MDRC in the News

The Continuing Evaluation of a Community College Student Support Program in Ohio

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute


The Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a comprehensive suite of supports meant to help community college students persist in school and complete a degree in three years or less…..

…..It began in the City University of New York (CUNY) system in 2007 and was imported into Ohio—at the Cincinnati State, Cuyahoga, and Lorain County community colleges—beginning in 2015. All along the way, implementation partner MDRC has also been tracking outcomes for Ohio students via a randomized controlled trial.

I have reviewed two of MDRC’s prior reports: A look at the program’s structure and first two years of data, and their further analysis based on a third year of data. They found, in short, that the treatment group outperformed the control group in all measured outcomes, which include persistence in school, persistence of full-time enrollment, credit accumulation, and college graduation. All program effects were large, significant, and increased throughout the study period. The Ohio version of the program also turned out to be more efficient in terms of staffing needs and cost requirements than the CUNY one…..

…..MDRC researchers continued to follow the original treatment and control groups for a further three years. The most recent report on their progress was released last month. The new results were similar to those previously reported. After six years, 44 percent of treatment students had earned a degree of any kind, compared with 29 percent of control students…..

…..New to this report, the researchers also found that ASAP participation boosted individuals’ earnings. In the sixth year of follow-up, which occurred during the pandemic, program participants’ average earnings (across full-time and part-time workers, as well as nonworkers) were $19,573, an 11 percent increase over the control group earnings of $17,625…..

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