Black and Latino Freshmen Enrollment Falls at CUNY Post-Recession: Report

The number of black and Latino students enrolling as first-year freshman at CUNY’s four-year colleges declined post-recession, according to a new report.

The study, done by Community Service Society using CUNY data, found that blacks made up just ten percent of freshman enrollees at Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens colleges in 2010, down from 17 percent in 2001. The Latino population also saw a slight decline, after making gains in the earlier part of the decade.  

The report found that applications to CUNY increased because of the recession, which resulted in higher admissions standards and a corresponding increase in SAT scores and GPAs from prospective students, according to the analysis.

CSS President and CEO David Jones said an unforeseen consequence was the displacement of black and Latino students.

But he added that it’s not just “A CUNY problem.”

“We issued the report not to wave fingers at CUNY, but to start looking at what we can do to stabilize this, because we think it may be part of an ongoing trend that could be devastating,” he explained.

The report had a number of recommendations including instituting a conditional admissions program, which would offer students remedial classes to improve, or changing admissions standards.

CUNY said the report doesn’t present a complete picture.

CUNY spokesman Michael Arena explained that the analysis doesn’t take into account the rising number of black and Latino transfer students, or the higher number of those who are graduating from CUNY schools.

Jones noted that the findings of the report are also indicative of problems at the grade school and community college levels. He hopes the CSS analysis will spark further discussion on increasing diversity in New York’s education system.