Cost-effectiveness of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) of the City University of New York (CUNY)
increasing college graduation
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
Although community colleges enroll almost half of the students engaged in postsecondary education, they have poor success in student completion of degrees. Nationally it appears that less than a quarter of community college students obtain the two-year associate degree, and the success rate is even lower in urban community colleges. In response, the City University of New York (CUNY) evaluated the obstacles to degree completion and responded by establishing the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP). ASAP attempts to assist students in overcoming financial, academic, and scheduling difficulties that undermine degree attainment. An early evaluation of ASAP students over three years found that in comparison with a matched group of students in six community colleges of CUNY, the graduation rates doubled from about a quarter of students completing to more than half. But ASAP does require additional financial resources. The purpose of this study was to undertake a cost-effectiveness analysis to see if the additional costs were compensated by a higher graduation rate sufficient to justify those costs. The cost of producing an additional graduate in the comparison group without ASAP was compared with the cost when ASAP was provided. The conclusion is that ASAP is so much more effective in producing additional graduates in a timely fashion and that the cost per graduate for ASAP is comparable to or less than that of the traditional approach. ASAP can increase considerably the number of CUNY community college graduates while actually reducing costs.