CUNY Start

Across the country, community college graduation rates are low; less than 40 percent of students who enroll for the first time earn a degree in six years (Shapiro et al., 2015). Most students who enter a public, two-year school are referred to at least one remedial class (Chen, 2016). Taking remedial courses has been shown to slow academic momentum and decrease students’ likelihoods of ever earning a degree.

CUNY Start is a developmental education intervention to help students make a successful transition to college by reducing or eliminating remedial needs prior to enrollment. Students defer matriculation for one semester to receive intensive preparation in college reading, writing, and/or math, as well as receive “college success” advisement at a low cost.

REPS provides a full complement of research, evaluation, and data services to CUNY Start. REPS established a robust data support structure, including managing primary data collection and maintaining project databases, to buttress the efforts CUNY Start and ensure data integrity. Regular project reporting facilitates ongoing program growth and improvement.

REPS is engaged in research efforts to understand the impact of CUNY Start on postsecondary success. Capitalizing on vast data resources, REPS tracks CUNY Start students longitudinally to assess whether offering students an alternative pathway through remediation alters students’ long-term academic trajectory.

Research Questions:

  1. What is the effect of CUNY Start on students’ likelihood of completing remedial education?
  2. Does CUNY Start participation improve short-term postsecondary outcomes including persistence and academic performance?
  3. How does the performance of CUNY Start alumni in credit-bearing CUNY classes compare to students who completed traditional remedial pathways?
  4. What are the long-term impacts of CUNY Start on students’ postsecondary outcomes including degree completion?

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Successful Transition to College, Developmental Education