Remedial education refers to classes taken on a college campus that are below college-level. Students pay tuition and can use financial aid for remedial courses, but they do not receive college credit. Most remediation occurs in reading, writing and math. 
When considering all first-time undergraduates, studies have found anywhere from 28-40% of students enroll in at least one remedial course. When looking at only community college students, several studies have found remediation rates surpassing 50%. 
Remediation is costly for states to provide and for students to take. Strong American Schools estimates the costs of remedial education to states and students at around $2.3 billion each year. 
Lowering remediation rates will save money. The Alliance for Excellent Education suggests that reducing the need for remediation could generate an extra $3.7 billion annually from decreased spending on the delivery of remedial education and increased tax revenue from students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree. 
, , , : National Conference of State Legislatures - Reforming Remedial Education: http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/improving-college-completion-reforming-remedial.aspx
How Our Idea Reimagines the Cost of College:
What if even half of the over two billion dollars currently spent on remedial education could be reallocated to providing more subsidies and scholarships?
Our idea reduces the cost of remedial education by implementing an instructor-guided peer tutoring program during the summer/semester before college. Each student, as part of his/her learning experience, is responsible for tutoring 3 other students.
As this program can be led by fewer instructors (who don’t have to be specialized professors), and to the extent the program can be held in a lower-cost / non-college-campus environment, tuition costs would be reduced.
By tutoring others in what they've learned, students also learn better.
Program completion rates could be increased by:
- A learn-by-teaching model where students are responsible not only for their own learning but also that of others (as a result, instructors no longer have to "teach to the middle" -- they can work with specific groups of students on an as-needed basis)
- Nurturing a sense of community, self-confidence, and being part of something bigger than oneself
- Taught both content and tutoring skills
- Grouped by skill level and learning style
- Given support by instructors and student tutors
Students will be matched in groups/learning pods based on criteria such as:
- Academic level
- Learning style
- Personality (e.g., level of growth mindset)
Ways in which technology might be incorporated to reduce costs and improve academic outcomes:
- A mobile app quiz / formative assessment that groups students into learning pods
- Pre-existing or new apps that enable students to post questions and answers online and share best practices
- MOOCs / online videos that might complement in-person tutor-student interaction