MDRC Report: The Power of Fully Supporting Community College Students

November 8, 2017

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Title: The Power of Fully Supporting Community College Students

Author: Himani Gupta

Date: October 2017

A recent report by MDRC reveals the impact of the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), a program developed by the City University of New York.

ASAP provides greater student support services (e.g., tuition waivers, free borrowing of textbooks, free public transit cards, access to college advisers who had reduced caseloads, tutoring, and individualized career and employment services) for a selection of students who applied for the program and met—and agreed to meet—certain requirements. These include enrolling full time, taking developmental courses early, meeting regularly with an adviser, and attending tutoring if they enrolled in developmental courses or were struggling academically. Students are only eligible for ASAP support for three years; however, the study tracked both these students and a control population for a total of six years.

After year three, 40 percent of students in the program had earned a degree, compared to only 22 percent in the control group. Even after six years, the number of students who had earned a degree was 10 percent higher for ASAP students than the control group. Additionally, these students completed more credits on average during every semester of the six-year study, and they were not only more likely to enroll at a four-year college, but also to enroll in one earlier than students in the control group.

ASAP was launched at CUNY in 2007, and the program has continued to grow and be refined. In the 2018-19 academic year, CUNY plans to enroll 25,000 students in ASAP across nine CUNY colleges. The estimated cost of the program per student during the entire three years is $14,000, on top of the roughly $26,000 that CUNY already spends on all students.

For more information, read the findings here.

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