ASAP students at Bronx Community College
With intensive advising, tutoring and financial assistance, poorly prepared low-income community college students nearly doubled their graduation rate, concludes a study on Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP).
The City University of New York program cost $16,300 more per student. However, the cost per graduate was lower after three years, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. ASAP participants also were more likely to transfer and earned more credits than the control group.
Forty percent of the students in the study graduated within three years, compared with 22 percent in the control group. Nationwide, only about 15 percent of community-college students who start out in remedial education earn a degree or certificate within three years, the report notes.
While 60 percent of community college students are part-timers, ASAP requires full-time enrollment. Most participants are young, living at home with parents, single and childless.
ASAP provides three years of financial aid, including a tuition waiver, free textbooks and a free bus pass.
They are required to meet frequently with advisers whose initial caseloads (60 to 80 students per adviser) are much smaller than the typical caseload of 600 to 1,500 students at CUNY’s two-year institutions. The program also includes mandatory tutoring, career advising, and seminars on topics like study skills and goal setting. Students can register for courses early, which helps them get into classes they need to graduate on time, and they can enroll in blocked or linked classes with other ASAP students in their first year.
Priority registration is a huge benefit, writes Michael Feldstein. But CUNY plans to expand ASAP from 1 percent of incoming students to 19 percent. It will be harder for ASAP students to get into classes at convenient times. And what about the students who also need those classes but can’t afford to enroll full-time?
Several Ohio community colleges also are trying ASAP.