G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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The New York Times notes, in an article discussing the ethnic shift occurring after the city’s university system (CUNY) increased admission standards:
At the university’s five most competitive four-year colleges — Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens — nearly 12 percent of freshmen entering in 2001 had SAT scores of 1,200 or more. In 2007, for the last prerecession class, the figure was up to 16 percent, and by last fall, it had jumped to 26 percent.
At the same time, black representation among first-time freshmen at those colleges dropped, to 10 percent last fall from 17 percent in 2001. Over the same period, the Hispanic share rose slightly for several years, then fell once the recession began, to 18 percent, while the white portion fell slightly, to 35 percent.
Asians are now entering the top colleges in the greatest numbers, composing 37 percent of those classes, up from 25 percent a decade earlier.
To be expected. Even city and school officials knew this would happen before the standards were increased which is why they opposed the standards increase. Of course, the schools face their own challenges. Admitting students with worse academic records does not better serve the good students. For this reason, affirmative action policies or arbitrary and ill-fitting standards thresholds rarely work in the long term.
But on another note, the entire CUNY system reminds me of one of my pet peeves during the Occupy Wall Street movement. Protesting bank bailouts were one thing, but those “the rent is too damn high” type of arguments were another. Much of the unrest, it seemed, stemmed from young New Yorker’s desire to live in a cultural mecca for pennies on the dollar. Sort of like the characters in Rent or Girls. And that cultural mecca was funded, in part, through dollars created and spent on the very same Street which they were protesting. “Trickle down culture” is what I like to call it.
One of the draws of CUNY schools – besides their proximity and convenience – are their low tuition rates which is mostly funded by State and city taxes. Half of CUNY’s $2.6 billion budget is covered by state taxes (which reach almost 9% for incomes over $500 k); 39% is covered by tuition, and 11% of the budget ($270 million) is covered by city taxes of which the top 10% of New Yorkers pay 71%.
CUNY and its students should send a ‘thank you’ note to Wall Street and all of the other capitalists that help keep the city alive and thriving. But at this point they’re more likely to send a pipe bomb.