The City University of New York (CUNY /ˈkjuːni/) is the public university system of New York City, and the largest urban university system in the United States. CUNY and the State University of New York (SUNY) are separate and independent university systems, despite the fact that both public institutions receive funding from New York State. CUNY, however, is located in only New York City, while SUNY is located in the entire state, including New York City.
|The City University of New York|
|Motto||Latin: Eruditio populi liberi spes gentium|
Motto in English
|The education of free people is the hope of humanity|
|Chancellor||Vita C. Rabinowitz (interim)|
|Location||New York City, New York|
CUNY is the third-largest university system in the United States, in terms of enrollment, behind the State University of New York (SUNY), and the California State University system. More than 274,000-degree-credit students, continuing, and professional education students are enrolled at campuses located in all five New York City boroughs.
The university has one of the most diverse student bodies in the United States, with students hailing from 208 countries, but mostly from New York City. The black, white and Hispanic undergraduate populations each comprise more than a quarter of the student body, and Asian undergraduates make up 18 percent. Fifty-eight percent are female, and 28 percent are 25 or older.
The following table is 'sortable'; click on a column heading to re-sort the table by values of that column.
|1847||Senior College||City College|
|1870||Senior College||Hunter College|
|1919||Senior College||Baruch College|
|1930||Senior College||Brooklyn College|
|1937||Senior College||Queens College|
|1946||Senior College||New York City College of Technology|
|1964||Senior College||John Jay College of Criminal Justice|
|1966||Senior College||York College|
|1968||Senior College||Lehman College|
|1970||Senior College||Medgar Evers College|
|1976||Senior College||College of Staten Island|
|2005||Honors College||William E. Macaulay Honors College|
|1957||Community College||Bronx Community College|
|1958||Community College||Queensborough Community College|
|1963||Community College||Borough of Manhattan Community College|
|1963||Community College||Kingsborough Community College|
|1968||Community College||LaGuardia Community College|
|1970||Community College||Hostos Community College|
|2011||Community College||Guttman Community College|
|1961||Graduate / professional||CUNY Graduate Center|
|1973||Graduate / professional||CUNY School of Medicine|
|1983||Graduate / professional||CUNY School of Law|
|2006||Graduate / professional||CUNY Graduate School of Journalism|
|2006||Graduate / professional||CUNY School of Professional Studies|
|2008||Graduate / professional||CUNY School of Public Health|
CUNY employs 6,700 full-time faculty members and over 10,000 adjunct faculty members. Faculty and staff are represented by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), a labor union and chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.
CUNY was created in 1961, by New York State legislation, signed into law by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. The legislation integrated existing institutions and a new graduate school into a coordinated system of higher education for the city, under the control of the "Board of Higher Education of the City of New York", which had been created by New York State legislation in 1926. By 1979, the Board of Higher Education had become the "Board of Trustees of the CUNY".
The institutions that were merged in order to create CUNY were:
CUNY has served a diverse student body, especially those excluded from or unable to afford private universities. Its four-year colleges offered a high quality, tuition-free education to the poor, the working class and the immigrants of New York City who met the grade requirements for matriculated status. During the post-World War I era, when some Ivy League universities, such as Yale University, discriminated against Jews, many Jewish academics and intellectuals studied and taught at CUNY. The City College of New York developed a reputation of being "the Harvard of the proletariat."
As New York City's population—and public college enrollment—grew during the early 20th century and the city struggled for resources, the municipal colleges slowly began adopting selective tuition, also known as instructional fees, for a handful of courses and programs. During the Great Depression, with funding for the public colleges severely constrained, limits were imposed on the size of the colleges' free Day Session, and tuition was imposed upon students deemed "competent" but not academically qualified for the day program. Most of these "limited matriculation" students enrolled in the Evening Session, and paid tuition.
Demand in the United States for higher education rapidly grew after World War II, and during the mid-1940s a movement began to create community colleges to provide accessible education and training. In New York City, however, the community-college movement was constrained by many factors including "financial problems, narrow perceptions of responsibility, organizational weaknesses, adverse political factors, and another competing priorities."
Community colleges would have drawn from the same city coffers that were funding the senior colleges, and city higher education officials were of the view that the state should finance them. It wasn't until 1955, under a shared-funding arrangement with New York State, that New York City established its first community college, on Staten Island. Unlike the day college students attending the city's public baccalaureate colleges for free, the community college students had to pay tuition fees under the state-city funding formula. Community college students paid tuition fees for approximately 10 years.
Over time, tuition fees for limited-matriculated students became an important source of system revenues. In fall 1957, for example, nearly 36,000 attended Hunter, Brooklyn, Queens and City Colleges for free, but another 24,000 paid tuition fees of up to $300 a year – the equivalent of $2,413 in 2011. Undergraduate tuition and other student fees in 1957 comprised 17 percent of the colleges' $46.8 million in revenues, about $7.74 million — a figure equivalent to $62.4 million in 2011 buying power.
Three community colleges had been established by early 1961, when New York City's public colleges were codified by the state as a single university with a chancellor at the helm and an infusion of state funds. But the city's slowness in creating the community colleges as demand for college seats was intensifying, had resulted in mounting frustration, particularly on the part of minorities, that college opportunities were not available to them.
In 1964, as New York City's Board of Higher Education moved to take full responsibility for the community colleges, city officials extended the senior colleges' free tuition policy to them, a change that was included by Mayor Robert Wagner in his budget plans and took effect with the 1964–65 academic year.
Students at some campuses became increasingly frustrated with the university's and Board of Higher Education's handling of university administration. At Baruch College in 1967, over a thousand students protested the plan to make the college an upper-division school limited to junior, senior, and graduate students. At Brooklyn College in 1968, students attempted a sit-in to demand the admission of more black and Puerto Rican students and additional black studies curriculum. Students at Hunter College also demanded a Black studies program. Members of the SEEK program, which provided academic support for underprepared and underprivileged students, staged a building takeover at Queens College in 1969 to protest the decisions of the program's director, who would later be replaced by a black professor. Puerto Rican students at Bronx Community College filed a report with the New York State Division of Human Rights in 1970, contending that the intellectual level of the college was inferior and discriminatory. Hunter College was crippled for several days by a protest of 2,000 students who had a list of demands focusing on more student representation in college administration. Across CUNY, students boycotted their campuses in 1970 to protest a rise in student fees and other issues, including the proposed (and later implemented) open admissions plan.
Like many college campuses in 1970, CUNY faced a number of protests and demonstrations after the Kent State shootings and Cambodian Campaign. The Administrative Council of the City University of New York sent U.S. President Richard Nixon a telegram in 1970 stating, "No nation can long endure the alienation of the best of its young people." Some colleges, including John Jay College of Criminal Justice, historically the "college for cops," held teach-ins in addition to student and faculty protests.
In 1969, the Board of Trustees implemented a new admissions policy. The doors to CUNY were opened wide to all those demanding entrance, assuring all high school graduates entrance to the university without having to fulfill traditional requirements such as exams or grades. This policy was known as open admissions and nearly doubled the number of students enrolling in the CUNY system to 35,000 (compared to 20,000 the year before). With greater numbers came more diversity: Black and Hispanic student enrollment increased threefold. Remedial education, to supplement the training of under-prepared students, became a significant part of CUNY's offerings.
In fall 1976, during New York City's fiscal crisis, the free tuition policy was discontinued under pressure from the federal government, the financial community that had a role in rescuing the city from bankruptcy, and New York State, which would take over the funding of CUNY's senior colleges. Tuition, which had been in place in the State University of New York system since 1963, was instituted at all CUNY colleges.
Meanwhile, CUNY students were added to the state's need-based Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which had been created to help private colleges. Full-time students who met the income eligibility criteria were permitted to receive TAP, ensuring for the first time that financial hardship would deprive no CUNY student of a college education. Within a few years, the federal government would create its own need-based program, known as Pell Grants, providing the neediest students with a tuition-free college education. By 2011, nearly six of ten full- time undergraduates qualified for a tuition-free education at CUNY due in large measure to state, federal and CUNY financial aid programs. CUNY's enrollment dipped after tuition was re-established, and there were further enrollment declines through the 1980s and into the 1990s.
In 1995, CUNY suffered another fiscal crisis when Governor George Pataki proposed a drastic cut in state financing. Faculty cancelled classes and students staged protests. By May, CUNY adopted deep cuts to college budgets and class offerings. By June, in order to save money spent on remedial programs, CUNY adopted a stricter admissions policy for its senior colleges: students deemed unprepared for college would not be admitted, this a departure from the 1970 Open Admissions program. That year's final state budget cut funding by $102 million, which CUNY absorbed by increasing tuition by $750 and offering a retirement incentive plan for faculty.
In 1999, a task force appointed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani issued a report that described CUNY as "an institution adrift" and called for an improved, more cohesive university structure and management, as well as more consistent academic standards. Following the report, Matthew Goldstein, a mathematician and City College graduate who had led CUNY's Baruch College and briefly, Adelphi University, was appointed chancellor. CUNY ended its policy of open admissions to its four-year colleges, raised its admissions standards at its most selective four-year colleges (Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens), and required new-enrollees who needed remediation, to begin their studies at a CUNY open-admissions community college.
CUNY's enrollment of degree-credit students reached 220,727 in 2005 and 262,321 in 2010 as the university broadened its academic offerings. The university added more than 2,000 full-time faculty positions, opened new schools and programs, and expanded the university's fundraising efforts to help pay for them. Fundraising increased from $35 million in 2000 to more than $200 million in 2012.
As of Autumn 2013, all CUNY undergraduates are required to take an administration-dictated common core of courses which have been claimed to meet specific "learning outcomes" or standards. Since the courses are accepted University wide, the administration claims it will be easier for students to transfer course credits between CUNY colleges. It also reduced the number of core courses some CUNY colleges had required, to a level below national norms, particularly in the sciences. The program is the target of several lawsuits by students and faculty, and was the subject of a "no confidence" vote by the faculty, who rejected it by an overwhelming 92% margin.
Chancellor Goldstein retired on July 1, 2013, and was replaced on June 1, 2014 by James Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska, and a graduate of University of Nebraska and New York University Law School. Milliken is retiring at the end of the 2017-18 academic year and a search for a replacement was underway as of February 2018.
The forerunner of today's City University of New York was governed by the Board of Education of New York City. Members of the Board of Education, chaired by the President of the board, served as ex officio trustees. For the next four decades, the board members continued to serve as ex officio trustees of the College of the City of New York and the city's other municipal college, the Normal College of the City of New York.
In 1900, the New York State Legislature created separate boards of trustees for the College of the City of New York and the Normal College, which became Hunter College in 1914. In 1926, the Legislature established the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York, which assumed supervision of both municipal colleges.
In 1961, the New York State Legislature established the City University of New York, uniting what had become seven municipal colleges at the time: the City College of New York, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Staten Island Community College, Bronx Community College and Queensborough Community College. In 1979, the CUNY Financing and Governance Act was adopted by the State and the Board of Higher Education became the City University of New York Board of Trustees.
Today, the City University is governed by the Board of Trustees composed of 17 members, ten of whom are appointed by the Governor of New York "with the advice and consent of the senate," and five by the Mayor of New York City "with the advice and consent of the senate." The final two trustees are ex officio members. One is the chair of the university's student senate, and the other is non-voting and is the chair of the university's faculty senate. Both the mayoral and gubernatorial appointments to the CUNY Board are required to include at least one resident of each of New York City's five boroughs. Trustees serve seven-year terms, which are renewable for another seven years. The Chancellor is elected by the Board of Trustees, and is the "chief educational and administrative officer" of the City University.
CUNY has its own public safety force whose duties are to protect and serve all students and faculty members, and enforce all state and city laws at all of CUNY's universities. The force has more than 1000 officers, making it one of the largest public safety forces in New York City.
The Public Safety Department came under heavy criticism, from student groups, after several students protesting tuition increases tried to occupy the lobby of the Baruch College. The occupiers were forcibly removed from the area and several were arrested on November 21, 2011.
CUNY also has a broadcast TV service, CUNY TV (channel 75 on Spectrum, digital HD broadcast channel 25.3), which airs telecourses, classic and foreign films, magazine shows and panel discussions in foreign languages.
The City University Film Festival is CUNY's official film festival. The festival was founded in 2009 by Hunter College student Daniel Cowen.
CUNY graduates include 13 Nobel laureates, a Fields Medalist, a U.S. Secretary of State, a Supreme Court Justice, several New York City mayors, members of Congress, state legislators, scientists and artists.
|Kenneth Arrow||1940||City||American economist and joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics|
|Robert Aumann||1950||City||mathematician and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics|
|Herman Badillo||1951||City||civil rights activist and the first Puerto Rican elected to the U.S. Congress|
|Arlene Davila||1996||City||author and Anthropology and American Studies professor at New York University|
|Jesse Douglas||1916||City||mathematician and winner of one of the first two Fields Medals|
|Abraham Foxman||City||national director, Anti-Defamation League|
|Felix Frankfurter||1902||City||U.S. Supreme Court Justice|
|Andy Grove||1960||City||former chairman and CEO, Intel Corporation|
|Herbert A. Hauptman||1937||City||mathematician and winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry|
|Leonard Kleinrock||1957||City||computer scientist, Internet pioneer|
|Guillermo Linares||1975||City||New York City Council member, first Dominican-American City Council member and Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs|
|Lisa Nakamura||1993 1996||City||Director and Professor of the Asian American Studies Program at the Institute of Communication Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign|
|Barnett Newman||1927||City||abstract expressionist artist|
|John O'Keefe||City||2014 Nobel laureate in Medicine|
|Colin Powell||1958||City||former Chairman or the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State|
|Mario Puzo||City||novelist, Oscar-winning screenwriter for Best Adapted Screenplay (1972, 1974).|
|Faith Ringgold||1955||City||feminist, writer and artist|
|A. M. Rosenthal||1949||City||former executive editor of The New York Times who championed the publication of the Pentagon Papers; Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist expelled from Poland in 1959 for his reporting on the nation's government and society|
|Jonas Salk||1934||City||developed the first polio vaccine|
|Daniel Schorr||1939||City||Emmy award winning broadcast journalist for CBS-TV and National Public Radio|
|Elliott Fitch Shepard||1855||City||lawyer, banker, and a founder of the New York State Bar Association|
|Bernard Weinraub||City||American journalist and playwright|
|Egemen Bağış||Baruch||Turkish politician, government minister|
|Abraham Beame||1928||Baruch||Mayor of New York City|
|Robin Byrd||Baruch||host of public access program The Robin Byrd Show (dropped out)|
|Fernando Ferrer||Baruch||New York City mayoral candidate in 2001 and 2005|
|Sidney Harman||1939||Baruch||founder and executive chairman of Harman Kardon|
|Marcia A. Karrow||Baruch||member of New Jersey General Assembly|
|James Lam||1983||Baruch||author, risk management consultant|
|Ralph Lauren||Baruch||Chairman and CEO of Polo Ralph Lauren (dropped out)|
|Dolly Lenz||Baruch||New York City real estate agent|
|Dennis Levine||Baruch||prominent player in the Wall Street insider trading scandals of the mid-1980s|
|Jennifer Lopez||Baruch||actress, singer, dancer (dropped out)|
|Craig A. Stanley||Baruch||member of New Jersey General Assembly since 1996.|
|Tarkan||Baruch||Turkish language singer|
|Bella Abzug||1942||Hunter||feminist; political activist; U.S. Representative, 1971–1977|
|Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick||1963||Hunter||first Hispanic woman named to the New York State Court of Appeals|
|Robert R. Davila||1965||Hunter||President of Gallaudet University and advocate for the rights of the hearing impaired|
|Ruby Dee||1945||Hunter||Emmy-nominated actress and civil rights activist|
|Martin Garbus||1955||Hunter||First amendment attorney|
|Florence Howe||1950||Hunter||founder of women's studies and founder/publisher of the Feminist Press/CUNY|
|Audre Lorde||1959||Hunter||African-American lesbian poet, essayist, educator and activist|
|Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou||1991||Hunter||former Foreign Minister of Mauritania and professor of international history at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.|
|Soia Mentschikoff||1934||Hunter||first woman partner of a major law firm; first woman elected president of the Association of American Law Schools|
|Thomas J. Murphy, Jr.||1973||Hunter||three-term mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1994–2006|
|Pauli Murray||1933||Hunter||first African-American woman named an Episcopal priest; human rights activist; lawyer and co-founder of N.O.W|
|Edward Thomas Brady||John Jay||(MA), trial attorney and former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina|
|Jennings Michael Burch||John Jay||author of the 1984 best-selling memoir They Cage the Animals at Night|
|Marcos Crespo||John Jay||(BA), New York State Assemblyman representing district 85|
|Edward A. Flynn||John Jay||Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department|
|Petri Hawkins-Byrd||1989||John Jay||Judge Judy bailiff|
|Henry Lee||1972||John Jay||forensic scientist and founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science|
|Miguel Martinez||John Jay||(BS), former member of the New York City Council representing the 10th District in upper Manhattan's Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill areas until his resignation on July 14, 2009|
|Eva Norvind||John Jay||(MA), actor and director|
|Pauley Perrette||John Jay||actor best known for her role as Abby Scuito on NCIS|
|Ronald Rice||John Jay||New Jersey State Senator|
|Ariel Rios||John Jay||undercover special agent for the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), killed in the line of duty|
|Imette St. Guillen||John Jay||criminal justice graduate student murdered in February 2006. A scholarship was created in her name|
|Scott Stringer||John Jay||Comptroller, former Borough president of Manhattan, and former member of the New York State Assembly|
|Dorothy Uhnak||John Jay||(BA), novelist and detective for the New York City Transit Police Department|
|Bill Baird||1955||Brooklyn||reproductive rights activist and co-director of the Pro Choice League|
|Barbara Levy Boxer||1962||Brooklyn||anti-war activist, environmentalist, U.S. Representative, 1982–1993, and U.S. Senator|
|Shirley Chisholm||1946||Brooklyn||first African- American U.S. Congresswoman, 1968–1982. Candidate for U.S. President, 1972|
|Bruce Chizen||1978||Brooklyn||President & CEO, Adobe Systems|
|Stanley Cohen||1943||Brooklyn||biochemist and Nobel laureate (Physiology or Medicine, 1986|
|Alan M. Dershowitz||1959||Brooklyn||Harvard Law School professor and author|
|Jerry Della Femina||1957||Brooklyn||Chairman & CEO, Della Femina, Jeary and Partners|
|Dan DiDio||1983||Brooklyn||American comic book editor and executive for DC Comics|
|Benjamin Eisenstadt||1954||Brooklyn||creator of Sweet'N Low and the founder of Cumberland Packing Corporation|
|Sandra Feldman||1960||Brooklyn||President, American Federation of Teachers|
|Gata Kamsky||1999||Brooklyn||chess grandmaster and former US chess champion|
|Don Lemon||1996||Brooklyn||reporter, CNN|
|Leonard Lopate||1967||Brooklyn||host of the public radio talk show The Leonard Lopate Show, broadcast on WNYC|
|Frank McCourt||1967||Brooklyn||Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis|
|Marty Markowitz||1970||Brooklyn||former New York State Senator; former Brooklyn Borough President|
|Paul Mazursky||1951||Brooklyn||film director, writer, producer; actor|
|Jerry Moss||1957||Brooklyn||co-founder of A&M Records|
|Gloria Naylor||1981||Brooklyn||novelist; Winner National Book Award|
|Harvey Pitt||1965||Brooklyn||former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission|
|Steve Riggio||1974||Brooklyn||CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc.|
|Steve Schirripa||1980||Brooklyn||American actor known for his role as Bobby Baccalieri on the HBO TV series The Sopranos|
|Timothy Shortell||1992||Brooklyn||anti-Christian activist|
|Jimmy Smits||1980||Brooklyn||Emmy Award-winning actor; NYPD Blue and L.A. Law|
|Benjamin Ward||1960||Brooklyn||first black New York City Police Commissioner, 1983–1989|
|Iris Weinshall||1975||Brooklyn||vice chancellor at the City University of New York and a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation|
|Jack B. Weinstein||1943||Brooklyn||Senior Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York|
|Joy Behar||Queens||comedian, television personality|
|Jerry Colonna||Queens||well-known venture capitalist and entrepreneur coach|
|Joseph Crowley||Queens||member of the US House of Representatives|
|Alan Hevesi||Queens||former New York State Comptroller, former New York State Assemblyman, former Queens College professor|
|Cheryl Lehman||1975||Queens||Professor of Accounting, Hofstra University|
|Ruth Madoff||Queens||wife of Bernard L. Madoff|
|Helen Marshall||Queens||Queens Borough President|
|Donna Orender||Queens||WNBA president|
|Jerry Seinfeld||Queens||actor and comedian|
|Charles Wang||Queens||founder of Computer Associates, owner of the New York Islanders|
|Carl Andrews||Medgar Evers||New York State Senator|
|Yvette Clarke||Medgar Evers||Congresswoman, member of the United States House of Representatives from New York's 11th and 9th congressional districts|