CUNY Attracting More High-Achieving Students While Also Increasing Racial Diversity

The City University of New York enrolls more African Americans than any other institution of higher education in the United States. The university once was open to any student who earned a high school diploma at a public high school in the city. Now admission to CUNY’s four-year colleges is competitive and the academic credentials of admitted students are on the rise.

This academic year there are 505 first-year students enrolled at CUNY four-year colleges who graduated from New York City’s five prestigious magnet high schools. This is a 27 percent increase from 1999. The number of freshmen who scored at least 1200 on their combined math and reading SAT is up 168 percent during the period. And the number of first-year students who have achieved a grade point average of 85 or above on a scale of 0 to 100 has more than doubled.

While the increase in academic quality of the student body has been astounding, CUNY has been able to also increase racial diversity. The number of black freshmen has increased more than 30 percent in the 1999 to 2008 period.