In an effort to increase degree completion rates for part-time students, two community colleges in The City University of New York (CUNY) are launching new initiatives to provide intensive advisement, priority course registration, career development and counseling to those who commit to earning 18 credits per year.

Two new programs focusing on part-time students will be implemented at Bronx Community College and LaGuardia Community College with $3.9 million in support, over five years, from the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity). Reflecting the University’s ongoing commitment to increasing academic momentum toward college degrees, the new effort targets the nearly 40 percent of community college students who attend CUNY part-time and face significant barriers to completion.

The LaGuardia Community College Part-Time Completion Initiative and the Bronx Community College Advancing Part-Time Excellence (APEX) Program will launch in Fall 2018 and over five years will support 400-500 students who have been enrolled part-time and plan to continue to do so. The programs feature practices adapted from Guttman Community College and CUNY ASAP — two of the nation’s most successful community college completion initiatives, which were created at CUNY.

“CUNY knows the significant benefits of encouraging students to enroll full-time, but we understand as well the need to find ways to increase degree attainment for part-time students. It is exciting to find a partner in NYC Opportunity for this important work,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Donna Linderman.

Dr. Claudia V. Schrader, provost and senior vice president for Academic and Student Success at Bronx Community College, is excited that the “Advancing Part-time Excellence Program will bring needed attention and resources to a segment of the student population that fills our classrooms. APEX will be an effective pathway to timely completion for part-time students.”

The programs will be rigorously evaluated so that CUNY and NYC Opportunity can measure their impact and build a knowledge base for ongoing efforts to support the needs of part-time students seeking college degrees.

“Supporting students in continuing their educations and achieving college degrees is a key way we can help them overcome or avoid poverty,” said Matthew Klein, executive director of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “NYC Opportunity is proud to partner with CUNY to get this important and innovative program off the ground, and we are excited to help more community college students complete their degrees.”

“Part-time college students often face multiple barriers to timely degree completion,” said Carson Hicks, deputy executive director of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “With this new program, students will receive additional supports to help them earn the necessary credits to graduate. NYC Opportunity looks forward to studying the results of the program and using this evidence to improve how we address the needs of part-time students.”

Students participating in the new programs will be asked to commit to earning 18 credits/year and, in turn, the colleges will provide program participants with a dedicated adviser, priority course registration, career development, and counseling to encourage full-time enrollment. With an eye toward academic momentum, students will be encouraged to enroll in intersession courses as a way to earn additional college credits between fall and spring semesters.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 23 MacArthur (“Genius”) grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields. The University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies