Retention Rates Neutral and Enrollment Rates Increase Amidst Pandemic at Hunter

Hunter College

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Enrollment at Hunter rose from 23,193 in 2019 to 24,052 in 2020, according to a financial report from the University Budget Office.

Hunter College’s retention rate remained relatively the same, 81% for full-time students, from 2018 to 2019, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

It was slightly lower by 0.2% than the previous year, according to the CUNY Office of Institutional Research. 

CUNY Retention Rates for 2018

Data from CUNY Office of Institutional Research.

The retention rate is calculated as the number of students who are still enrolled one year after a specified term, without graduating. 

On May 1, after the national college decision day, 3,598 freshmen committed to the school for the fall 2021 semester, according to Irina Ostrozhnyuk, the assistant director of undergraduate admissions.

“The class is really humongous,” she said. “Last year, we probably had a class of about 3,100.”

Ostrozhnyuk said the heightened admission rate for the fall semester might be attributed to the shift to remote learning and CUNY’s decision to waive SAT and ACT scores until 2023.

“The lower SAT score was there and may have dragged it down previously, but it didn’t do so this year,” she said.  

The shift to remote learning was announced on CUNY’s Twitter and initiated in mid-March of 2020.

Before the pandemic, SAT scores were among the various factors that compared students from several high schools. The results determined the students’ overall academic performance with the national average and was one pathway to achieving a merit-based scholarship among some colleges. 

But since the start of the pandemic in March of last year, Black and Latino students have been affected the most in this learning inequality arch, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Due to COVID-19, many colleges have decided to abandon ACT and SAT scores as part of their admission process.

One student, who preferred not to be named because she feared repercussions, is graduating this semester as a human biology major. She was on the pre-physician assistant track but said she ended up as a human bio major because of the extreme stress and difficulty of the courses.

“I regret not transferring years ago,” she said. “It took me five years to graduate.”

She said her academic experience was immensely difficult and that social life on campus is virtually nonexistent because everyone is constantly on the move.

68th Street Hunter College

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Several students on Unigo, a website where students review and rate their respective colleges, all agree that Hunter is a college in which many students commute to and from campus for classes from all over NYC.

Every student has the option to choose fully online, hybrid or in-person classes, according to reopening plans by CUNY.

In the Hunter College subreddit, an online chat forum, a user posted about wanting to transfer out of the college because they felt that they would not have a fulfilling experience.

“I’m really worried about my mental health and happiness if I do attend Hunter,” the user posted. Another responded, “Not coming here might be the best decision of your life.”

Ostrozhnyuk estimated that around 95 percent of the freshmen class in fall of 2020 were attending the school full-time.

“Out of the around 3,100 students (last year), only 80 deferred their studies,” Ostrozhnyuk said.

The number of students who have chosen to postpone their studies this year is not available yet because the freshmen class is expected to enroll in courses by the end of the summer.

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