Decade of Change Reflects Surging Enrollment, Scores

In 20 years, the City University of New York's enrollment surged by nearly one-third, the number of transfer students from outside more than doubled, senior-college students' SAT scores jumped by more than 200, adult and continuing education registrations soared and successful fundraising became a CUNY fact of life, with $1.7 billion in cash and pledges raised over the last decade.

These figures comparing fall of 1989, 1999 and 2009, issued by CUNY's Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, illuminate significant upward trends in seven key measures of the University's quality, attractiveness to students and financial stability. In most of the categories, the sharpest increases came during the last decade, as CUNY raised its profile as a high-value institution with raised academic standards, accomplished faculty and a dynamic, more efficient administration. Total headcount enrollment, 195,615 in 1989 and 194,994 in 1999, increased to 259,515 in fall 2009, a nearly 33 percent jump over the two-decade period. The total number of first-time freshmen entering CUNY colleges was 28,445 in 1989 and had dipped to 24,174 ten years later, the figures show. But from 1999 to 2009, the number of first-time freshman soared by more than 50 percent, to 37,405.

Total transfers into CUNY schools from outside the University more than doubled over the 20-year period, from 1989's 5,326, to 7,036 in 1999, to 2009's 11,154. Registrations in adult and continuing education classes have surged since 1989, with the largest increase taking place over the last decade. In 1989 there were 109,190 such registrations; in 1999, 161,645 and in 2009, 275,563.

Mean SAT scores of students entering five senior colleges -- Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens Colleges -- showed marked improvement: The mean total SAT score was 907 in 1989, 1008 in 1999 and 1109 in fall of 2009.

The number of full-time faculty members dropped from 6,645 in 1969 to 5,594 in fall of 1999, but over the next decade rose significantly, to 7,186. One of the most striking reflections of the changed CUNY is in the University's deliberate embrace of fundraising.

Fundraising figures for 1989 were unavailable. But in fiscal year 1999, $42.4 million was raised by the University. Ten years later, in fiscal year 2009, the figure was $232 million. The University raised $344 million in cash and pledges for the 10-year period from 1992 to 2001, and $1.7 bill in cash and pledges for the 10 years from 2001 to 2010.