Presents results from a promising community college reform model that aims to accelerate community college course completion and graduation rates.
“The City University of New York’s (CUNY’s) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), launched in 2007 with funding from the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity, is an uncommonly comprehensive and long-term program designed to help more students graduate and help them graduate more quickly…. It was designed to address multiple potential barriers to student success and to address them for up to three years” by providing students with services such as early developmental coursework, career advising and tutoring, tuition waivers, blocked and linked scheduling, as well as seminars that cover topics such as goal-setting and study skills (p.iii). 

“This report presents results from a random assignment study of ASAP at three CUNY community colleges: Borough of Manhattan, Kingsborough, and LaGuardia. Low-income students who needed one or two developmental courses were randomly assigned either to a program group, who could participate in ASAP, or to a control group, who could receive the usual college services”(p.iii). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Doubling Graduation Rates: Three-Year Effects of CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for Developmental Education Studies

Major Findings & Recommendations

ASAP’s effects are the largest MDRC has found in any of its evaluations of community college reforms. The model offers a highly promising strategy to markedly accelerate credit accumulation and increase graduation rates among educationally and economically disadvantaged populations” (p.iii). Three key findings were identified: 1. “ASAP was well implemented. The program provided students with a wide array of services over a three-year period, and effectively communicated requirements and other messages. 2. ASAP substantially improved students’ academic outcomes over three years, almost doubling graduation rates. ASAP increased enrollment in college and had especially large effects during the winter and summer intersessions. On average, program group students earned 48 credits in three years, 9 credits more than did control group students. By the end of the study period, 40 percent of the program group had received a degree, compared with 22 percent of the control group. At that point, 25 percent of the program group was enrolled in a four-year school, compared with 17 percent of the control group. 3. At the three-year point, the cost per degree was lower in ASAP than in the control condition. Because the program generated so many more graduates than the usual college services, the cost per degree was lower despite the substantial investment required to operate the program” (p.iii). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)