A proposal to eliminate state funding of remedial courses at Kansas University and other public colleges is still being worked on by legislators.
The measure, sponsored by House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, is one of many education bills being discussed by House-Senate conference committee.
Negotiators appear to be far apart on the issue as the Legislature broke its 90-day regular session deadline Friday and went into overtime. Negotiations are expected to pick up again Monday.
Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, said Senate negotiators would like to delay the prohibition of state funds for remedial courses until 2015.
This, she said, would give universities time to adjust and possibly develop plans with community colleges on offering the classes.
KU offers one remedial course, intermediate algebra, which has an average of 900 students enrolled each fall.
Schodorf also said the Senate wants state funding to continue for remedial courses for older students who have been out of school for a few years and need some remedial coursework. That would include military veterans and foreign students who need help with English.
The bill that was approved by House also would cut from 10 percent to 5 percent the number of freshmen class or transfer admissions allowed under the “exception window,” meaning they haven’t met minimum admission standards.
O’Neal has said his bill is aimed at students whom he thinks would be better served at a community college rather than risk failing at a regents school.
Of the six regents schools, three exceeded 5 percent in the number of freshmen students admitted as exceptions: Emporia State, 8.1 percent; Pittsburg State, 7.1 percent; and Fort Hays State, 6.8 percent. Kansas State was at 3.7 percent; Wichita State at 1.6 percent; and KU had the lowest rate at 0.4 percent.
Again, the Senate negotiators were seeking a more cautious approach. Schodorf said they would like to have a study to determine whether students admitted through the “exception window” fail or drop out of school at a higher rate than other students.