City University of New York Wins Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Award

April 21, 2020
City University of New York Wins Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Award

Cambridge, MA – Today, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government announced the City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) as the winner of its 2020 Innovations in American Government Award. For over thirty years, the Innovations Award has recognized public-sector programs that make American government, at all levels, more efficient, creative, and effective at addressing social problems and providing services to the public.

“For the past 13 years, ASAP had an enormous impact on the lives of over 58,000 associate degree-seeking CUNY students, helping them achieve their educational dreams and transform their lives, while simultaneously earning its much-deserved recognition as a national model for student success and educational opportunity,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “At this time of great national urgency and personal challenges, at CUNY we feel tremendous pride at the news that ASAP has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Innovations in American Government Award.”

The Accelerated Study in Associated Programs help students earn associate degrees within three years by providing a range of financial, academic, and personal support services. Specific services offered by the program include comprehensive and personalized advising, career counseling, tutoring, waivers for tuition and mandatory fees, public transportation passes, and additional financial assistance to defray the cost of textbooks.

ASAP, which is committed to graduating at least 50 percent of its student within three years, also offers special class scheduling options to ensure that ASAP students get the classes they need, are in classes with other ASAP students, and attend classes in convenient blocks of time to accommodate their work schedules. As students approach graduation, they receive unique support to help them transfer to four-year colleges or transition into the workforce, depending on their goals. ASAP originated as a demonstration project under the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, which remains a partner on the project. The program now serves 25,000 students per year across nine partner colleges and is being replicated nationally in 5 states.

“CUNY through its ASAP program clearly demonstrates how supportive programs increase the completion rate of students able to complete their associates degrees,” said Professor Stephen Goldsmith, the director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center. “The conclusions of our national panel of experts show that as we come out of the current crisis now more than ever what CUNY has done should be a model for community college and university systems across the country.”


Daniel Harsha
Associate Director for Communications, Ash Center

Kaitlin Burroughs
Program Associate, Innovations in American Government Awards

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation 

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit