CUNY Fights Back, But the Statistics Don’t Lie

An item in the August 3 edition of the JBHE Weekly Bulletin disclosed that black enrollments at the most selective campuses of the City University of New York were down significantly since the university announced in 1998 that it was eliminating remedial education courses and raising its admissions standards. The JBHE story was carried by The New York Times, The New York Post, New York Sun, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and other media outlets.

After the JBHE news item appeared, the City University of New York issued a press release defending its record on black enrollments. While not disputing JBHE’s figures, CUNY said that black enrollments at all 11 CUNY campuses were up 1.3 percent from 2001. What the release neglected to point out was that enrollments for other ethnic groups were up considerably more than the growth in black enrollments.

The press release ignored JBHE’s contention that the significant drop in black enrollments at the most selective campuses would have a negative impact on blacks seeking graduate education and employment at some of the nation’s most prestigious corporations. A degree from Hunter College or Baruch College is highly valued by graduate school administrators and corporate recruiters. Yet black enrollments at these two important colleges are down by more than 25 percent.