Governor Announces USA Funds Grant to Reduce Remedial Education Need

USA Funds backs state initiative to support students in writing and reading

Wilmington, DE – With support of nearly $250,000 from the nonprofit USA Funds, Delaware has launched an innovative effort to ensure more high schoolers graduate ready for college-level English Language Arts (ELA) coursework and not in need of remedial classes that cost money without earning them credits toward a degree. The funding, announced today by Governor Markell and USA Funds President and CEO Bill Hansen at Delaware Tech, will help the state develop and implement an ELA remediation course to:

• Increase the number of students who demonstrate college-readiness in ELA by the end of 11th grade, and
• Increase the number of students accessing college-level coursework while in high school.

The program will begin as a pilot in selected high schools for students enrolled in Allied Health – a program that is part of the state’s Pathways to Prosperity initiative and that prepares students to pursue a career in the health care industry. Integrating the effort with Allied Health reflects feedback from health care employers who have told the state about their need for workers who can write and understand complex written materials. The pilot will serve as a model for statewide expansion.

“We have too many students that have worked hard to meet the requirements of college entry and yet when their coursework begins, they find themselves in need of remediation and additional supports,” said Markell. “I’m thrilled that as a result of our partnership with USA Funds, we can now take another step toward ensuring that our students enter our colleges prepared to earn credits and make progress toward a degree on day one.”

While the state has made significant progress in supporting college and career readiness, with record high graduation rates, recognition as one of the best states in supporting college access, and huge increases in the number of students taking and passing dual-enrollment and AP college-level course while in high school, more can be done to reduce the need for remedial education. A quarter of Delaware students who enroll in an in-state higher education institution require remediation in English, while a total of 42 percent require some kind of remediation, reflecting a national trend of students needing to relearn what they should have mastered in high school.

“USA Funds is delighted to extend our partnership with Governor Markell and the State of Delaware to promote innovative practices that enhance student success, reduce the time to complete college, and make higher education more affordable,” said Hansen. “We look forward to the results of this pilot, which could serve as a model for Delaware and for other states that are working to build a surer path for their citizens through education to rewarding careers.”

This partnership with USA Funds will bring together English teachers, career and technical education teachers, and post-secondary faculty to develop instructional resources for students who have not met PSAT and SAT proficiency benchmarks for English Language Arts (ELA). Students will be more easily identified as a result of the state’s program allowing all students to take the PSAT and SAT for free during the school day. They will enter remediation in 11th grade as participants in a Foundations of College English course and, upon successful completion, will be ready for post-secondary credit bearing courses in ELA.

“Delaware has a real opportunity to prepare students for college and continue driving on its commitment to ensure all students have access to post-secondary success, by working together with colleges and universities,” said Secretary Steven Godowsky, Delaware Department of Education. “We look forward to working with districts and charters, our higher education partners, and all of the many business and non-profit organizations throughout the state as we continue lowering remediation rates for our graduates.”

“Students who require remediation are delayed in earning industry credentials and a two or four-year degree that would allow them employment,” Matt Burrows, Superintendent of Appoquinimink School District said. “This work allows us to connect opportunities for continuing education with career pathways and technical training for students, ultimately putting students on a path to gainful employment. Through the support of USA Funds, we will gather academic teachers, career teachers, and post-secondary faculty to develop instructional resources for students who are not prepared for college level coursework in English Language Arts.”

Additionally, students will be eligible to take college-level courses including dual enrollment in their senior year, aligned to their career pathway. Overall, this project provides students with numerous opportunities to achieve and exceed the college-readiness benchmark while still in high school aligned to an in-demand career pathway.

“Delaware Tech is proud to partner on this latest initiative to make our high school students college-ready. We encourage students to take advantage of programs that provide a head-start on college,” Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College said. “Research shows that students who enroll in early college experiences have higher rates of college enrollment, persistence and completion. Ultimately, these programs help our youth succeed in achieving their educational and career goals and give them hope for a better future.”

This initiative to reduce the number of Delaware student needing remediation in English Language Arts builds on a similar program in math started at select high schools in 2014. Students who successfully complete the Foundations of College Math course – created through a partnership with school districts, higher education institutions, and the Department of Education – are guaranteed to go directly into credit-bearing math courses in Delaware colleges – no remediation required.

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion With a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education. Learn more at