Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version



This study evaluates CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) from a benefit-cost perspective. ASAP is designed to accelerate degree completion within three years at community colleges. This report builds on the CUNY evaluations of ASAP, which provide consistent evidence for the dramatic success of ASAP on increasing the timely completion of associate degrees. Although ASAP requires more resources per student than the traditional associate program, the cost per graduate was found to be lower because of its much higher effectiveness in producing graduates. The benefit-cost analysis of ASAP enables us to calculate the monetary costs and benefits of this intervention with particular emphasis on the financial returns to the taxpayer. We estimate the benefits arising from higher tax revenues and lower costs of spending on public health, criminal justice, and public assistance and compare them with the required investment for ASAP. The estimates show that there are large financial returns on ASAP investment for the taxpayer and for the students in the program. In all cases, the benefits exceeded the costs. For each dollar of investment in ASAP by taxpayers, the return was between three and four dollars and around twelve dollars for each dollar invested by the individuals, suggesting that ASAP is a very productive public and private investment. When applied to the much higher ability of ASAP to produce high graduation rates, the overall returns to the taxpayer are impressive. A cohort of 1,000 students enrolled in ASAP would generate fiscal benefits for the taxpayer of more than $46 million beyond those of investing an approximately equal amount in the conventional degree program. This is a very substantial monetary return for this educational intervention.


academic and social support systems, benefit-cost, increasing college graduation



Date Posted: 28 January 2022