Too many college freshmen need to take basic remediation courses in math and English.

That in itself is troubling. Coupled with the high cost of attending college, and there's a problem that needs to be fixed.

Now, action is being taken. Legislation signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence will require high schools throughout Indiana to do a better job of determining whether their students are ready for college.

The new law, House Enrolled Act 1005, was prompted in part by research that shows thousands of high school graduates, including those who graduated with academic honors, had to take math and English remediation courses upon entering college.

Starting next school year, high schools will have to identify 11th graders who are at risk of failing their senior-year graduation exams or need remedial classes before beginning college work for credit. The law also requires high schools to start providing extra help to those students in their senior year.  

Just as important is that the law also will reduce the number of students who enter the workforce immediately after graduation lacking adequate math and language skills.

Every year, more than 10,000 college freshman who've graduated from Indiana high schools are required to take remedial classes that give them no college credits but cost the same as a for-credit course, according to the Indiana Commission on Higher Education. That information was reported over the weekend by Maureen Hayden, a statehouse reporter for several Indiana newspapers.

"The legislation establishes a backstop so that any need for remediation will be identified and can be addressed in high school," State Rep. Ed Clere, a New Albany Republican who authored the bill, told Hayden. "Too many students enter college unprepared and in need of remediation. Very few of those students graduate on time, and many never graduate at all."

Money spent on remedial college courses is money that should be spent on advanced college-level courses.

Students who need to take remedial classes in college run a higher risk of dropping out, in part because they can't afford to keep going when their money, college loans, or scholarships run out.

This new legislation is overdue. Greater demands at the high school level will serve students well when they arrive at college or the workplace.