Sunday, September 24, 2023
The RP Group

Metro Academies Cost-Efficiency Study



Can colleges restructure pathways to transfer and completion in a way that both improves students’ outcomes and saves money? The Metro Academies Cost-Efficiency Study, conducted by Rob Johnstone of the RP Group and the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement, explored this question by assessing the Metro model collaboratively designed and implemented by City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and San Francisco State University (SFSU) faculty.


Metro Academies focus on reducing student attrition by restructuring the first two years of college and integrating targeted support into participants’ experience. Data on outcomes and cost indicate that the Metro model holds promise for cost efficiently increasing college success and degree completion for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. By investing a small amount on the front end — the first two years of college — institutions can realize a much larger cost reduction per graduate on the back end.

Specifically, this analysis found that by investing an additional $740 per student per year for two years, CCSF's Metro reduces overall costs per community college completer by $22,714. For an additional investment of $470 per student per year for two years, SFSU's Metro reduces overall costs per graduate by $17,879.

For more information on the Metro Academies model, visit the Metro College Success Program

RP Group Lead

Rob Johnstone



CSU Office of the President, Marcled Foundation


City College of San Francisco, National Center for Inquiry and Improvement, San Francisco State University



Metro Academies Cost Study
Research brief summarizing analysis that shows Metro Academies lower an institution’s cost per graduate.


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This project is complete. Visit "Related Projects" to learn about our other initiatives in this project's area(s) of impact.



  • Focus Populations: Low-income students, First-generation students, Underrepresented minority students
  • Status: Complete
  • Contact: Dr. Darla Cooper, Executive Director,

Areas of Impact


Related Projects