) 23.7   (0.85) 42.6 (0.98) 26.3   (0.93) 37.0   (0.95) 23.4   (0.74) 1,419 47.4   (0.97) 316 22.2   (0.83) 16.4   (0.69) 10.8   (0.59)
                                                             
Student housing status                                                            
On-campus 24.5 (0.70) 16.8   (0.56) 23.2 (0.84) 17.1   (0.76) 17.9   (0.78) 14.1   (0.67) 921 24.7   (1.26) 120 13.0   (0.89) 9.7   (0.82) 6.8   (0.64)
Off-campus 35.9 (0.58) 17.0   (0.40) 37.2 (0.57) 17.8   (0.49) 34.0   (0.65) 19.6   (0.63) 3,810 45.9   (0.78) 720 18.9   (0.58) 13.6   (0.50) 8.2   (0.39)
With parents or relatives 37.9 (0.59) 24.5   (0.61) 39.6 (0.78) 25.2   (0.66) 35.3   (0.78) 22.2   (0.61) 2,293 47.6   (1.04) 545 23.7   (0.79) 17.7   (0.69) 11.2   (0.51)
Attended more than one                                                            
institution 36.5 (1.18) 18.3   (0.98) 36.1 (1.11) 20.2   (0.97) 32.7   (1.09) 17.0   (0.95) 682 36.0   (1.07) 97 14.2   (0.81) 9.9   (0.59) 6.4   (0.49)
                                                             
Dependency status                                                            
Dependent 33.4 (0.45) 22.1   (0.41) 34.4 (0.51) 22.8   (0.46) 31.2   (0.53) 22.0   (0.42) 3,843 39.5   (0.77) 749 19.5   (0.55) 14.4   (0.50) 9.7   (0.41)
Independent 36.4 (0.61) 16.1   (0.39) 38.1 (0.59) 17.1   (0.51) 33.9   (0.57) 17.6   (0.52) 3,863 46.5   (0.76) 732 19.0   (0.55) 13.7   (0.47) 7.8   (0.36)
                                                             
Veteran status                                                            
Veteran 35.9 (2.33) 13.2   (1.52) 35.8 (2.36) 17.1   (2.08) 31.4   (2.21) 17.4   (1.74) 363 43.9   (2.08) 62 17.1   (1.53) 12.2   (1.38) 6.7   (0.99)
Not veteran 34.8 (0.38) 19.4   (0.31) 36.2 (0.38) 20.1   (0.36) 32.7   (0.42) 19.8   (0.37) 7,343 43.0   (0.58) 1,420 19.3   (0.43) 14.1   (0.37) 8.9   (0.30)
                                                             
Field of study5                                                            
Business/management 36.4 (1.00) 19.6   (0.97) 37.0 (1.13) 21.7   (1.06) 32.7   (1.11) 19.8   (0.85) 996 42.6   (1.37) 182 18.2   (0.95) 13.8   (0.86) 9.2   (0.70)
Computer science 33.7 (1.59) 19.2   (1.39) 34.7 (2.28) 19.8   (1.77) 29.3   (1.69) 17.4   (1.40) 329 41.0   (2.14) 64 19.4   (1.78) 14.8   (1.58) 8.9   (1.24)
Education 41.5 (1.61) 23.1   (1.14) 40.3 (1.90) 23.0   (1.48) 36.0   (1.84) 21.6   (1.53) 289 46.6   (2.33) 64 22.1   (1.91) 18.2   (1.81) 8.8   (1.37)
Engineering 30.9 (1.79) 16.6   (1.41) 33.0 (1.81) 19.0   (1.57) 33.1   (1.88) 20.9   (1.63) 394 38.6   (2.02) 70 17.8   (1.66) 13.7   (1.54) 9.0   (1.11)
Health 37.0 (0.83) 19.7   (0.68) 38.6 (2.49) 18.9   (4.49) 34.6   (0.74) 18.8   (0.70) 1,531 46.5   (1.09) 293 19.1   (0.87) 14.7   (0.75) 9.2   (0.68)
Humanities 34.0 (1.29) 18.8   (0.94) 31.2 (1.94) 20.5   (1.77) 36.6   (1.03) 23.9   (0.91) 1,421 46.8   (1.13) 292 20.5   (0.97) 14.4   (0.84) 9.0   (0.64)
Life sciences 31.2 (1.81) 19.7   (1.72) 31.2 (6.21) 20.5 ! (8.64) 26.7   (1.71) 17.9   (1.11) 386 36.4   (2.03) 69 18.0   (1.56) 14.0   (1.53) 8.2   (1.16)
Mathematics 23.0 (5.55) 11.0 ! (4.43) 41.1 (6.31) 15.6 ! (5.20) 14.3 ! (4.57) 8.4 ! (2.81) 29 36.4   (7.45) 13.2 ! (4.85) 12.1 ! (4.68)   (†)
Physical sciences 24.0 (4.39) 12.9   (3.49) 24.5 (4.31) 15.7   (3.92) 29.2   (4.72) 24.7   (4.59) 62 37.2   (6.96) 15.4   (3.50) 9.2   (2.47) 7.6   (2.27)
Social/behavioral sciences 33.2 (2.08) 19.4   (1.57) 35.0 (2.16) 23.4   (1.94) 27.7   (1.87) 19.8   (1.38) 341 42.4   (2.23) 66 19.2   (1.61) 13.9   (1.40) 9.6   (1.30)
Vocational/technical 38.5 (2.11) 18.3   (1.60) 31.1 (1.93) 15.7   (1.78) 26.9   (1.94) 15.7   (1.59) 336 33.0   (2.32) 51 15.3   (1.64) 11.3   (1.41) 8.4   (1.16)
Undeclared 33.6 (0.67) 19.2   (0.59) 35.8 (1.29) 20.0   (1.14) 31.8   (2.10) 22.0   (1.86) 297 45.0   (2.56) 77 25.8   (2.15) 18.4   (1.97) 11.6   (1.57)
Other 33.3 (1.49) 18.0   (1.06) 34.6 (1.23) 18.5   (0.97) 29.3   (0.94) 16.7   (0.77) 930 42.6   (1.36) 174 18.7   (1.01) 12.8   (0.94) 8.0   (0.67)
                                                             
Control and level of
    institution
                                                           
  Public less-than-2-year 30.6 (1.85) 10.9   (1.09) 31.9 (1.99) 9.0   (0.89) 30.2   (6.13) 12.2 ! (3.86) 55 33.0   (3.85) 10.9   (1.54) 8.4   (1.61) 6.9   (0.93)
  Public 2-year 41.4 (0.59) 23.0   (0.47) 41.8 (0.54) 23.7   (0.48) 40.3   (0.67) 25.6   (0.64) 4,275 52.5   (0.76) 1,082 25.3   (0.63) 18.6   (0.53) 10.8   (0.42)
  Public 4-year nondoctorate 34.2 (1.77) 21.4   (1.12) 38.9 (1.24) 25.4   (1.14) 37.8   (2.12) 24.3   (1.30) 692 44.4   (1.92) 125 18.1   (1.28) 13.9   (1.09) 7.8   (0.77)
  Public 4-year doctorate 25.7 (1.11) 16.3   (0.64) 25.0 (1.03) 17.8   (0.86) 21.9   (0.84) 15.6   (0.80) 819 26.2   (1.35) 96 11.7   (0.93) 9.0   (0.75) 5.7   (0.72)
  Private nonprofit less-                                                            
than-4-year 31.3 (2.06) 12.9   (1.89) 30.3 (3.75) 10.2   (2.81) 22.3   (4.25) 9.4 ! (3.42) 76 23.7   (1.86) 4 5.7 ! (2.02) 5.1 ! 2.0456 4.1 ! (2.06)
 Private nonprofit 4-year                                                            
nondoctorate 26.0 (1.16) 14.7   (0.78) 25.5 (1.74) 16.6   (1.46) 24.4   (1.66) 15.3   (1.23) 344 28.3   (1.88) 39 11.3   (0.93) 7.6   (0.91) 6.7   (0.71)
 Private nonprofit 4-year                                                            
doctorate 18.3 (1.67) 11.6   (1.39) 22.1 (1.70) 12.6   (1.38) 14.6   (1.85) 9.6   (1.24) 396 21.8   (1.71) 36 9.2   (1.07) 5.0   (0.97) 6.2   (0.93)
  Private for-profit                                                            
less-than-2-year 24.1 (0.50) 7.8   (0.23) 26.5 (1.02) 5.5   (0.51) 16.7   (0.74) 3.8   (0.56) 288 25.0   (1.10) 12 4.2   (0.69) 2.5   (0.49) 2.0   (0.50)
  Private for-profit 2 years                                                            
or more 25.4 (1.63) 11.7   (1.04) 28.8 (1.46) 11.3   (1.20) 20.9   (0.74) 8.2   (0.37) 761 33.9   (1.61) 82 10.7   (0.70) 7.5   (0.58) 6.7   (0.54)
—Not available.
†Not applicable.                                        
!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡Reporting standards not met. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is 50 percent or greater.
1 First-year student status was determined by accumulation of credits. Students attending postsecondary education part time, or not completing the credit accumulation requirements for second-year status, could be considered first-year students for more than one year.
2 Numbers may not equal those reported in other tables, since these data are based on a sample survey of students who enrolled at any time during the academic year.
3 Includes only students enrolled full time for a full academic year (defined as 9 or more months).
4 Includes students enrolled part time for a full academic year as well as students enrolled full time, but for only part of an academic year.
5 Excludes students not in a degree or certificate program.
NOTE: Percentages of students who took remedial courses are based on student reports. Data exclude students attending institutions in Puerto Rico. Detail may not sum to totals because of survey item nonresponse and rounding. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2011-12, and 2015-16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08, NPSAS:12, and NPSAS:16). (This table was prepared June 2018.)

2019 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest