Fewer Black and Latino FreshmanFrom 2008 to 2010, Black and Latino enrollment at the most selective CUNY schools declined dramatically despite the short time frame.
By 2010, black students comprised 10 percent of entering freshmen at the top five CUNY colleges – Baruch, Hunter, Brooklyn, City, and Queens colleges – down from 17 percent in 2001 and 14 percent in 2008. Latino students made up 19 percent of entering freshmen at top schools in 2010, down from 22 percent in 2008. These changes coincided with a significant increase in the number of black and Latino high school students taking the SAT.
• The slow decline in the share of black students at the senior colleges that began in 2001 accelerated significantly after 2008. Whereas black students had declined as a share of CUNY senior colleges since 2001, the broader growth in total enrollment had meant that they still increased in terms of numbers. But in the two years after 2008, blacks lost as much of a share in senior colleges as they did in the seven years prior, including steep drops in their numbers and share at the best schools. By 2010, just one in ten freshman entering top-tier senior colleges at CUNY was black.
• Latino students, who had made significant gains in admission to the top senior colleges since 2001, lost all of those gains in just two years. From 2001 to 2008, Latinos had increased their presence at all levels of CUNY schools. Yet in the two years after2008, they lost most of their gains at senior colleges, with dramatic declines in top-tier schools. From 2001 to 2008, the number of Latino freshman at top-tier schools increased by 40 percent. By 2010, that entire increase was erased.
• Black and Latino students made up 60 percent of new freshmen at CUNY in 2010. But they made up only 47 percent of senior college enrollment, and just 28 percent of enrollment at top-tier schools. These changes are occurring when the number of black and Latino students in New York City public high schools who are taking the SAT exam—the traditional signal of intent to attend a four-year college—is higher than ever.
The Community Service Society presents ideas from former CUNY administrator John Garvey that are geared toward improving the size of the pool of high scoring Black and Latino students.
• Better aligned standards and assessments, particularly reform of the Regents examinations to align them with college placement tests and what we know students need to be successful in college.
• Enhanced college advisement, to ensure that all students and their families have the best possible information about college readiness and the transition to college, from as early an age as possible.
• Higher quality teaching and learning within the New York City public high schools to promote better student achievement. This would include accelerated learning opportunities that incorporate college-level work within the high school experience.
• Development of a stronger college readiness system that includes data analysis and ongoing discussion among a wide range of stakeholders of how to improve college transitions.
PraiseThe Community Service Society should be applauded for delivering a thoughtful report focused on solutions. As we exit a deep a frightening recession, we face lingering scares from trends that emerged in the recession. Seeing that college-bound students from Black and Latino backgrounds are increasingly absent from the freshman class at out city's most prestigious public colleges creates a fear of long term impacts from the calamity of 2008. The Community Service Society alerts us to the problem and gives us hope for improvement by recommending steps we can take to reverse these terrible trends.