Comprehensive Support Programs Boost Community College Completion Rates

February 6, 2020

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Title: Increasing Community College Graduation Rates with a Proven Model

Authors: Cynthia Miller, Camielle Headlam, Michelle S. Manno, and Dan Cullinan

Source: MDRC

MDRC’s recent study suggests that comprehensive support programs boosted community college completion rates in Ohio. The findings are based on student data from three community colleges where the Ohio program operated.

The Accelerated Study in Associates Programs (ASAP) Ohio program was designed to mirror the City University of New York ASAP model. The program encouraged participants to complete their degree program within three years and required students to enroll full time and take developmental courses early in their college career. In addition, participants were required to participate in advising, tutoring, and career services appointments. Among other benefits, participants received textbook vouchers and tuition waivers to cover their remaining costs after financial aid was applied.

Similar to earlier evaluations of the CUNY ASAP program, ASAP Ohio was found to nearly double degree completion rates, with completion rates rising from 22 percent to 40 percent for participants as compared to their peers who were not in the program. This increase extended across student subgroups and to all three community colleges enrolled in the program. Additionally, the study found that students in the program transferred to four-year institutions at higher rates than their peers.

The full report includes more information on the program model, implementation, and effects, as well as a discussion of what the findings might mean for colleges and policymakers.

To read the full report, please click here.

—Charles Sanchez

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