MDRC in the News

Expanding Beyond NYC’s 5 Boroughs

Inside Higher Ed


The City University of New York system has become an incubator of experiments to improve student success, especially for students who are first generation or low income.

Armed with positive returns, CUNY is helping to expand those nationally praised programs around the system and to other colleges.

For example, CUNY will bring the Accelerate, Complete, Engage (ACE) program, which was created at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, to Lehman College, which is located in the Bronx. The program gives students additional academic supports and financial incentives such as tuition waivers, textbook assistance and public transportation subsidies. When the ACE program began in 2015, its goal was to increase the four-year graduation rate for students in the program to at least 50 percent from 24 percent. In May, 59.2 percent of the first ACE students graduated from the college…..

…..The ACE program is built off another successful venture. CUNY officials developed ACE as an attempt to apply the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) model to four-year colleges. [MDRC] researchers have found that community college students who participate in ASAP are almost twice as likely to earn an associate degree…..

…..Other colleges outside New York City are replicating ASAP to produce their own, similar results. [According to MDRC,] three Ohio community colleges have seen graduation-rate bumps ranging from 7.9 percent to 19.1 percent since starting their own ASAP programs. In addition, Westchester Community College, which is part of the State University of New York system; Tennessee’s Nashville State Community College; and a few California community colleges have either started or are exploring their own ASAP programs…..

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