CUNY Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help address educational disparities. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Provides comprehensive services to full-time community college students to promote degree completion within 3 years and facilitate successful transitions to employment or 4-year college
  • Key features include intensive advising, tutoring, and counseling, alongside tuition waivers, funds to support textbooks and MTA cards, and priority class scheduling
Target Population
Students enrolled in post-secondary education
Cost per Participant
$3,440 per student per year

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse, Social Program That Work

  • Nearly doubled 3-year graduation rate
  • Higher rates of credits earned, developmental requirements completed, and enrollment in 4-year colleges

Best practices in implementation

  • Adopt the ASAP model in full – the program components are designed to be mutually-reinforcing. Review CUNY ASAP’s overview of its model, structure, and replication strategies, especially when it comes to early-stage planning considerations.
  • Partner closely with college and community leadership, including mapping out a long-term plan for program sustainability.
  • Invest in the upfront costs necessary for program success, especially dedicated college staff delivering support and programming, along with a data management system to fully track implementation and outcomes.
  • Recruit and engage students early – both through campus-based recruitment efforts and through partner institutions, such as community-based organizations, high schools, and GED/HSE programs.
  • Provide comprehensive and personalized advisement with relatively small caseloads for each advisor (no more than 150 students).
  • Set clear, ambitious graduation goals – at least 50% of program participants within three years or doubling the current graduation rate.
  • Use performance data to regularly evaluate program effectiveness in areas such as enrollment, student engagement with program services, credit accumulation, and graduation rates.