Nov. 22, 2019 By Kristen Torres
A record number of graduating high school students have enrolled in college, according to a new report released by the mayor’s office.
Nearly 50,000 students enrolled in college, vocational or public service programs, putting enrollment at an all-time high of 62 percent for New York City’s Class of 2018.
“Our schools launch our kids to successful futures, and now more students than ever are enrolled in college and taking another step toward fulfilling their potential,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement Thursday.
The borough of Queens alone saw nearly 66 percent of its graduating class of 2018 enroll in a two or four-year program — up three percent points from the previous year, according to a Department of Education spokesperson.
Fifty-one percent of all students in the Class of 2018 throughout the city also graduated “college ready,” — meaning they graduated on time and meeting CUNY’s standards for college readiness in English and Math, according to the report.
The graduation rate for the Class of 2018—students who entered 9th grade in 2014–also reached an all-time high at almost 76 percent.
“The numbers are in and the results are clear,” said Chancellor Richard Carranza in a statement. “In New York City, more students are enrolling in college and on a path to success.”
Councilmember Robert Holden, however, remains skeptical about the numbers put out by the mayor’s office.
He said the college enrollment numbers are artificially high, because the Department of Education is passing underperforming students.
“My office has fielded dozens of complaints, including schools that pass every student regardless of attendance and faculty who change failing grades,” said Councilmember Holden. “Until this is resolved I’ll take every statistic released by the DOE with a grain of salt.”
The mayor’s office credits College Access for All — a plan under de Blasio’s “Equity and Excellence” agenda that aims to create a college and career-ready environment for high school students — for the heightened enrollment rates.
The initiative most-notably removed financial obstacles for students looking to apply to colleges in the city.
In the Class of 2018, nearly 45,000 students received fee waivers through CUNY, allowing them to apply for free, according to the report. During the same school year, 80 percent of high school juniors participated in SAT school day, taking the exam at school for free.
De Blasio’s office also announced the release of the 2018-2019 School Quality Reports, which offer a break down on school demographics and student achievement. The reports also rate schools on the educational environment, school leadership and rigor of instruction, among other factors.