About three-quarters (78 percent) of higher education institutions that enrolled freshmen offered at least one remedial reading, writing, or mathematics course in fall 1995. Public 2-year and high minority enrollment institutions were particularly important providers of remedial education: all public 2-year and 94 percent of high minority enrollment institutions offered remedial reading, writing, or mathematics. Public 4-year institutions also were important providers of remediation, with 81 percent offering at least one remedial reading, writing, or mathematics course. Remedial reading courses were offered by 57 percent and remedial writing and mathematics courses by about three-quarters of higher education institutions that enrolled freshmen. Almost all (99 percent) public 2-year institutions offered remedial courses in each subject area. Among institutions that did not offer remedial courses, the most frequent reason given was that remedial courses were not needed by students at the institution.
Most institutions that offered remedial reading, writing, or mathematics courses offered one or two different courses in a subject area in fall 1995. The average (mean) number of courses offered was 2.1 for reading, 2.0 for writing, and 2.5 for mathematics. Public 2-year institutions offered a much higher average number of courses than other types of institutions.
Twenty-nine percent of first-time freshmen enrolled in one or more remedial reading, writing, or mathematics courses in fall 1995. Remedial courses in mathematics were taken by more freshmen than were remedial reading and writing courses. There was a general pattern of higher remedial enrollments and lower remedial pass rates at public 2-year and high minority enrollment institutions. In general, about three-quarters of the students enrolled in remedial courses pass or successfully complete those courses.
At most institutions, students do not take remedial courses for long periods of time: two-thirds of institutions indicated that the average time a student takes remedial courses was less than 1 year, 28 percent indicated that the average time was 1 year, and 5 percent indicated that the average time was more than 1 year. Students were more likely to take remedial courses for a longer time at certain types of institutions than at others, with fewer public 2-year and high minority enrollment institutions reporting that students take remedial courses for less than 1 year, on average.
Remedial education services/courses were provided to local business and industry by 19 percent of institutions that enroll freshmen. However, among these higher education institutions, public 2-year institutions were the primary providers of remedial services/courses to local business and industry: half of public 2-year institutions provided these services, compared with only about 5 percent of other types of institutions. Most institutions that provided remedial education services to business and industry provided remedial reading, writing, and mathematics, and most provided services at business and industry sites and on the campus of the institution.
A third of institutions offering remedial courses reported that there were state policies or laws that affected the remedial education offerings of their institution, with many more public than private institutions reporting that they were affected. Thus, while 57 percent of public 2-year and 40 percent of public 4-year institutions that offered remedial courses reported that state policies or laws affected their remedial offerings, less than 10 percent of private institutions that offered remedial courses reported being affected. The major way in which state policies or laws affected the remedial offerings was to require or encourage institutions to offer remedial education. Public 2-year and public 4-year institutions were affected somewhat differently by state policies or laws. About twice as many public 2-year as public 4-year institutions were required to offer remedial courses, while more public 4-year than public 2-year institutions were discouraged from offering remedial education or their remedial offerings were restricted.
About a quarter of institutions reported that there was a limit on the length of time a student may take remedial courses at their institution. Time limits on remediation were present about equally often at all types of institutions. Time limits on remediation were set by institutional policy at 75 percent of the institutions with time limits, and by state policy or law at 21 percent of the institutions. Time limits were set by institutional policy at almost all public and private 4-year institutions with such limits, while at public 2-year institutions, state policy or law was also an important factor, with about half of the public 2-year institutions indicating that time limits were set by state policy or law.