According to a recent editorial in the New York Times, CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) has proven to be an effective way of getting students to a degree as quickly as possible. Long delays in degree completion and rising dropout rates are becoming an increasing problem at non-elite, public institutions. The ASAP program may be a prototype for addressing this issue:
Six years ago, CUNY decided to confront the high dropout rate at its community colleges with the ASAP initiative. The results are stunning: 56 percent of the first two cohorts of more than 1,500 students have graduated, compared with just 23 percent of a comparable group that didn’t have the same experience. What’s more, most of those graduates are currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
The program for community-college students addresses money issues, which are typically students’ top concern, by covering tuition that’s not paid for by federal and state grants, as well as paying for public transit and giving students free use of textbooks, saving them upward of $900 a year. To help balance the demands of college with work, life and family obligations, students take their classes in a consolidated course schedule (morning, afternoon or evening).