The contribution of student success programs on community college student persistence and graduation rates: A case study of the benefits and costs of the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at the City University of New York
Almost 12 million students, more than half of the nation's undergraduates, are currently enrolled at community colleges. The commitment of these institutions to open access admission attracts a significantly underprepared population. Consequently, less than 50% of first time freshman students earn a degree or transfer to a 4-year institution within six years. Providing coordinated academic and financial support services in the form of student success programs has been demonstrated to increase student persistence and graduation rates. The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest urban public university system in the nation with over 88,000 students enrolled at six community colleges. Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a CUNY student success program that provides additional academic services and program incentives to selected community college students who present no remedial education needs. The program began in 2007 with 1,132 students and graduated over 54.9% of these students within three years. The 3-year comparison rate for all CUNY community college students is currently 12.6%. This study utilizes data collected from an institutional exit survey of ASAP students in their final semester of study, interviews of ASAP staff and CUNY chief academic officers, and a review of CUNY and ASAP budget documents. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were utilized to analyze the data and to find emerging trends related to which program incentives and services most contributed to ASAP student persistence and graduation rates. Key themes that emerged from the survey and interview data included the importance of financial incentives, academic advisement, and the supportive structure of the cohort model. Other trends included barriers to success such as motivation, fear, employment, family, and preparation for college level work. ASAP staff also discussed effective techniques utilized to overcome these barriers. The study also examines the cost of the services and incentives of ASAP and the cost per graduate from ASAP compared to other CUNY community college students. Where possible, the study seeks to identify differences in the general campus populations and success rates at the six colleges where ASAP was implemented. The findings of this study will assist CUNY and other community colleges who wish to replicate the success of ASAP at a significantly reduced cost than the expense of the full ASAP model. In addition, this study will provide a framework for funding organizations seeking to evaluate the cost/benefit components of student success initiatives.
Community college education|Education finance|Higher education
Rini, Anthony L, "The contribution of student success programs on community college student persistence and graduation rates: A case study of the benefits and costs of the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at the City University of New York" (2011). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3455403.