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May 22, 2019

More NYC public school students are heading to college, statistics show

November 26, 2018
A record 59% of high school students from the class of 2017 enrolled in college, vocational or public service programs after graduation. (iStock)

More New York City high school grads are moving on to college and are academically ready for the transition, statistics published Monday show.

A record 59% of students from the class of 2017 enrolled in college, vocational or public service programs after graduation, up from 57% in 2016, according to the new figures from the city’s Department of Education.

The Education Department numbers also show 49% of students from the class of 2017 met City University of New York benchmarks for college readiness, up from 46% in 2016 as CUNY eased college readiness requirements.

Mayor de Blasio said the incremental gains show his programs to improve the city schools are succeeding.

“Our plan to create equity and excellence in our school system is working, with more students enrolling in college and ready for college than ever before,” de Blasio said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is pictured in February 2018 in Albany, N.Y.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is pictured in February 2018 in Albany, N.Y. (Hans Pennink / AP)

Citywide, a record-high 45,115 students from the class of 2017 enrolled in college, up from 43,466 for the class of 2016.

Both college attendance rates and college readiness rates have been rising among city students for years.

But some experts said the college readiness gains in 2017 should be taken with a grain of salt.

“It should be noted that the small annual increases appear to come as much from structural reforms — such as eliminating CUNY application fees and changed remediation policies — as from instructional improvement,” CUNY education professor David Bloomfield said.

City Education Department officials estimated that roughly two percentage points out of the city’s three-point gain in college readiness could be attributed to improved student achievement.

The city is making a number of efforts to boost college enrollment among public school grads.

Starting this school year, all seventh-graders enrolled in city schools will be given an opportunity to visit a college campus, with roughly 70,000 students enrolled at 517 middle schools qualifying for the free college visits.

And a record number of city students took the SAT in 2017 after the city moved to offer the college entrance exam for free at public schools during normal school hours.

Roughly 61,800 juniors took the SAT at least once in 2017, up from about 40,800 in 2016.

City schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said the college gains were the direct result of the hard work of students, educators and families.

“Our public schools are putting a record number of students on a path to a brighter future,” he said.

City Education officials also released updated, online School Quality Snapshots and School Quality Guides on Monday.

The city’s public school Snapshots and Guides are widely used by families to help make decisions about where to enroll children in school.

School Quality Snapshots are concise web-based reports designed to give families quick pictures of the quality of city schools. They contain some information about students, staff and academic achievement.

School Quality Guides contain more detailed information about schools, along with some historical data.

School Quality Guides and Snapshots can be accessed here.

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