Mayor Bloomberg and CUNY Chancellor Goldstein Announce Program for Working New Yorkers at Six CUNY Community Colleges

April 17, 2007

The Accelerated Study in Associate Program (ASAP) initiative will help one thousand students to obtain an Associate Degree – totally free for those who qualify. BMCC will accept a qualified cohort of 250 students.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced the launch of the Center for Economic Opportunity’s (CEO) first initiative aimed at improving the education and career prospects of working New Yorkers – the Accelerated Study in Associate Program (ASAP) is another one of the Center on Economic Opportunity’s recommendations as outlined in the State of the City address, which will focus on the needs of the working poor of New York City.

The Center for Economic Opportunity

The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) was established to develop the recommendations made by the Commission for Economic Opportunity into innovative initiatives and, in turn, works with City Agencies to design and implement evidence based strategies and programs aimed at reducing poverty.

What is ASAP?

The ASAP initiative will help CUNY’s community college students to step forward to earn higher degrees – and then, higher incomes. The program, which will also be known as ASAP, will allow CUNY community college students to attend all of their classes at the same time of day or on weekends to accommodate their work schedules. Students will attend classes in peer cohort groups on the same schedule and with the same academic interests for the duration of the program and will receive dedicated tutorial support and mentoring. Joining the Mayor and Chancellor Goldstein in the announcement was the Vice President for College Bookstore at Barnes and Noble, Paul Maloney. The CEO has committed $6.5 million for the 2008 fiscal year to ASAP.

“We created the Center for Economic Opportunity to look at our most difficult problems and to come up with innovative ways to attack them. This new ASAP program is a sensible way to tear down the roadblocks for New Yorkers whose only college choice is to earn and learn at the same time,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We must provide New Yorkers a chance to further their education, and we must provide New York City with the educated workforce necessary to stay globally competitive.”

“We commend Mayor Bloomberg for his support and recognition of the importance of a community college education here in New York City and throughout the nation,” said Chancellor Goldstein. “CUNY’s ASAP will enhance students’ ability to graduate in a timely manner with the skills that are required in today’s competitive marketplace.”

ASAP’s Aim

Nationally, only 17% of students who enroll in a community college end up receiving an Associate’s degree. In New York City, that number is higher, but still only 21%. For many students, competing work and family responsibilities can prolong or interrupt college attendance. More than 60% of the City’s community college students balance their studies with full-time or part-time work. Family responsibilities, such as the care of small children, can also impede the completion of a college degree. ASAP’s aim is to graduate and place 50% of program participants in a full-time job or baccalaureate program within three years and 75% within four years.

ASAP will accommodate the needs of the students to help increase their chances of completing their Associate’s degrees by bringing four innovations to six community colleges in New York City. Each participating CUNY school will admit qualified students who will be expected to graduate with an Associate’s degree and to increase their earning power enough to raise and maintain their families above the poverty threshold. The programs, which are aimed at high school students from poor families who are wavering between attending college and entering the workforce, and the working poor who are trying to gain news skills to advance their careers and earn higher incomes, will be built on four core elements:

The Four Elements of ASAP

Block scheduling will allow students to attend classes in the morning, afternoon, at night, or on weekends to accommodate their work schedules. As an ASAP student you will be enrolled full-time, taking a minimum of 12 credits each semester, during a morning, afternoon, or evening block schedule. Block programming produces more “student-friendly” schedules, and insures that you take the right courses at the right time. It also creates cohorts of students who will “travel together” toward their degree.

Small Cohorts of no more than 25 students – students will follow the same schedule and share the same academic interests for the duration of the program.

On-campus tutorial support and mentoring will ensure that students receive the academic preparation necessary to help them reach their full potential.

ASAP will be totally free to those who qualify.

“For a person like me that is working full time, just having the block schedules and the tutors available to me is amazing,” Nathanial Wheeler, 26, who works full-time at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, explained to the Daily News. The ASAP program will help him meet his goal of becoming a forensic accountant.

At BMCC, an ASAP student can major in one of the following programs:



Barnes and Noble Support of ASAP

Barnes and Noble will provide underwriting support that will enable students to receive free textbooks. This funding is above and beyond the $6.5 million that the CEO has committed for the 2008 fiscal year for the program.

“Barnes and Noble is proud to support this effort by the Mayor to help aspiring students achieve their educational goals,” said Paul Maloney, Vice President for College Bookstores at Barnes and Noble.

For More Information on ASAP

BMCC is currently accepting applications for Accelerated Study in Associate Program. Enrollment for Fall semester begins June 2007. Interested students should visit the ASAP web site for eligibility requirements. Students eligible for federal and/or state financial aid will receive additional funding through the program to pay the balance of tuition and school fees.

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