In a dramatic effort to better prepare New York City high school students for graduation and college level work, The City University of New York and Board of Education leadership announced plans on February 7 to expand the College Now program to all grades in every public high school over the next three years. The innovative collaborative program offers skills enhancement instruction and college credit courses to help students meet more rigorous requirements for graduation and admission to CUNY senior colleges.
Making the joint announcement were Board of Education President William C. Thompson, Jr., CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Herman Badillo, Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy and CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, marking the first time the leadership of the two public education systems have joined to announce city-wide plans of this magnitude.
College Now is based on the successful model initiated by Kingsborough Community College in 1981, which provides high school students with assessment of their academic skills in reading, writing and math, and opportunities to improve them, and to take college credit course work before admission to college. The collaborative program, now offered by every CUNY college before and after school at more than 100 public high schools, currently enrolls approximately 13,000 11th and 12th grade students. Initial funding for the program has been provided by New York State and a special allocation from the New York City Council.
Over the next three years, the College Now program will be expanded to an estimated 45,000 students in the 9th through 12th grades in more than 200 high schools. The officials estimated that the first year of expansion (2000-2001) would cost $10 million. By the end of the three-year period, the anticipated total cost will be $20 million.
A study by CUNY’s Office of Institutional Research and Analysis has found that College Now alumni were more likely to enter baccalaureate programs than other college freshmen, took less remedial coursework in college, earned more degree credits, were less likely to drop out and more likely to graduate in a timely fashion at both baccalaureate and associate degree levels.