In this commentary, which originally appeared in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, MDRC’s Alex Mayer and Alyssa Ratledge describe evidence-backed strategies that colleges can employ this fall to help students stay engaged.
Adapting the Evidence for 2020 and Beyond
MDRC has studied a number of strategies for helping students stay in college and succeed there. Lessons from some of these models may be readily adapted to support students and close equity gaps now and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This Issue Focus offers three lessons taken from MDRC’s evaluations.
The Male Student Success Initiative is a program at the Community College of Baltimore County designed to support male students of color throughout their academic journey, leading ultimately to graduation or transfers to four-year institutions. This brief describes the program and introduces MDRC’s evaluation of it.
Two-Year Findings from the ASAP Ohio Demonstration
The highly successful Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), developed by the City University of New York, has been shown to nearly double graduation rates after three years. This brief presents results after two years from a replication of ASAP at three community colleges in Ohio.
A Case Study of Lorain County Community College’s Comprehensive Student Success Program
In 2014, Lorain County Community College launched Students Accelerating in Learning (SAIL), a comprehensive student success program that is substantially improving persistence and graduation rates among low-income students. This brief describes the steps Lorain took to fund and institutionalize SAIL that are now making it easier to sustain the program.
The Effects of the City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs After Six Years
The City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is an uncommonly comprehensive and long-term program shown to raise graduation rates among community college students. Following up after six years, MDRC finds that ASAP increases graduation rates and enables some students to earn their degrees sooner.
Forty percent of all entering college students and over half of entering community college students must take at least one remedial course. Fewer than half make it through developmental education. This two-page Looking Forward memo provides an overview of research evidence in four areas of developmental education reform.
Although most college students receive financial aid, many are left with unmet financial needs and may take on loans or drop out as a result. But promising innovations in financial aid could help students pay for college and accelerate their studies.
This document compares two approaches to improving community college outcomes — CUNY ASAP, a specific program model, and guided pathways, a framework for institutional reform — and discusses how they might be integrated to improve structure, coherence, and support for students.
Promising Approaches and Next Steps
A significant gap in the rates of college degree attainment persists between men of color and their white counterparts. This brief catalogues strategies commonly used in interventions at postsecondary educational institutions aimed at improving outcomes for male students of color and charts the way forward for future evaluative work.