The City University of New York opened on Monday the doors to the city's first new community college in more than four decades, and officials hope by building this new Midtown school from the ground, they can get more students to graduate. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
For the New Community College in Manhattan, Monday's freshman class picture on the first day of college was one for the history books as much as the yearbook. It marked the grand opening of the city's newest community college, and students knew the stakes are high.
"It's a new school. They are investing a lot of money into the school, so we have to bring it. Bring it every single day, no days off," said Michael Crop, a New Community College student.
The New Community College in Manhattan has been in the works for years. Enrollment is surging at CUNY's six other community colleges but graduation rates are still very low. So with this new college, educators are trying a big experiment.
"I think this school has the potential to be a game-changing model for community colleges across the country," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.
It will be a much more structured college experience. Students are required to do things that are usually optional, like attend summer orientation and preparation classes, meet with advisors frequently and work with study groups. For the first year, all students study the same core liberal arts curriculum.
"It's so much better if a campus puts together programs that make it clear that there are expectations that this is what you do. You do go to class, you do get your work done, because that's what you need to be successful," said New Community College President Scott Evenbeck.
The experiment is not cheap, at least not initially. The average cost for a CUNY community college student is about $10,000 a year but it will cost about $30,000 per student at the New Community College this year.
Eventually that is expected to go down, but it will still be more expensive than a traditional community college.
Still, the college president said it may be worth it.
"When we look at the cost to graduate a student, that will probably be less than other colleges because they lose too many along the way," said Evenbeck.
For now, the college's 300 students are in a space near Bryant Park. Eventually, it is hoped enrollment will grow to 5,000 students in a new campus to be built on 59th Street.