Accelerated Study in Associate Programs/Accelerate, Complete, and Engage, or ASAP/ACE, is a program that is planning to support at least 3,750 students in 25 SUNY schools beginning in Spring 2024. SUNY New Paltz is included within the designated campuses.
This is the first major investment coming straight from Gov. Hochul’s SUNY Transformation Fund. The reason behind this expansion is to help more students finish their college careers. A far-reaching issue that has been brewing in the SUNY/CUNY system is that entry rates of college students are high, but the graduation rates are low. The ASAP/ACE, therefore, is a program that was designed and has since shown to improve Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree completion rates. This program also aids in the closing of opportunity gaps, offers tuition waivers and funds to offset transportation, expunges textbook expenses, offers academic assistance, gives comprehensive personalized advice and gives career development activities and programs.
SUNY New Paltz is specifically under the ACE Program. ASAP dramatically increases associate’s degree completion through the programs listed before. ACE is a baccalaureate version of ASAP. Each SUNY campus involved will receive a set allocation from the NYS Transformation Fund and must give at least a 10% match. On top of that, the Robin Hood Foundation, the largest poverty-fighting organization in New York City, is giving two-year grants of $1.5 million to help 375 lower-income households in NYC students who join the SUNY ASAP/ACE program anywhere in the state.
An additional program related to ASAP/ACE in SUNY is the Brightway Education Foundation. Its purpose is to help low-income single mothers break the cycle of intergenerational poverty for their kids by expanding the opportunity for their children to complete a community college or four-year college degree. Brightway and other SUNY matching funds will provide $1.9 million combined between the funds for 225 student parents per year. Most specifically, the funds will subsidize on and off-campus childcare costs through the creation of an emergency fund for unexpected needs.
This program has been alive since 2007 and has been replicated in seven different states. The program has had a very positive outcome. The reason it came to New York is that hundreds of New Yorkers have some college education, but no degree. This trend stems from barriers-usually financial-that prohibit many from finishing as students. By providing these wrap-around services, going and staying in college can be less stressful and more possible for lower-income families with limited resources and many obstacles.
SUNY Chancellor John King is hoping that the 25 SUNY campuses will enroll a group of 150 students each in the program in 2024. He also agrees that it is a smart investment and will help so many students now and in the future. The ASAP/ACE program expansion comes just in time for SUNY’s 75th anniversary, making it the perfect time for a new system and for another 75 years.