An Eight-Year Cost Analysis from a Randomized Controlled Trial of CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs
Developed by the City University of New York (CUNY), the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a comprehensive program that provides students with up to three years of financial and academic support and other services. In return, students are expected to enroll in classes full time and participate in essential program services. An earlier experimental evaluation found that ASAP nearly doubled graduation rates three years after students entered the study. This paper summarizes the effects on education and financial aid outcomes over an eight-year follow-up period, or five years after the end of program services. This paper also presents the educational investment in students associated with providing these services and any educational investment in students from the CUNY community colleges after the program services were no longer provided. Through the eight-year follow-up period, ASAP’s effects on associate’s degree receipt persisted, indicating that the program not only helped students graduate faster, but also helped some students who would have never graduated without the program earn a degree. ASAP also led to a significant increase in the amount of financial aid students received through federal and state grants. The net cost (the difference between the total program group costs and the total control group costs) averaged $13,838 per program group member over eight years. CUNY spent, on average, an additional $9,162 per degree earned for students offered ASAP, compared with the control group students over the eight-year follow-up period. The findings also show that the program resulted in increased financial aid from the Pell Grant Program and the New York State Tuition Assistance Program, and reduced the grant dollars these programs invested per degree earned.