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Summaries of RCT Grants

RCT of Accelerate, Complete, and Engage (ACE), a comprehensive program providing academic, personal, and financial supports to predominantly low-income students in a four-year college

This is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of an adapted version of the City University of New York (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP).

Grant Recipient: Research Foundation of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Term: 2018 –2024

Principal Investigators: Jing Zhu, Ph.D., Metis Associates
Diana Strumbos, City University of New York (CUNY)

Funding: $265,152

Summary: This is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of an adapted version of the City University of New York (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP). ASAP is a comprehensive community college program that provides academic, personal, and financial supports to predominantly low-income students, and requires their full-time enrollment. This new study will evaluate the same basic model, renamed Accelerate, Complete, and Engage (ACE), adapted to a four-year college setting – John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

The program is backed by highly-promising prior evidence of effects on college attainment. A high-quality RCT of CUNY ASAP with a sample of 896 students found that the program produced an 18 percentage point increase in degree completion three years after random assignment, and a smaller but still impressive 10 percentage-point increase in degree completion six years after random assignment (i.e., three years after program services ended). At that point, 51% of the treatment group had completed a degree versus 41% of the control group (statistically significant p<0.01). The CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, which created and implemented ASAP, developed the ACE program and piloted it at John Jay College in the fall of 2015. A quasi-experimental study with incoming 2015 students at John Jay College found that at the beginning of their third academic year, ACE participants were nearly twice as likely to be on-track to graduate in four years, compared to the matched comparison group (65% of the ACE group was on-track to graduate versus 37% of the comparison group).

This study will randomly assign 570 students in the fall of 2018 to either a group that is offered the program or a control group that is not. The study will measure impacts on college persistence and degree completion over a 5-year follow-up period using administrative data from the CUNY system and the National Student Clearinghouse.

The study’s pre-analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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