Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Evidence Rating:
Top Tier

Highlights

  • Program:

    A comprehensive community college program that provides academic, personal, and financial supports to low-income students, with the goal of increasing college graduate rates.

  • Evaluation Methods:

    Two well-conducted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) – one with a sample of 896 students at City University of New York (CUNY) community colleges, the other with a sample of 1,501 students at three Ohio community colleges.

  • Key Findings:

    A sizable, statistically-significant increase in college graduation rates. For example, six years after random assignment in the CUNY study, 51% of ASAP students had graduated with a two-year or four-year college degree versus 41% of control group students.

[Disclosure: Arnold Ventures funded the three-year follow-up of the Ohio RCT. We are also funding the delivery and/or evaluation of ASAP programs at other locations, including Westchester Community College in New York, Skyline College in California, and West Virginia Community and Technical College System.]

Originally developed by the City University of New York (CUNY), ASAP provides academic, personal, and financial supports to low-income community college students to help them earn an associate’s degree within three years. Participation is offered to new students and continuing students who have earned 12 or fewer credits, and is voluntary. Core program components include: (i) required full-time enrollment; (ii) a range of resources that ASAP students are required to use including an ASAP-dedicated advisor who helps students with academic, social, and interpersonal issues, a career counselor, and (if needed) tutoring services; (iii) special class scheduling options to ensure that ASAP students secure the classes that they need and that they take remedial classes (if needed) early in college; and (iv) financial supports such as tuition waivers equal to the difference between students’ tuition/fees and their existing financial aid, free textbooks, and gift cards for transit or food.

The estimated per-student cost of ASAP (beyond that spent on non-ASAP students) was approximately $16,000 in the CUNY study $8,030 in the Ohio study.[1]

Click here for the CUNY ASAP Program website

To see our full evidence summary:
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References

[1] At CUNY, the total cost of $16,000 includes the direct cost of ASAP program services ($14,000) plus the higher cost associated with ASAP students taking more classes than control group students ($2,000). The program’s cost at CUNY has decreased as the program has matured, and is now approximately $10,200 per student. In Ohio, the total cost of $8,030 includes the direct cost of program services ($5,521) plus the higher cost associated with program students taking more classes than control group students ($2,510).


Study 1 (CUNY)

Weiss, M.J., Ratledge, A., Sommo, C., & Gupta, H. (2019). Supporting community college students from start to degree completion: Long-term evidence from a randomized trial of CUNY’s ASAP. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 11(3), 253-297.

Gupta, H. (2017). The power of fully supporting community college students: The effects of the City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs after six years. New York, NY: MDRC.

Scrivener, S., Weiss, M. J., Ratledge, A., Rudd, T., Sommo, C., & Fresques, H. (2015). Doubling graduation rates: Three-year effects of CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for developmental education students. New York, NY: MDRC.

Scrivener, S., Weiss, M. J., & Sommo, C. (2012). What can a multifaceted program do for community college students?: Early result from an evaluation of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) for developmental education student. New York, NY: MDRC.

Study 2 (Ohio)

Miller, C., Headlam, C., Manno, M., Cullinan, D. (2020). Increasing community college graduation rates with a proven model: Three-year results from the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) Ohio Demonstration. New York, NY: MDRC.

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