Historci Highs, Driven By Value

High Achieving Freshmen, Transfers Flock to Colleges

AT THE SUMMIT: Queens College students move into their newly constructed campus residence, The Summit, which filled to
capacity at the start of the semester.

Driven by value-seeking students, including surging numbers of high academic achievers and community college applicants, enrollment at The City University of New York will reach its all-time high this fall, according to preliminary figures.

Based on late summer data, the University projected record-breaking enrollment for the 2009-10 academic year, surpassing the 252,956 high point reached in 1974, 35 years ago.

Nearly 250,000 were enrolled at CUNY colleges as the start of the semester approached, with enrollments running 10 percent ahead compared with the same period last year. While this fall's final headcount is not expected to jump by quite that much due to changes in campus registration practices, a significant surge is expected over last fall's total enrollment of 243,819. Final figures will be available in mid-October.

"The University's strong enrollment gains make a powerful statement," said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. "Students and families connect with CUNY's consistent focus on academic quality, on providing value, and on the changing needs of our students, present and future."

The fall 2009 gains reflect new and important trends. There were notable increases in applications from new freshmen: As of the end of July, close to 64,000 freshmen had been admitted to the University, an increase of almost 9,000 over roughly the same period last year. The number of students transferring to CUNY schools was also up, by 11 percent. Applications from suburban students jumped by almost 20 percent and those from non-New York State residents by more than 12 percent. Approximately 5,000 out-of-state, U.S. students were admitted for fall.

The number of applicants with strong academic preparation continues its upward trajectory, underscoring the University's growing reputation as a high-quality higher education option for value-conscious families. College applications from students with averages of greater than 85 percent increased by close to 2,000, compared with last year.

High-achieving students are increasingly drawn to CUNY on the graduate level, as well. CUNY School of Law's first-year fall enrollment jumped by 23 percent over last year. The LSAT scores and GPAs of this law school class are the highest in the school's 25-year history.

At the community colleges, there is dramatic growth. The University has seen an almost 60 percent increase in the number of applying students who have chosen a CUNY community college as their first-choice school.

The stepped-up demand for a CUNY education, spurred by the University's spreading reputation for quality academics as well as families' tight budgets, has also prompted the University to make its high-value programs more accessible to a wider range of students.

To make it easier for students to fulfill their degree requirements on time, CUNY has expanded and promoted its summer and winter sessions. And students are responding: Enrollment this summer was 73,202, reflecting a 3 percent increase since 2008 and an 8.7 percent increase since summer 2005, when 67,318 were enrolled and the University boosted promotion of its summer offerings. According to a survey of 2,500 of the 2009 summer enrollees, 93 percent were full- or part-time CUNY students looking to move ahead with their coursework.

The availability of more on-campus housing is also a big draw for CUNY's new students. The new Queens College student residence, the Summit, has opened for the fall semester with 481 of the 489 available beds - 98.4 percent - filled.