INDIANAPOLIS — Ivy Tech Community College officials say graduation and retention rates for the college’s accelerated degree program for at-risk students are among the highest in the nation.

The Associate Accelerated Program, or ASAP, is a special program that allows students to earn an associate degree in 11 months.

The program has achieved a 66 percent graduation rate among at-risk, first-generation college students, and a 90 percent retention rate among students, according to data compiled by college officials.

First-generation college students are at greater risk of not completing a college degree, and the retention rate is double that of Ivy Tech students not enrolled in ASAP.

“This program is a great example of how we are helping our students persist and graduate at Ivy Tech,” said Thomas J. Snyder, president of the college, in a prepared statement.

“Through ASAP, Ivy Tech is able to help students who may not otherwise attend college and provide them with a solid foundation and head start to their next step, whether that is a transfer route to a bachelor’s degree or a career,” he added.

Ivy Tech launched the program in 2010 at two campuses; it expanded to the Anderson and Muncie campuses two years ago. Most ASAP students are able to earn an associate degree for little or no cost.

Students attend school full time, which allows them to graduate in 11 months. They also receive mentoring and other support services to help them deal with life and family challenges.

Anderson students can earn an associate degree in liberal arts or business, Students attending the Muncie campus can earn an associate degree concentration on elementary education.

That program is designed for students to transfer seamlessly into Ball State university’s elementary education teaching program.

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