Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

A post-secondary college-based prevention program that aims to address potential barriers to academic success and promote credit accumulation and associate degree completion in college students through comprehensive advisement and career and tutoring services provided by dedicated advisers.

The City University of New York (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a comprehensive program for college students seeking an associate degree. ASAP is designed to help participating students earn their associate degrees as quickly as possible, with the goal of graduating at least 50 percent of students within three years. The program provides students with structured and wide-ranging supports, including financial resources (e.g., tuition waivers for students in receipt of financial aid with a gap need, textbook assistance, and MetroCards to assist with transportation), structured pathways to support academic momentum (e.g., full-time enrollment, block scheduled first-year courses, immediate and continuous enrollment in developmental education, winter and summer course-taking), and support services such as advisement, tutoring, and career development.

CUNY ASAP’s first replication partnership began in 2014 through a collaboration with a research and evaluation nonprofit organization called MDRC, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and three Ohio community colleges that implemented programs based on ASAP.  In the Ohio programs, students were encouraged to attend specific sections of existing “student success” courses that addressed goal setting, study skills, and academic planning. In addition, throughout the duration of the program, students were connected to colleges’ existing career services, and students in developmental education courses were required to attend tutoring.  Students were also required to meet with a program adviser twice per month in the first semester, with requirements in the later semesters varying depending on the adviser’s determination of the student’s support level group, as in the CUNY ASAP advisement model. Program advisers also had student caseloads in line with the CUNY ASAP model. In addition, students received a tuition waiver that filled any gap between their existing grant financial aid and tuition and fees, textbook assistance, and a monthly gift card of $50 to help students purchase groceries or gas and to serve as an incentive to meet other program requirements (for example, attending advising appointments).  The Ohio programs were managed locally with dedicated staffing and oversight from college leadership to support data collection, reporting, and iterative improvement.

Since the first ASAP replication project in Ohio, CUNY ASAP has gone on to partner with colleges in four additional states.

Blueprints has certified two studies evaluating ASAP.

In Study 1, Scrivener et al. (2015) and Weiss et al. (2019) reported on a multi-site experimental trial in which 896 students from three City University of New York community colleges were randomly assigned to a control group or to receive the ASAP intervention. At the end of three years (posttest), students in the treatment group, compared to students in the control group, had higher session enrollment, earned more cumulative credits, and completed degrees at a higher rate. Additionally, during the three years post-intervention, students who participated in ASAP continued to earned more credits and complete degrees at a higher rate, as well as earn their degrees more quickly than their control counterparts.

In Study 2, Miller et al. (2020) conducted a multi-site randomized control trial with 1,501 students attending three community colleges in Ohio. Using administrative records, evaluators found that by posttest (three years after baseline), treatment students showed significant improvements relative to control students on degree completion (mostly at the associate level) and registering at a 4-year college.

References:

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. MDRC.

Scrivener, S., Weiss, M., 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: MDRC.

Weiss, M., 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. doi.org/10.1257/app.20170430

Read the Program Fact Sheet