MDRC in the News

Community Colleges Look to Replicate CUNY’s Accelerated Strategy

The Wall Street Journal


The City University of New York figured out how to double its community-college graduation rate for some students. Now it is sharing the secret sauce with schools in Ohio, California and elsewhere.

Skyline College in San Bruno, Calif., and Westchester Community College in New York will pilot versions of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, or ASAP, this fall, while Ohio’s governor is angling for funding to expand that state’s replication project to nine institutions from its current three sites.

Nearly six in 10 students who started at CUNY two-year schools between 2007 and 2013 and participated in ASAP graduated within three years—often while working and caring for families. Those who didn’t participate, but had similar backgrounds, had just a 28% likelihood of completing their degrees in that time frame…..

…..Since launching nearly a decade ago at its six community colleges in the sprawling City University of New York system, ASAP now enrolls 15,000 students across nine campuses. Participants must take at least 12 credits each in fall and spring, and often winter and summer classes as well, sign up for remedial courses and tutoring when necessary and participate in career development programs and monthly academic advising sessions. In exchange, they get tuition waivers, free subway passes, textbooks and help with course enrollment to keep them on track. Full-time tuition at CUNY’s community colleges is $4,800 a year for in-state students, and books and transit are estimated to cost another $2,400…..

…..More schools are reaching out to CUNY after seeing the success that three Ohio colleges had in replicating ASAP, even with older students who had families and worked full time…..

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