Helping students to graduate ASAP
A study published in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics presents the results from a randomized controlled trial of the City University of New York's (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative on students' academic progress and success. This latest paper considers the long-term impact of the program (we covered the original study previously in Best Evidence in Brief).
 
The CUNY ASAP program is a comprehensive three-year program aimed at helping more students to graduate from community college within three years and help students to graduate more quickly than they otherwise would. It aims to remove the barriers to academic success often faced by low-income students and comprises the following components:
  • Students are required to attend college full time, take remedial courses early, and graduate in three years.
  • Each student is provided with a dedicated ASAP advisor.
  • Students receive a tuition waiver covering the difference between the financial aid provided and the cost of tuition and fees. They are also provided with free passes for public transportation and free use of textbooks.
  • Students can enroll in courses with other ASAP students in convenient schedules.
A total of 896 students at three of the six CUNY community colleges that ran ASAP participated in the study. Students were randomly assigned to either receive ASAP or to a control group that received normal college services, but not ASAP.
 
The results of the study showed that ASAP had positive impacts on full-time enrollment and credit accumulation. It had an estimated 18 percentage point effect on three-year graduation rates, increased six-year graduation rates by an estimated 10 percentage points, and helped students to graduate more quickly than students in the control group.

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