CUNY Accelerated Study in Associate Programs
The City University of New York needed to evaluate its initiative to support students.
Launched in 2007, the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at City University of New York (CUNY) provides students with a range of financial, academic, and personal support to help students earn their associate's degree within three years. That support includes personalized advising, career counseling, tutoring, waivers for tuition and mandatory fees, and mass transit passes, as well as additional financial assistance to defray the cost of textbooks. The Research Foundation of CUNY needed to know whether the program was making a difference: Did ASAP students do better in school and their careers than students in CUNY's traditional programs? CUNY also wanted to understand students' experiences and perceptions of their time in ASAP so the university could make informed decisions about the program's continuation and expansion.
NORC surveyed graduates to measure the impact of the accelerated program.
To help CUNY administrators evaluate and refine ASAP, the school partnered with NORC at the University of Chicago to survey former CUNY community college students—including both those enrolled and not enrolled in ASAP—to determine their career and educational outcomes and how well they felt CUNY prepared them for their next steps in life. The study included all students across six CUNY campuses who enrolled in ASAP from fall 2007 through fall 2013. Using propensity score matching, CUNY selected a corresponding control group of non-ASAP CUNY students from the same colleges who were enrolled at the same time. NORC invited the full sample to participate in the survey over 11 weeks in 2017. A total of 3,843 former students participated, more than half of whom had been enrolled in ASAP.
ASAP significantly helped CUNY students graduate and move into careers.
The findings indicate that ASAP had long-term positive effects on educational attainment, plans for future educational attainment, work satisfaction, and fulfilling career goals.
For instance, ASAP students had a graduation rate twice as high as those in the comparison group. For students with developmental needs, the difference in graduation rates was even greater. The results from CUNY ASAP add evidence of the kinds of support that help community college students succeed.