CUNY Master Plan 2000 | III. Admissions, Assessment, Recruitment, Retention, Projected Enrollments 2000 To 2004


In July 1999, the University submitted to the New York State Board of Regents a Master Plan Amendment which incorporated implementation plans and enrollment projections emanating from a resolution approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees, in January 1999. This resolution set forth a new policy that mandated that remedial courses be phased out of the senior colleges by the year 2001. Two specific groups of students - SEEK and ESL - were excluded from this resolution. These students will not be required to demonstrate college readiness in reading, writing and mathematics prior to enrollment in a senior college.

The Board of Regents approved the Master Plan Amendment in November 1999. The proposed timetable for phasing out remedial coursework was modified as follows:

    Baruch, Brooklyn, Hunter and Queens Colleges – January 2000
    College of Staten Island, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and New York City Technical Colleges – September 2000
    City, Lehman, Medgar Evers, and York Colleges – September 2001

In the context of the new policy the University has begun to implement a set of strategies which reaffirm its mission to provide access and a high quality education for all New Yorkers. Many of these were discussed in earlier sections of this document (e.g., College Now, Prelude to Success, expansion of the University Summer Immersion Program). These strategies will guide the implementation of the new policy over the next four years.

The new admissions policy was based on a careful strategy of matching the expectations for a college degree with the level of preparation which students have when they enter the University. Its purpose was to ensure that students arrive at college fully prepared to meet the rigorous academic challenges of a college curriculum. In approving the resolution, the Board had reason to believe that students who completed their remedial needs prior to engaging in college level work would: accumulate credits at a faster pace, achieve higher grade point averages, persist in college, graduate at higher rates, and more rapidly meet their educational and career goals. The University’s own studies showed that students performed better on Freshman Skills Assessment Tests as a result of more rigorous academic preparation in high school, required as a result of the College Preparatory Initiative and the introduction of higher standards for senior college admissions. These studies also showed that students with significant remedial needs were unlikely to be successful in senior college programs. Practices at other institutions similarly suggested that students who met their remedial requirements prior to arriving at college would likely be more successful.

Over the next four years the University will:

Senior College Admissions Criteria

Effective September 2000, the University is admitting students who are recent graduates of domestic high schools to baccalaureate programs using an index, or formula, that weights various elements. Students who have graduated within one year of enrollment at CUNY are considered to be recent graduates. The elements weighted include such performance indicators as:

    College admissions average
    Combined SAT or ACT score
    Number of academic courses completed in high school
    High school English average
    Number of Math units
    High school Math average

The weight of each item corresponds to the importance of each criterion in predicting academic success at an individual CUNY senior college.

CUNY has also added college review committees to its admissions process. At each senior college, a review committee, including members of the faculty, considers the applications of students who do not meet the established admissions criteria but who nevertheless demonstrate the potential to succeed at a CUNY senior college. Some of these students will be admitted.

As of September 2000 all recent graduates from domestic high schools who apply to CUNY baccalaureate programs will be required to submit SAT or ACT scores. The University has arranged with the College Board to offer free special SAT test administrations for use in applications to CUNY colleges. Eligible applicants are so informed by the University Applications Processing Center. All students who achieve a combined SAT score of 1100 or higher will be admitted to a CUNY senior college.

Students who are not recent graduates of domestic high schools are admitted to baccalaureate programs using criteria established by the individual colleges.


During summer and fall 1999, in response to Board resolutions and the recommendations of the Mayor’s Advisory Task Force on the City University of New York, CUNY completed a review of outside national testing organizations. ACT (American College Testing) was selected to provide nationally normed tests suitable for determining initial placement of students into appropriate reading, writing, or English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. The new CUNY\ACT Skills Tests consist of an objective test of reading, an objective test of writing skills, and an essay. The tests will also assess readiness to exit from remedial sequences in reading, writing, and ESL. The tests will be phased in during Fall 2000; they will be used for exit for students in remedial and ESL courses in Fall 2000 and for placement for new incoming students for Spring 2001.

ACT was chosen as the test organization because of its capability and reputation in the fields of placement and exit testing. They have done extensive research in these areas and have worked with colleges throughout the country, providing support ranging from initial setup and implementation to scoring and reporting results, to research on the reliability and validity of the assessments. Using ACT reporting software, CUNY colleges will be able to provide increased feedback to students with individualized student test scores, placement, and advising reports. In addition to University-wide reports to the Office of Academic Affairs, each college will receive a variety of reports that will provide information useful for student advising and for curriculum review.

The proposed calendar for implementing the new testing program follows.





The Office of Admission Services (OAS) develops and coordinates recruitment for the seventeen undergraduate campuses and assists the undergraduate campuses in their own recruitment efforts.

A major focus of the Office of Admission Services has always been to establish communication lines with those students who are inquiring about or applying to the University. This function has taken on even greater importance in light of the University’s new admissions policies. An automated phone system is in place to answer questions about the status of an application and to allow prospective students to request applications and informational materials about the campuses and programs of the University. Counselors are available five days per week to answer individual questions. The Office of Admission Services has relocated to a more accessible and attractive facility at the Grace Building at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue.

A parallel responsibility of the Office of Admission Services is to foster communication between the University and the secondary school guidance community, as well as with community college transfer counselors. Communication is fostered through mailings (OAS produces about 25 informational brochures and pamphlets) and informational meetings with relevant personnel in the New York City public school system, independent and parochial schools and community colleges in the metropolitan area.

Working together with the colleges, a number of strategies have been put in place to better explain CUNY’s programs and opportunities to prospective first-time freshmen, transfer students and adult students.

Recruitment of First-time Freshmen

The recruitment of this group of students involves developing outreach activities to high school students early in their freshman year in high school and even during the middle school years. Additionally, since junior year in high school is the classic period when high school students begin to seriously begin the process of college selection, the University is establishing a new focus on this group.

Mailings include communication from the Chancellor highlighting the strengths of the University, promotional post card pieces, a freshman guide and personalized cover letter, an invitation to visit the campuses and financial aid and scholarship brochures. These mailings will begin in the spring semester of the junior year and continue into the fall of the senior year.

The OAS is also strengthening their outreach component to high school and middle school students. This involves the development of relationships with feeder schools through the strengthening of the college counseling collaborative program. OAS currently assigns a counselor to each of about 140 high schools for two days per week. This program enables OAS counselors to visit high schools on a weekly basis to provide a variety of counseling services for high school students beginning early in the freshman year and continuing through the senior year. These services include career and college planning presentations for 9th grade students; college decision making presentations for 10th and 11th grade students; CUNY application assistance for seniors and CUNY orientation sessions for seniors accepted to a CUNY college. A new initiative to coordinate the OAS counselor activities with College Now is also currently being implemented.

A number of general outreach activities are planned:

With the evolving changes in admissions standards, it is important that CUNY establish clear lines of communication with its constituents. Plans are in place to reach out to college advisors, guidance counselors and relevant administrators, as well as students in the high schools.

Recruitment of Transfer Students

Specialized recruitment strategies are being directed toward the transfer population. A major concern of transfer students concerns the number of credits that will transfer into the college to which they are applying. Unlike first time freshman, transfer students often approach the college application process with a sophistication which is frequently expressed in very pointed questions about the outcomes of their education, and what their job opportunities will be after graduation. Ongoing training will be instituted to ensure that the professionals in charge of transfers at the various colleges are customer oriented in responding to applicant inquiries.

Outreach to Adult Populations

This population, with its own special concerns, represents a significant source of enrollment at CUNY.

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