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Summaries of RCT Grants

Expansion and replication of the ASAP model in West Virginia Community Colleges, aimed at increasing occupationally-focused degree completion

City University of New York’s (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a comprehensive community college program that provides academic, personal, and financial supports to low-income students who require remedial education.

Grant Recipient: West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS)

Term: 2019 –2025

Funding: $4,175,113

Summary: City University of New York’s (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) is a comprehensive community college program that provides academic, personal, and financial supports to low-income students who require remedial education. In a prior well-conducted RCT conducted at CUNY, ASAP was found to increase graduation rates (largely two-year degrees) by 10 percentage points at the 6-year follow-up – 51% graduation rate for the treatment group vs. 41% for the control group. An ongoing Ohio replication RCT, co-funded by Arnold Ventures, shows very encouraging early results – an 11 percentage point increase in graduation rates at the (interim) two-year follow-up. A key outstanding question is whether these sizable effects on two-year degrees will ultimately lead to meaningful gains in participants’ economic well-being (specifically, earnings) over time.

Seeking to address this question, West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS) will be implementing ASAP at two community colleges, with an explicit focus on increasing completion of occupationally-focused degrees that are aligned with high-wage jobs in the local economy (e.g., advanced manufacturing, IT, welding, healthcare). West Virginia University-Parkersburg and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College will deliver ASAP to a total of 600 students over six years. Arnold Ventures funding will pay for (i) program delivery at a cost of approximately $6,600 total per student over three years, and (ii) technical assistance from CUNY to ensure close fidelity to the ASAP model.

Under a separate grant, Arnold Ventures is funding an RCT of the ASAP replication at WVCTCS to determine whether the graduation impacts found in the two prior RCTs can be reproduced in West Virginia and, if so, whether these impacts lead to increased earnings over time.

Grants

Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.

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