Access, Remediation, and Retention in Higher Education
All Americans have a basic right of access to quality public education from preschool through graduate school. The heritage of free public educational opportunities for every American must be preserved and strengthened. All qualified students must have access to postsecondary programs without regard to age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, military registration status, or ability to pay.
Public expenditures for education must be considered an investment in the future of this nation. Denying higher education access to any segment of our population is counter-productive to democracy. Therefore, outreach efforts to low income and historically disenfranchised populations are essential to provide them with access to full participation in American society. Our nation is witnessing a growing redistribution of wealth. The increased divide between rich and poor is resulting in the erosion of opportunities for access to higher education. Reversing this trend will require a concerted effort to identify and motivate students, especially those at risk, and to provide them with access and support programs.
To increase student academic potential at the collegiate level, NEA recommends the following:
- Partnerships and coordination between K-12 and higher education should be encouraged to facilitate the successful transition of students from the secondary to the collegiate level. Examples of such partnerships should include the development of special programs for at-risk students, coordination of curricula, and early identification and assessment of students with remedial needs.
- Information should be developed and disseminated that will allow parents to assist their children with entrance to the higher education system. Parents are often the key to academic success, especially for disadvantaged students.
- Educational goals and remediation programs at all higher education institutions should be developed, implemented, refined, expanded, and evaluated by appropriate teaching personnel. Remediation should occur in institutions where the need exists.
- To increase retention rates, adequate and appropriate programs and counseling should be provided to ensure that all students have an opportunity to explore their full potential, acquire the skills necessary to gain admission, and succeed in all postsecondary education programs.
- Remedial programs should enjoy full-funding at the postsecondary level but not be accorded degree-credit status.
- Remedial programs in higher education should be staffed by regular, full-time faculty, with the appropriate expertise in remedial and developmental education, who participate fully in institutional governance and enjoy basic benefits accorded to all faculty members.
- To increase retention rates, programs in higher education should include adequate academic counseling and other social support programs that increase a sense of belonging at the institution for the at-risk student.