(Mar. 19) – Rep. James Coleman’s bill that would help invest in Colorado’s future and enhance the ability of higher education facilities to help struggling students passed the House today. “We need to provide resources to elevate students to help ensure their success,” said Rep. Coleman, D-Denver. “Higher education is a powerful tool to lift people out of poverty and into middle class. It’s past time to to rectify the gap within our higher ed institutions. This bill will expand opportunity for students by supplementing their classes with additional academic support without it prolonging their degree completion.” HB19-1206 is sponsored by Rep. Coleman and Rep. Colin Larson, R-Littleton, and will require that higher education institutions do not simply enroll students in traditional remedial courses prior to college-level courses. Instead, it will require students to be offered supplemental academic institutions (SAI) that can also count toward college-level coursework and credits. Currently, students who are not college-ready according to academic assessments are placed in remedial college courses to prepare them for college-level coursework. As a result, students pay to take remedial courses, which do not count towards their graduation requirements, which may prolong the time it takes to obtain a degree and increases the likelihood of dropout. SAI is a way to remedy the equity gap that exists between these students and students who are prepared to take college level coursework.
Within the Colorado Community College System, SAI has shown promising results in Colorado by helping to increase the English pass rates from 36 percent to 74 percent and math pass rates from 16 percent to 40 percent. HB19-1206 passed by a bipartisan vote of 63-2. The bill now heads to the Senate.