Streamlining the Path for New Applicants
To maintain academic quality, the University has created a waiting list and installed new evaluation programs
Anticipating a 3 percent enrollment increase this fall, the University is taking new steps -- including a waiting list, quicker evaluation and placement, and a new "immersion" initiative for community college applicants in need of remedial coursework -- to better manage the surge of students and make CUNY more selective in the process.
With enrollment expected to climb to nearly 267,000 this fall, the University has instituted a waiting list for available seats for the first time in CUNY history. In doing so, said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, the University "joins the mainstream of highly regarded universities that routinely employ waiting lists in order to manage the available space."
In past years, late applicants were accepted into the community colleges through the first day of class. But with twoyear college enrollment growing by more than 40 percent since 2000, the University is experiencing unprecedented growth while seeking new ways to maintain rigorous academic standards and enhancing its historic mission. Starting in fall 2009, high school guidance counselors and prospective students, especially in the city's public schools, were advised of a Feb. 1, 2010, application deadline; thereafter admissions to the colleges were to be reviewed on a space-available basis. By late April 2010, the University had received more than 70,000 applications for fall 2010 -- more than the number received during the entire fall 2009 application period -- and announced that applications received after May 7 would go to a waiting list.
By early summer, more than 2,000 students had submitted their applications after the May 7 deadline. Some wait-listed students will be permitted to enrolled in Fall 2010, according to Alexandra W. Logue, executive vice chancellor and University provost. Late applicants who need to further prepare for college-level work will beable to burnish their skills in CUNY Start, a special immersion program for associate degree students that will be offered during the months preceding their formal enrollment in January 2011.
Chancellor Goldstein, in Board of Trustees committee proceedings that were podcast to the University community, explained the goal of the new initiative. "We want to further the progress of these students and avoid any slowdown of their academic momentum," he said.
Remedial course work will be offered in mathematics, writing or reading comprehension using the highly successful CUNY Language Immersion Program model. Also known as CLIP, the program offers intensive English as a Second Language immersion classes five hours a day, five days a week in day or evening sessions. Upon successful completion of CUNY Start, students will have met their remedial requirements in one or all of the three areas. Traditionally, first-time freshman at the community colleges take one or more remedial courses, and those courses are not counted toward their college degree.
The moves come as economic forces -- from tighter state outlays to recessionary conditions -- spur a variety of proactive steps to meet continuing strong demand for a seat at CUNY, while maintaining the academic quality for which the University is again being recognized and celebrated.
Between fall 2008 and fall 2009, the headcount in credit-bearing courses jumped by more than 6 percent. Since the University began marketing its summer offerings in 2008, summer enrollment has jumped by 7.1 percent. And since 1999, enrollment at the six community colleges, one of the city's best workforce development engines, has soared by 43 percent. The increasing enrollments go hand in hand with the University's successful efforts to raise the academic bar at all of the colleges -- through innovative programs, upgrading of campuses, a focus on science and recruitment of outstanding full-time faculty.
Plans are proceeding for an innovative new community college designed to improve graduation rates. The new college, to be temporarily housed in leased space on West 40th Street and eventually situatedon the John Jay College campus on Manhattan's Upper West Side, would receive $9 million under the proposed 2010-2011 City Executive Budget for lease and faculty costs; significant private support is expected soon, according to the Chancellor. A search for the new college's founding president is under way.
For academic year 2009-2010, CUNY students received about $950 million in total aid - grants, loans and work-study -- from federal, state, city and institutional sources. That included an estimated $472.1 million in federal Pell grants and $185 million in New York State Tuition Assistance Program funds, all earmarked for the lowest- income students and continuing to make a CUNY education remarkably accessible. Pell aid has nearly doubled for CUNY students since 2006-2007.
To meet the needs of its burgeoning enrollment with quality academics and to continue to attract accomplished faculty and high achieving students, the University has been upgrading and expanding campus facilities -- about half of them sciencerelated -- across the city. CUNY has 11 major projects -- about 1.8 million square feet of space expected to open by 2013 -- including the Advanced Science Research Center on the City College campus; the Hunter College School of Social Work building in Harlem; and a new classroom building at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. The University is likely to spend about $420 million on capital projects in 2011, down from $600 million this year, and some $2 billion worth of construction is in the pipeline and $1.2 billion in planning stages.
Though some planned construction may be delayed due to city and state budgetary constraints, the University's public projects are bolstering the economy, providing work to a local construction industry hard hit by a sharp decline in private projects. CUNY projects are also benefiting from a 10 percent to 20 percent drop in construction costs.