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Community colleges grad rates are low

The City University of New York (CUNY) Community Colleges are working to help their students graduate faster.
That’s because an estimated 71.5 percent of full-time students fail to graduate after six years, according to numbers submitted by CUNY for the 2010 Mayor’s Management Report.
In light of President Barack Obama’s call to graduate an additional 5 million Americans from community colleges by 2020, CUNY is spending close to $30 million a year in remedial courses.
One such school is LaGuardia Community College. To boost their graduation rate, the Accelerated Studies Associates Program (ASAP) at LaGuardia currently assists 250 students with four academic advisors, who meet with their assigned 60 students, individually, at a monthly basis, to build up the skills they need for the work place. Programs like the ASAP and childcare assistance, which are offered by CUNY schools across the city, are designed to help working students.
“Our program hit our graduation increase rate of 50 percent in the three years it’s run,” said Bernard Tolnariev, director of the ASAP program at LaGuardia.
The program helps students by providing them with a variety of services such as tuition waivers, MetroCards, free use of text books, consolidated block schedule, small classes for those full-time students, as well as providing them with comprehensive advisement and career development services.
In order to participate in the ASAP program, students must meet certain requirements like take one remedial course in math or English, be a New York City resident and not have more than 12 credits.
“This program has helped LaGuardia improve their retention and graduation rate by 90 percent,” Tolnariev said.

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