Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) was launched in 2007 to improve the low graduation rates of City University of New York’s (CUNY) Community Colleges. Initially conceived as an anti-poverty program, ASAP provides wraparound services to students selected at six CUNY community colleges. The ASAP expansion at Bronx Community College (BCC) is a redesign of an entire college through the expansion of a very successful program. About 90% of ASAP students receive full financial aid and 85% enter the program with at least one developmental education need. The ASAP theory of action includes removing financial barriers for students who enroll full time, providing structured degree pathways and comprehensive support services, establishing clear expectations for students, building community through early engagement, a cohort model, and block scheduling.
Their mission is to graduate at least 50% of its students within three years. To realize its mission, ASAP provides students with a battery of comprehensive services delivered with a clear degree completion strategy and guided by three principles: maintaining academic momentum, achieving a successful student integration in the institution, and removing institutional difficulties by building “guided pathways.” The program objectives are: (1) To support full-time study and consistent credit accumulation, (2) To address financial and academic barriers to persistence and completion, (3) To foster a sense of community, and (4) To develop close advisor/student relationships by which students can develop academically, personally, and professionally.
ASAP has established retention and graduation benchmarks as well as advisor/student meeting frequency benchmarks. Here are highlights that demonstrate the effectiveness of ASAP at BCC:
- Semester to semester: ASAP students= 93%, CG= 84%
- One year: ASAP students= 81%, CG= 66%
- Two year rate: ASAP students= 23%, CG=7%
- Three year rate: ASAP students= 54%, CG 18%
- Enrolled in Bachelor’s program: ASAP students= 59%, CG=50%
- Earned BA degree in six years: ASAP students= 27%, CG =8%
- In Spring 2016, 93% of students met with advisors four or more times.
- 98% of Spring 2016 survey respondents were very satisfied or satisfied with their advisors and virtually 100% were very satisfied or satisfied with ASAP financial benefits.
- ASAP at BCC is serving almost 2,000 students (20% of the total BCC student population). By 2018-19 BCC ASAP is expected to grow to serve 5,000 students, or 50% of the college’s population.