Absence of conflict of interest.
Sommo, C., Cullinan, D., Manno, M., Blake, S., & Alonzo, E. (2018). Doubling graduation rates in a new state: Two-year findings from the ASAP Ohio demonstration. New York: MDRC.
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of Ohio’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) on community college students’ persistence, credit accumulation, and degree completion rates.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial conducted at three community colleges in Ohio. Eligible students were randomly assigned to either the treatment or control groups. The authors conducted statistical tests to examine differences in outcomes between the groups over four semesters.
- The study found that when compared to the control group, ASAP students had significantly higher enrollment rates and credit accumulation over the two-year period, and also had significantly higher degree completion rates.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial with low attrition. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Ohio Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, and not to other factors.
The Ohio Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)
Features of the Intervention
The Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) provides community colleges with up to three years of financial and academic support. The goal is to help more students graduate within three years. In 2015, three community colleges in Ohio began implementing a model adapted from the City University of New York (CUNY) ASAP. Ohio ASAP required students to enroll full-time and encouraged them to take developmental courses immediately. The program provided comprehensive support services, such as advising, career development, and tutoring. Students received a monthly incentive of $50 for participation in support services, along with other financial support including a tuition waiver and textbook assistance. Ohio ASAP also had courses with seats blocked for participating students, condensed schedules, and a student success course.
To be included in the study, students had to be eligible for Pell grants, seeking degrees, willing to be a full-time student, have a major that could be completed within three years, and be a new student or a continuing student with no more than 24 credits.
Features of the Study
The study was a randomized controlled trial conducted at three community colleges in Ohio (Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, and Lorain County Community College). Eligible students were randomly assigned to either the treatment or the control groups. The sample included 1,501 community college students, 806 in the treatment group and 695 in the control group. Data sources included a baseline information form, National Student Clearinghouse data, and transcript data. Outcomes included enrollment rates (student persistence), credits earned, and graduation rates (degrees earned). The authors compared student progress over four semesters between the treatment and control groups, controlling for participant characteristics, campus, and cohort.
Education and skills gain
- The study found that student persistence rates were significantly higher in the ASAP student group compared to the control group over four semesters. The difference in full-time enrollment was 18 percentage points in the first semester, and ranged from 11 to 19 percentage points over the two-year period.
- When compared to students in the control group, the study showed that participation in Ohio ASAP significantly increased credit accumulation with the program group earning approximately two more credits per semester over the two-year period.
- The study found a significant impact of Ohio ASAP on students’ degree/credential completion with 19% of ASAP students earning a degree or credential after two years compared with 8% of control group students.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
One of the community colleges experienced a significant amount of staff turnover during the program implementation period.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial with low attrition. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Ohio Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, and not to other factors.
Sommo, C., & Ratledge, A. (2016). Bringing CUNY Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) to Ohio. New York: MDRC.