When Nicolina Dapilma enrolled at the City University of New York, the odds of earning an associate degree in two years were less than one in 10.
Ms. Dapilma, who immigrated to the United States from the West African nation of Togo at age 11, was considering various academic programs when a CUNY adviser called. The pitch: free tuition and textbooks, intensive academic and career advising, monthly subway passes, and a structured schedule that could accommodate her part-time job. In exchange, she’d have to enroll full time, attend mandatory tutoring sessions, and commit to graduating in two or three years.
“I asked her if it was a scam,” Ms. Dapilma recalls, “but she insisted it wasn’t.” Instead, the adviser said, the college system had identified her as someone who could benefit from a cheaper, faster route to an associate degree.
She signed up. <Read more.>