CUNY colleges are attracting record numbers of high academic achievers, including numerous winners of top national honors. The University now accepts about 20,000 applicants with a high school GPA of 85 or above — more than double the number from 10 years ago. Over the years, the winners of the prestigious student awards include seven Rhodes Scholars, six Marshall Scholars, 10 Truman Scholars and dozens of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows.
CUNY students also continue to reflect remarkably diverse backgrounds, with family heritage linked to over 205 countries. More than 40 percent of undergraduates were born outside the United States; about 44 percent are first- generation Americans; and about 20 percent are the first in their families to attend college.
In addition to rigorous classroom learning, student life has become an increasingly important part of the CUNY experience. Students enjoy a wide array of extra-curricular activities, including performing arts, cultural, social and political clubs, study-abroad programs, and community-service opportunities. While supporting the needs of a large commuting population, CUNY also has been expanding on-campus housing options for students at Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter, Lehman and Queens colleges, as well as through the Educational Housing Services and the Brandon Residence for Women. To help ensure the success of all students, CUNY also provides flexible schedules, financial aid and child care.
Students can participate in an array of intercollegiate and intramural sports. Among the offerings, for both men and women: basketball, cross-country, fencing, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field and volleyball. Baseball, water polo and wrestling are offered for men; softball for women. Four-year college varsity teams compete with schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, while community college teams participate in the National Junior College Athletic Association. All CUNY schools are members of the City University of New York Athletic Conference.