A marked shift has occured at the City University of New York's top institutions as freshman classes must now enter with far better academic credentials, creating a different demographic mix, according to a May 22 report by The New York Times.
In 2000, according to The Times, CUNY upheld new minimum requirements for test scores for college admission, as CUNY's bargain prices beckoned far more applicants.
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At the university's five most competitive four-year colleges - Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens - nearly 12 percent of freshmen entering in 2001 had SAT scores of 1,200 or more. In 2007, for the last prerecession class, the figure was up to 16 percent, and by last fall, it had jumped to 26 percent, according to the report.
At the same time, black representation among first-time freshmen at those colleges dropped, to 10 percent last fall from 17 percent in 2001. Over the same period, the Hispanic share rose slightly for several years, then fell once the recession began, to 18 percent, while the white portion fell slightly, to 35 percent, according to the report.
Asians are now entering the top colleges in the greatest numbers, composing 37 percent of those classes, up from 25 percent a decade earlier, according to the report.
The ethnic changes confirm the predictions made during the 1990s, according to the report, one of the city's most charged political disputes of the 1990s: Proponents said the colleges would rise in status, while opponents said black and Hispanic enrollment would fall.
"We're not condemning CUNY; we just don't think they've taken into account the long-term effects of what's happening," said David R. Jones, the president and chief executive of the Community Service Society of New York, an antipoverty group, which has just completed a study of the changes, told The Times. "If you're taking a lower percentage of blacks and Latinos out of high school, you should try to make sure this doesn't continue."
The CUNY chancellor, Matthew Goldstein, told The Times that enrollment changes among first-time freshmen were a concern, but said that transfer students had outnumbered first-time freshmen at the five top-tier colleges for the past three years. The racial and ethnic mix has shifted among transfer students, as well, but not as drastically, according to CUNY figures.
The changes at CUNY mimic, to some degree, changes in the city's top public high schools, which admit students solely by their entrance exam and have become steadily more Asian and less black in recent years. The shift is evident in the faces at Baruch College in Manhattan, where the enrollment is almost half Asian and about 10 percent black, a reoccuring topic of discussion.
Source: New York Times