By Mary Nguyen Barry | Contributor May 12, 2016, at 8:00 a.m.
Quick, what's the value of x in 3x/2 + 5 = 20?

Don't know?

If you're rusty since it's been a while since your last high school algebra class, we'll forgive you for now. But if you're a soon-to-be high school graduate celebrating your recent college decision, then we have some cautionary news for you and your parents: You may end up spending nearly $1.5 billion in extra college costs if you graduate from high school underprepared.

That's the sobering reality facing many of today's college first-year students. One in four who enter college immediately after high school graduation must pay college-level prices for high school-level classes.

Typically, underprepared students will be forced to enroll in so-called remedial college classes or more diplomatically-named courses like "Developmental English," "Algebra Review" or "Introduction to Writing." Most of these courses won't count towards a student's college degree. What that means is college will cost even more than these students and families realize.

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