With assistance from a city-funded program, the majority of City University of New York dropouts who reenrolled for a second opportunity at a college degree continue their education, according to university officials.
Out of those who took part in CUNY Reconnect, an effort that helps New Yorkers who have some college credits achieve their degrees, seven out of ten graduated or returned this fall. CUNY Reconnect is currently in its second year. CUNY officials are hoping that funding will be provided by the City Council to maintain the program.
- Advertisement -
Since the program’s inception, over 25,000 students have enrolled through it, contributing to the city’s public university system’s recovery after years of enrollment declines.
“It’s not enough to bring them in,” During a meeting of the City Council’s Committee on Higher Education on Thursday, Reine Sarmiento, the vice chancellor of enrollment management, stated.
“Our goal in Reconnect is to graduate them,” Sarmiento noted.
Every Reconnect student is matched with a “navigator,” who helps them with the re-enrollment process, provides virtual counseling during off-peak hours, and helps them find support programs like childcare or grants for forgiving debts related to loans, tuition, or other CUNY-related expenses.
According to Council estimates, the project that is supported by the city obtained a budget hike this year amounting to $1.4 million, or $5.8 million. The program is annually renewed by the mayor and City Council.
Sarmiento noted, “I know that budget cuts are coming and that difficult decisions will need to be made. But we have worked very hard to demonstrate the impact of CUNY Reconnect in our fine city, and we request your support in working with the mayor’s office.”
Grace Hamler is one of the New Yorkers who is gaining from the program. She discovered CUNY Reconnect while browsing on her phone. Although she wasn’t sure if the credits, she had previously earned at Hunter College would be sufficient to be eligible for Reconnect, she nonetheless gave a representative a call.
“I told him of my prior college experience that I hardly felt supported and that even so, life got in the way,” he remarked. “Today at age 72, I am on the verge of completing my first full semester.”
According to college authorities, more than 1,600 students who reenrolled under the program have graduated thus far.
Last week, CUNY inaugurated a welcome center at York College in Jamaica, Queens, where former students who want to return to school may speak with advisors about enrolling and other services. According to college administrators, a second location will likely open at the College of Staten Island in 2024.