@metisassociates @CUNY released RCT results for Accelerate, Complete, Engage (ACE) at John Jay College, providing comprehensive support to help students complete a bachelor's degree. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds large 12%-point gain in bachelor's completion at 4yr mark.


  • ACE is modeled on ASAP – a community college program found highly effective at increasing graduation rates. ACE provides the same academic, personal & financial supports adapted to a 4 year college – CUNY's John Jay. Both programs require students to enroll full time.

Study Design:

  • The ACE RCT had a sample of 570 incoming freshmen, randomly assigned to ACE (treatment group) vs services as usual (control group). The sample was 70% female, 72% low income, & 58% Black or Hispanic. 50% were first in their family to attend college.


  • At the 4yr mark, the study found that ACE increased the rate of on-time graduation with a bachelor’s degree by 12.4% points (58.8% treatment vs 46.4% control, statistically significant, p<0.01). These graduation effects are among the largest in the history of higher ed RCTs.


  • The RCT is ongoing & the control group could catch up a bit over time (e.g., graduate in 5 yrs). Also, a replication RCT is needed to hopefully confirm the findings & establish that they generalize to other 4-year colleges. That said, these initial results are extremely promising.

  • ACE's cost is not yet reported but hopefully will be in the future. Based on careful review, this was a high-quality RCT (e.g., baseline balance, no attrition, valid analyses). Disclosure: my former employer @Arnold_Ventures funded this RCT. Here's the study report.

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