In late February, LaGuardia Community College, along with Robin Hood, launched CUNY's first-ever program focused on aiding adult New Yorkers with some college but no degree to complete a college credential. The new Credits for Success Initiative follows CUF's January 2022 report, Reengaging Adult Learners to Complete College Degrees, which found that helping many more of these adults get over the college finish line may be New York City’s best opportunity to make progress in boosting the number of New Yorkers with a college credential—and expanding access to the well-paying jobs powering the city’s economic recovery.
The program's launch announcement cites CUF's report, which revealed that there are nearly 700,000 working-age New York City residents with some college credits but no degree and called for new public and private programs to help re-engage adult learners and help them complete a credential. This population includes 21 percent of working-age Black New Yorkers, 17 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers, 11 percent of white New Yorkers, and 9 percent of Asian New Yorkers. Underscoring the equity issues at stake, the report notes that Black and Hispanic women comprise 35 percent of working-age New Yorkers with some college but no degree, despite making up just 26 percent of all working-age New Yorkers. A re-enrollment effort in New York could help many of the city’s working-age residents return to CUNY and earn a credential.
CUF has published a number of studies about the importance of raising the college completion rates in New York City, including Opportuntity Costs: Affording the True Costs of College in NYC; Building an Inclusive Economy in NYC: Boosting College Attainment; Struggling to the Finish Line: Community College Completion in New York State; and Degrees of Difficulty: Boosting College Success in New York City.