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U.S. Economy Could Gain Over $3.7 Billion by Improving High School Education and Reducing Need for Remediation

Press Release:

U.S. Economy Could Gain Over $3.7 Billion by Improving High School Education and Reducing Need for Remediation

America is spending over $1.4 billion each year to provide community college remediation education for recent high school graduates who did not acquire the basic skills to succeed in college or at work, according to conservative calculations by the Alliance for Excellent Education in its new issue brief Paying Double: Inadequate High Schools and Community College Remediation, funded by MetLife Foundation.

Additionally, the nation is losing almost $2.3 billion in wages, since remedial reading students are more likely to drop out of college without a degree, which, in turn, significantly reduces their earnings potential. By increasing the number of students graduating from high school prepared to succeed in college, the nation’s economy could gain over $3.7 billion annually.

Remediation education focuses exclusively on pre-collegiate coursework – skills and knowledge that should have been acquired in high school. Studies show that students who take rigorous courses throughout high school are better prepared and therefore less likely to need remedial education than those who do not. And they are more likely to remain in college four consecutive years to earn a degree.

“When high school graduates require remediation, they lose a year and taxpayers are paying twice for the same education,” says Gov. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Raising academic standards benefits all students and promotes a healthy economy. It’s not enough to increase the number of high school graduates. We must also make sure the diploma they’ve earned has truly readied them with essential skills and knowledge. We can no longer afford to play high school catch-up at the college level.”

“We must make certain high school graduates are prepared to meet the academic expectations they will encounter in college,” says Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. “This study points to the links between education and the economy, and encourages rigor in the high school curriculum so students can successfully enter the workforce.”

Paying Double: Inadequate High Schools and Community College Remediation is available  here.

Annual remediation savings were estimated using survey data and enrollment estimates from NCES, and tuition data from The College Board. District of Columbia data is based on the University of the District of Columbia which has open enrollment. Earnings data was calculated using NCES college completion estimates and 2005 Census data.

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MetLife Foundation was founded in 1976 and supports programs that increase opportunities for young people to succeed, give students and teachers a voice in improving education, create connections between schools and communities, and strengthen relationships among parents, teachers, and students.

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.

For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit:

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