Photo credit: CUNY Queensborough Community College
QCC campus

More students are enrolling in a Bayside community college than ever before, according to aggregated data from the school.

Data from CUNY Queensborough Community College indicates that more students enrolled for the fall and winter semesters compared to the same periods last year. Approximately 15,000 students enrolled in the current semester, while planned enrollment for the upcoming winter session has increased by 35 percent.

“The fact that freshman enrollments are up is significant, given the diminishing number of high school graduates across the city,” said Queensborough President Dr. Timothy G. Lynch. “Community College is the fastest way to obtain skills for quality jobs and prepare for further education. The winter session helps students accelerate their studies and finish college faster.”

Though Lynch cites a diminishing number of high school graduates, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza announced that the citywide graduation rate rose to 75.9 percent in 2018. In Queens, data showed that the number of graduates increased from 77.8 percent to 79.5 percent.

This summer, Queensborough experienced similar robust enrollments that were up by nearly 10 percent over the same period in 2018. According to the school, more than 4,300 QCC students and visiting students enrolled in summer courses within the college’s 40 associate degree programs.

QCC’s president described Queensborough’s year-round academic program as “trusted and transformative.”

“Many students here experience a drive to learn more and excel beyond their expectations,” said Lynch.

School leadership asserted that the increased enrollment at Queensborough marked greater demand for high-quality education among students in the borough, especially first-generation college students.

One such student is Biling Chen, a QCC student who emigrated from rural China to New York in 2016. She had very little English skills when she arrived, but was determined to enroll in college and study science.

“[W]here [I grew up] girls are commonly told to squash their dreams and focus on cleaning and cooking and to serve as loyal wives and mothers. I was forced to quit school after graduating from high school,” said the chemistry major, scholarship winner and undergraduate researcher.

Since enrolling at QCC in 2017, Chen has worked closely with Dr. Sasan Karimi and Dr. Paris Svoronos, her faculty mentors in the chemistry department. Together, they have conducted investigations designed to reduce the cost of synthesizing drugs used to fight cancer.

“Every day I live and breathe chemistry, and I love it. After receiving my associate degree, I plan to transfer to City College to complete my bachelor’s,” Chen said.

Chen and thousands of other immigrant students have enrolled and learned English thanks to Queensborough’s Port of Entry, an English language development program.

“One of the advantages of Queensborough is that students of all abilities, under any circumstances and from anywhere in the world, have the means to achieve success here, in the field of their choice,” said Lynch.

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