A new report from the libertarian-leaning Pacific Research Institute attempts to calculate the total costs Californians bear as a result of students who graduate from high school unprepared for college.
The report, scheduled for release today, estimates that each wave of freshmen entering California’s public colleges in need of remediation annually costs the state at least $3.9-billion, and perhaps as much as $13.9-billion or more.
The institute arrives at such numbers by looking not just at the $274-million that it says colleges spend providing remedial instruction, but also at other costs it associates with inadequate preparation for college. It estimates, for example, that businesses will spend from $107-million to $447-million providing such students with additional training, and that such students will earn $1.1-billion to $5.5-billion less annually than they would have if they had entered college prepared for the work.
Among its recommendations, the report says California should begin testing students to measure whether they are on track to enter college as early as the second grade. It also calls for the state to take all of the money now spent on remedial education from the elementary level onward and use the funds to offer “money-back guarantee” grants for remedial-education services to students who fall behind.