There’s a Proven Fix for an Urgent Education Problem — Congress Should Embrace It

The Hill

“Cataclysmic” — that’s how one researcher described the recently reported drop in U.S. college enrollment. “With the exception of wartime,” he observed, “the United States has never been through a period of declining educational attainment like this.” 

That decline received extensive media coverage — far more than another cataclysm in the higher education system that’s gone unaddressed for years: Among the third of full-time U.S. students who attend two-year community colleges, more than 70 percent fail to finish their degrees.  

.....Recent research from the nonprofit research organization MDRC points to a solution. MDRC studied a program instituted by three Ohio community colleges — Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, and Lorain County Community College. These institutions adopted the Accelerated Study in Associates Program, or ASAP, a model conceived by the City University of New York (CUNY) in 2007.....

..... When MDRC researchers first tested the ASAP pilot program at CUNY in 2015, the results were promising: After three years, 40 percent of ASAP students graduated, compared with just 22 percent of the rest of the student population. Six years later, those ASAP students kept outperforming the control group, with more than half earning degrees, compared to 40 percent of non-ASAP students.....

.....Unlike many other programs, though, wraparound college completion efforts have a proven, data-backed track record. They’ve consistently produced astonishing results across multiple contexts, providing students both college degrees and better long-term livelihoods. And if Washington is serious about addressing the nation’s college attainment cataclysm, programs like ASAP are a solution that deserve public support. 

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