National graduation rates for community college students who need developmental education are astonishingly low. According to the 2016 NCES Condition of Education Report, only 28% earned a degree in 8.5 years. These students desperately need extra help to overcome academic, social, and financial obstacles and complete their degrees.

Nearly 70% of community college students need remedial courses*
28% of these students complete their degree in 8.5 years**


* Remedial Course taking at U.S. Public 2- and 4-Year Institutions: Scope, Experiences, and Outcomes Statistical Analysis Report - September 2016.

** NCES Condition of Education Report


Through a five-year, $5 million commitment, Ascendium funded a replication demonstration of the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) developed by the City University of New York (CUNY). This program has helped thousands of students graduate at more than twice the rate of their peers.

Partnering with MDRC, a social and education policy research organization; the Ohio Department of Higher Education; and CUNY, Ascendium supported the implementation and evaluation of a program modeled on ASAP at Lorain County Community College, Cuyahoga Community College District (Tri-C) and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. A total of 1,500 low-income students benefitted from a comprehensive array of services and supports over a three-year period designed to help more students graduate and graduate sooner.

We believe this work can provide guidance for other states and colleges that plan to adopt and scale similar models to boost completion rates. To read about MDRC’s findings, access the policy brief on the sidebar.


Contact Senior Program Officer Sue Cui at