MDRC in the News

The Final Tally: Three-Year Outcomes for the ASAP Community College Student Support Program

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

05/2020

The Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) began in the City University of New York (CUNY) system with the intent to comprehensively support students to persist and complete community college within three years. In 2015, the program expanded to three community colleges in Ohio: Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, and Lorain County Community College. The initial results, released in early 2019, were promising. Evaluators found that the program adapted easily to a new environment, was more cost-effective in its new home, and was even more successful in boosting student success…

…At the end of three years, the positive findings continued. While full-time enrollment in both groups declined across each semester, the declines were far more modest for students in the program group. Nearly 50 percent of ASAP students were enrolled full time at the end of three years versus less than 20 percent of the control group. In terms of degree completion, 35 percent of the program group earned degrees (including certificates, associate degrees, and even a handful of bachelor’s degrees) by the end of three years, as compared to 19 percent of the control group. Meanwhile, 18 percent of the program group had transferred to a four-year institution (including some overlap with the degree-earners), as compared to 12 percent of the control group…

…The new report covers a host of other program-related outcomes, including comparisons between the Ohio and CUNY versions in terms of staffing and execution. But the most important continues to be the cost-effectiveness of the effort. ASAP supports cost about $8,000 more per student over six semesters than the colleges’ business-as-usual services, but the program increased graduation rates so much that the cost per degree-earned was 22 percent lower for program group students than it was for the control group…

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