The City University Attracts Talent from Near and Far
|The following is adapted from an op-ed article
by ChancellorMatthew Goldstein.
Ranguelova emigrated from Bulgaria with her family in 1997,
knowing no English. Two years later, she scored a perfect
5 on the American History Advanced Placement exam. Thanks
to a Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship, initiated by the
City Council, she is now a pre-law student at Brooklyn College
and a member of its prestigious Honors Academy.
David Fischbein grew up on Long Island. His father is a physicist,
his mother holds a masterĂs degree, and both his brothers
graduated from Queens College. At Hebrew Academy of the Five
Towns and Rockaway, David took A.P. courses, won the Nassau
County Mathletes Award in 2000, and was admitted to the French
National Honors Society in the same year. He is now enrolled
in the new CUNY Honors College at Queens College.
Mark Rodriguez, who lives with his family in East Harlem,
was a chemistry major at Brooklyn Technical High School, where
he was an award-winning writer of essays, poetry and fiction,
a biology tutor, and a volunteer for Family Dynamics and the
Children's Defense Fund. He is now a CUNY Honors College student
attending City College and planning a career as an epidemiologist.
Three different studentsthree very different backgrounds.
What they have in common is that they are among the very brightest
and most promising young people you will find anywhere in
the world¤and they are studying at CUNY. Three years ago,
we began the phase-in of strengthened admissions standards
and the elimination of remedial instruction at our senior
colleges. Some critics voiced concerns that such higher standards
would drive away potential applicants, including minority
students. Others expressed the view that greater expectations
would enhance CUNY's attractiveness to prospective students.
The available data shows that the doors to educational opportunity
continue to be open to all New Yorkers. CUNY is attracting
more students than at any time in its history. Enrollment
increased last fall by 6% in the freshmen class and nearly
7% in transfer students. This spring, freshman enrollment
at our senior colleges surged by more than 23%. Amid these
increases, the ethnic composition of our student body has
remained essentially the same, embracing almost 200 nationalities
and 160 different languages.
The University's higher academic standards are paying extraordinary
dividends. We are attracting high achievers like Sylvia, David
and Mark from around the world and in our own back yard. Through
programs such as our Honors College and the more broadly available
Vallone Scholarships (there have been more than 18,000 to
date), CUNY is recruiting and keeping our best and brightest
young people right here as New York City rebuilds. As negotiations
begin on the city budget, Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council
should restore the $7 million needed to fund the Vallone Scholarships.
Last year, the new CUNY Honors College
enrolled its inaugural class of more than 200 academically
talented students at five of our senior colleges. They are
receiving full scholarships and an array of academic perquisites.
Small wonder that we have received 2,500 applications (1,000
more than last year) to become next year's Honors freshmen.
Our campuses proudly stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the City
in the aftermath of 9/11. Now, as we rebuild for an even brighter
future, CUNY is dedicating itself anew to safeguarding our
single most precious resource: the bright, talented students
from all walks of life who will comprise the next generation
of New Yorkers, students like David, Mark and Sylvia. They
should not have to leave New York City to receive the benefits
of a top-quality higher education.