Enrollment rates higher in 2020; graduation rates lower


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As the coronavirus swept across the globe, public events, social gatherings, and institutions had to transition to distanced-based interactions to contain and control the spread. 

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

According to a recent Academic Program Inventory report, the number of students graduating from Hunter College programs in 2020 were often less than 75% of their starting enrollment in 2016.

The CUNY Academic Programs Inventory records the number of students enrolling and graduating from various Hunter College programs. The students graduating in 2020 are not necessarily the students enrolling in 2016.

Hunter College transitioned to online learning in late March of 2020. Hunter student Anna Tang is a junior who is currently majoring in Film and Media, took a break from her studies when Hunter moved to virtual learning. 

“I was studying part-time and I performed poorly academically my last semester so I began auditing lectures in 2020,” says Tang. 

Financial demands, personal responsibilities, or the intimidation of virtual learning are a few of the reasons why Tang decided to opt-out of a semester online.

“I felt a lack of support at Hunter and I felt it didn’t make sense for my financial situation to continue my courses at Hunter when my grades were suffering,” she said. 

Media Studies Program

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Data from the CUNY Academic Programs Inventory. The students graduating in 2020 are not necessarily the students who enrolled in 2016.

The CUNY Academic Programs Inventory reported 164 graduates from Anna’s declared major in 2020. In the fall of 2016, about 394 students enrolled for Film and Media Studies. In 2019, 189 students graduated. 

Hunter is a four-year institution with a competitive ranking and Tang believes Hunter is not able to support its students during these strenuous times. The counseling services Hunter offered students presented themselves in late October of 2020. 

Amongst all the community colleges, Bronx Community College retained the least students out of the seven community colleges in 2017.

Haileny Carvahlo is a Marketing and Communications major at BCC. She recalls her online learning experience as tolerable. 

“On campus, we have many resources. They give us tutoring for lots of different classes,” Carvalho said.

Carvalho said the support and the resources at her disposal kept her going through the difficult semesters. 

According to the CUNY Academic Programs Inventory, most institutions had graduation counts lower than their enrollment numbers.

Human Biology is an exception, with an enrollment of 140 students in 2016 and a graduation count of 309 in 2020. In 2017 and 2018, the enrollment for the program was 358 and 806. 

“I just don’t think it makes sense to pay a full school tuition to not learn in a classroom and keep things strictly on Blackboard,” Tang said. She said she sees herself coming back to school when the school begins the in-person classes. 

“Till then, I don’t really see my academic investment as a viable option,” says Tang.