Report: Lack of Access to College Counselors Stymies Success for NYC Students


A lack of access to college counselors was cited as a major factor in a new report on New York City’s low college success rate.

Only 22 percent of students who enter community college associate degree programs at the City University of New York (CUNY) earn a degree in three years and just 55 percent of students enrolled in four-year CUNY programs finish after six years, according to the research.

The report, Degrees of Difficulty: Boosting College Success in New York City,  published in early December by Center for an Urban Future, highlighted eight problem areas that derail students on their college journey. Access to college counselors topped the list.

The average counselor in a New York City public high school serves 221 students and their time isn’t solely focused on college counseling. CUNY doesn’t release its data on student-to-counselor ratios at the college level, but the report estimated that it was between 600 and 1,000 students per counselor.

“Inadequate access to advisement is an underappreciated problem in a city where 52 percent of community college students are the first in their family to attend college, half are working in a job, and 16 percent are supporting children. For many of these students, navigating the transition from high school to college is an unfamiliar and challenging experience,” the report stated.

“For many other students, the barriers they encounter in other parts of their lives often ripple into their college experience and impact their ability to do all the things needed to keep them on the path to graduation.”

Read the full report here.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

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