The Atlantic: Article on CUNY’s “Elite” Four-Year Colleges!

Dear Commons Community,

The Atlantic has an article examining the student body at CUNY’s “elite” colleges, Baruch, Brooklyn, CCNY, Hunter and Queens.  It specifically considers the changes in the University’s policy from one of open admissions to one of selective admissions. The results have been that these five colleges have become majority white and Asian in the past decade while the other colleges especially the community colleges have increasingly become the schools for black and Latino students.

The article quotes Georgetown University research director Anthony Carnevale who found that CUNY’s story is being mirrored nationwide, in both public and private institutions. “The higher education system is colorblind—in theory,” he said, referring to his 2013 college enrollment study, “Separate and Unequal.” “But in fact it operates, at least in part, as a systematic barrier to opportunity for many African Americans and Hispanics. Larger numbers are qualified but tracked into overcrowded and underfunded colleges, where they are less likely to develop fully or to graduate.” One key reason, Carnevale said, is financial survival. “Every college president knows you either climb or you die,” he said. As college costs are rising, public funding is declining. “Higher education doesn’t make a profit, so the way it competes is on the basis of prestige,” said Carnevale.”

This article is well-investigated and raises serious issues of the demographic changes that have occurred at CUNY and elsewhere in American higher education.