Across the street from midtown Manhattan’s Bryant Park, a small office building is the home to the newest addition to CUNY schools: the New Community College, which opened its doors this fall to 300 students.
The college is the first CUNY has opened in almost 40 years. The venture cost $9 million and was funded by New York City to completely change the community college format, according to the CUNY website.
More students are enrolled in community colleges nationwide than ever before, but less than a third of students earn an associate degree in three years, according to the NYC Department of Education.
“I think this school has the potential to be a game changing model for community colleges across the country,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, in an interview with NY 1.
NCC is different from other colleges as tutoring and counseling is mandatory on a weekly basis.
The tutoring consists of 90-minute weekly group work sessions that will help students keep on track to graduate. These sessions are with other students, as well as experienced peer mentors from other CUNY colleges, who serve as guides and lead workshops and study sessions.
The counseling takes the same weekly format, as students take the time out to organize their life in and outside of school. The school aims to “link classroom learning to practical career experiences,” the NCC website states.
There is a mandatory full-time enrollment for first year students, and very limited class selection. This keeps students on track as they only take courses required to graduate on time and move on to a four-year college in a timely fashion.
The new system will be quite similar to the Knowledge is Power Program, which has been incorporated into the grade school system; a method unfamiliar in the college system.
Most of the ideas spun together to create this new school were previously tested in other colleges as part of the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs. It was the success of the ASAP programs that led to the development of the NCC to combine the ideas into a single college program.
With the entire program designed to help students graduate, the NCC has partnered up with several four-year CUNY colleges to ensure a smooth transition for its students.