SUNY Westchester Community College and MDRC, a social policy research organization, released the results of a new study Thursday, which found that students in the college’s student support program enrolled full-time at higher rates and accumulated more credits than their peers.
The program, called Viking ROADS, or Resources for Obtaining Associate Degrees and Success, launched in 2018 and intends to help students graduate with an associate degree in three years or faster. It’s based on Accelerated Study in Associate Programs, or ASAP, developed by the City University of New York system. The program provides students personalized academic advising, tutoring services and a summer orientation and offers them financial supports, including a monthly transportation voucher, an annual textbook stipend of $500 and a scholarship that pays tuition and fees not covered by grant aid. Students must be New York state residents and enrolled full-time with at least a 2.0 GPA to be eligible.
“Viking ROADS is truly changing lives, which is exactly what we had hoped for,” Belinda S. Miles, president of SUNY Westchester Community College, said at a press conference Thursday.
The randomized, controlled study included 574 students in three cohorts—fall 2019, fall 2020 and spring 2021. It found that students in the program enrolled full-time at levels up to 20 percentage points above those of students not in the program. Students in the program were also three credits ahead of other students over the first two semesters.
“You can think of this as being one class closer to graduation, to degree attainment,” Stanley Dai, technical research analyst at MDRC, said at the press conference. “So taken together, these impacts at this time, both in credit attainment and full-time enrollment, gives us a high degree of confidence that this program is going to have students graduate on time … in three years and earn their degrees.”