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NCES Reports on Remedial Education and Academic Libraries

December 5, 2003

Students at degree-granting institutions have access to expanding library resources and remedial education courses, according to separate studies recently released by the National Center for Education Statistics. The reports are based on surveys conducted in 2000 of degree-granting institutions and academic libraries.

More than one-quarter of entering undergraduate freshmen enrolled in one or more remedial courses, the most common of which was a mathematics course. The report, “Remedial Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions in Fall 2000,” indicates that while the number of students participating in remedial courses has not changed significantly, the length of time spent in such courses has increased since 1995, though it is generally limited to one year or less.

The study also indicates that remedial education is prevalent across different types of institutions. Three-quarters of respondents at Title IV degree-granting two- and four-year institutions reported at least one remedial reading, writing, or mathematics course. Public two-year institutions were more likely to offer remedial education than other types of institutions, but public four-year institutions were also significant providers of remedial education. These courses also support local business and industry at 21 percent of responding institutions with freshmen enrollment.

A separate survey of academic libraries details the library resources available to students at degree-granting postsecondary institutions. “E.D. TAB: Academic Libraries: 2000” summarizes library services, staff, collections, and expenditures for the 2000 fiscal year. The report indicates that the 3,527 participants had total expenditures of $5 billion.

The participating academic libraries have an ever-expanding traditional resource base, but also employ other techniques to serve students. The study found total inventories of 913.4 million paper volumes. However, 43 percent of these volumes are held by only 126 research institutions (as defined by the Carnegie Classification). The study shows that a vast majority of academic libraries have electronic services available, including an electronic catalog of the holdings, Internet access, and library reference by e-mail either on or off site.

Both reports are available on the NCES Web site.