The Path Not Taken

Inside Higher Ed

What if instead of debt relief the White House had instead decided to scale a holistic approach to student success for low-income students at community colleges? The political payoff would be less, but the impact would be far greater.....

.....Independent, external evaluations of the City University of New York’s ASAP program by MDRC using randomized controlled trials found that ASAP almost doubled graduation rates, from 22 percent to 40 percent, after three years. Replication at community colleges in Ohio showed similar results.....

.....Expensive? Yes. But the cost is much lower than the perhaps $1 trillion of one-time debt relief that the Biden administration recently proposed. It’s also forward-facing: ensuring that future students will be more likely to achieve the benefits of a college degree.

Programs like ASAP offer evidence-based, cost-efficient solutions to a host of challenges: the completion challenge, the time-to-degree challenge, the transfer challenge and the postgraduation ROI challenge. These programs should serve as our lodestar.

If we are truly serious about equity and closing attainment gaps, we know what to do. Let’s just do it.

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