What We’re Watching: A Little Help Goes a Long Way in Doubling the Community College Grad Rates

By 12/01/2017

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Soledad O’Brien reports on the ASAP program, launched by CUNY to boost community college graduation rates.

Susan Dynarski and Meghan Oster wrote about an evaluation of the ASAP program for Education Next.

Early last year, MDRC, a respected research firm that specializes in evaluations of social policies, released the results of a randomized trial at the City University of New York (CUNY). In partnership with MDRC, CUNY tested an innovative program of wrap-around support services known as Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which provides intensive academic supports and incentives for its students. The ASAP program requires that students enroll full time and attend advising and tutoring sessions. All of their financial need is covered, and they receive free textbooks.

The results of the CUNY trial were impressive: ASAP doubled the three-year graduation rate of students seeking an associates’ degree (from 22 percent to 40 percent), while also increasing the share of students who transferred to four-year colleges to seek a BA (from 17 percent to 25 percent). And while the program increased annual costs per enrolled student (by about $5,400), it actually reduced the total cost of producing each additional graduate.

— Education Next

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