The City University of New York is experiencing record enrollment this fall as more students than ever – including more freshmen and high achievers — choose CUNY for its extraordinary value from quality academics to exceptional affordability to opportunity-rich programs and New York City location.
CUNY is projecting an all-time high enrollment of 274,031 students at its 24 campuses this fall, representing a 1.5% increase from last year’s headcount of 269,897 and surpassing CUNY’s previous high enrollment in Fall 2011, 272,128.
Enrollment records also were broken among freshmen,who are expected to number nearly 38,000 CUNY-wide — a nearly 6 percent increase compared with last year’s 35,622 enrollment – and among transfer students. The number of high-achieving, academically prepared students choosing CUNY schools is also on the upswing.
Chancellor James B. Milliken cited affordability and academics as leading reasons for the record-setting enrollment surge.
“CUNY is attracting record-breaking numbers of qualified students because we offer degrees of value that are affordable without many years of debt, ” Chancellor Milliken said. “Our historic commitment to provide access to high-quality educational opportunities is stronger than ever.”
New transfer students enrolling at CUNY colleges total 24,786 for Fall 2014, the majority of them CUNY students moving from community colleges to senior colleges. However, the number of non-CUNY students transferring to CUNY colleges has also increased, the statistics show.
The number of well-prepared high school graduates choosing CUNY is also rising CUNY applicants with averages of 85 or greater increased by 4.2 percent to 22,700, another new record, out of more than 70,000 of students applying. More than 12,000 newly enrolled freshmen will receive $800 New York City Council Merit Scholarships, formerly known as the Vallone Scholarships, for students entering CUNY colleges with B-or-better averages from New York City high schools. The number of new graduate students also increased this fall, by nearly 8 percent, according to the preliminary data.
The many facets of value offered by the University have driven CUNY’s resurgence as a higher education destination, for both its traditional New York City resident applicant pool and for value-seeking college applicants from outside the metropolitan area. Three CUNY colleges – Brooklyn, Queens and Baruch —recently took the top three “Best Bang for the Buck” spots in Washington Monthly’s 2014 college rankings.
Student loan indebtedness now exceeds $1.1 billion nationwide, and affordability is a critical draw at CUNY, where tuitions are among the nation’s lowest. Six out of 10 CUNY college students attend tuition free due to low tuition that for eligible students is fully covered by financial aid. Eight out of 10 CUNY students graduate from college free of federal loan debt, and statistics show that when they do borrow, they graduate with less debt than do their peers at other institutions.
Along with bolstering academics, CUNY is committed to ensuring that college bound students are prepared for college work. The University’s CUNY Start program addresses students’ remedial needs before they matriculate. CUNY’s successful Accelerated Study in Associates Program (ASAP), has more than doubled two- and three-year graduation rates for community college students through an innovative program providing intensive assistance and advisement.
In addition to the University’s affordable tuition and a commitment to educational excellence and access, it offers a full range of extracurricular campus activities as well as paid internships through the new and innovative CUNY Service Corps, which has placed hundreds of students with New York City non-profits and government agencies, leading to real-world career experience and opportunities. Twenty percent of $2.8 billion in private donations contributions to the Invest in CUNY campaign, funds scholarships at colleges throughout the University.
Recent graduates say CUNY provides a breadth of opportunities and support for students to pursue academic, professional and personal goals.
“Everywhere I’ve gone in the CUNY system I’ve found people who really care, people who spend a lot of time looking over my work,” said William Cheung (CUNY B.A., ’14), a debater and debate coach with a passion for German language and philosophy, who won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to teach and research in Bavaria.
Melody Mills (Macaulay Honors College at Baruch, ’14), another Fulbright scholarship recipient who is researching the “educational trajectories” of underprivileged girls in Peru, said, “The things that I’ve learned in CUNY are not all in my classrooms. They’re things that I’ve done in the (student) clubs, they’re things that I’ve done with Macaulay, they’re things that I’ve done when I studied abroad. “CUNY values that education is more than what you get in the classroom. The CUNY Value is open doors to opportunity.”