History of ASAP


ASAP History


ASAP was launched in fall 2007 with funding from the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity. ASAP is committed to graduating at least 50% of students within three years through provision of comprehensive support services and financial resources. ASAP is found at six CUNY community colleges: Borough of Manhattan, Bronx, Hostos, Kingsborough, LaGuardia, and Queensborough. The ASAP design also informed the development of CUNY's Guttman Community College (formerly the New Community College), which opened in fall 2012.


ASAP began in fall 2007 with a cohort of 1,132 students who were deemed fully skills proficient in reading, writing, and math by program start. Approximately a third of students required developmental coursework prior to beginning the program. As of September 2010, CUNY ASAP surpassed its graduation target and helped 621 students, or 55% of the fall 2007 cohort, earn their associate degrees within three years vs. 25% of a comparison group of similar students.  The ASAP three-year graduation rate is more than three times higher than the national urban community college three-year graduation rate of 16%.


Based on early success, ASAP began to target students with some developmental needs at program entry. Cohorts admitted since 2009 are primarily comprised of students with one to two developmental course needs based on their scores on the CUNY Assessment Test. Analysis of the fall 2009 cohort (N=429) reveals that ASAP students are retained at higher rates, move through their developmental requirements significantly faster and graduate at much higher rates than comparison group students.  The two-year graduation rate for the fall 2009 ASAP cohort is 27.5% vs. 7.2% for comparison group students.


ASAP conducts rigorous evaluation of all aspects of the program in consultation with the CEO and its external evaluator Metis Associates.  Read our reports to learn more: click here <pdf> to read our 2009 Early Outcomes Report; click here <pdf> to read our 2012 Follow-up Report. ASAP is also involved in a five year random assignment study led by MDRC, a highly respected social research policy organization. A preliminary report was released by MDRC in June 2012 that finds significant gains for ASAP students vs. a control group on key outcomes. Click here <pdf> to read the MDRC Preliminary Report.


Since 2010, ASAP has expanded its program and evaluation capacity thanks to the New York City CEO making ASAP funding a permanent allocation to CUNY in 2010. Additionally, ASAP has secured significant private funding including grant awards from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Robin Hood Foundation, and the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women. Helmsley Trust and Robin Hood funds have supported program expansion at three colleges and the random assignment study led by MDRC. JFEW and Helmsley funding supported the launch of a Transfer Scholarship Program for ASAP graduates who matriculate to select CUNY senior colleges: Hunter, Baruch, Brooklyn, Queens, City, and Lehman. Click here to learn more about Helmsley and JFEW funding; to learn more about the present Transfer Scholarship Program, click here.


ASAP is frequently cited as a successful evidence-based program by important policy and research organizations and mentioned in major publications.  Click here to see a list of ASAP citations.