Asian Students Attending the
City University of New York:
A Demographic and Social Profile

by David Crook & Cheryl Littman

[December 06, 2002]


Online Notes
Asian Students Attending CUNY: A Demographic Profile

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The student survey conducted by the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis covered a broad range of topics, including student satisfaction of services, usage of technology, interaction with peers and faculty.   

This presentation only covers a small fraction of the available data findings, compiled from the information provided by school registration offices and the student survey.  There are over 6,000 responses to the survey.  Among those, 700 were Asian students. 

Part I – General Information


The City University of New York (CUNY) is a large system containing 208,000 students in 17 undergraduate institutions spread across the five boroughs of New York City.  The enrollment rate has increased rapidly in these recent few years.  Among the 208,000 students enrolled at CUNY, 24,000 of them are Asian students, making up 14.2% of entire student population.  

Medgar Evers College has the smallest number of Asian students enrolled, compared to Baruch College’s Asian enrollment of almost 30%, making it the college with the largest Asian student population within CUNY; followed by Hunter College, La Guardia Community College and Queens College.  The concentration of Asian students at Queens College may be attributed to the distribution of the Asian population in New York City, with 52% of Asian students residing in Queens.  

In general, there are more Asian students enrolled at senior colleges than at community colleges within CUNY. 


53% of the Asian student population within CUNY is female, compared to that of their non-Asian counterparts at 64%.  This in turn means there is a higher Asian male population within CUNY, with colleges that offer technical courses such as New York City College of Technology, attracting more males than other colleges.    


56% of Asian students are pursuing a Bachelors Degrees, with 38% of them pursuing an Associates Degrees.  The percentage Asian students pursuing a Bachelors Degree within CUNY are higher than those of other students; with only 5% of the Asian student population pursuing a certificate.   


The most popular majors in both senior colleges and community colleges are Business Management, and Computer Information Systems.  31% of Asian students are majoring in Business Management, compared to 20% of non-Asian students taking this major.  21% of Asian students are majoring Computer Information Systems, which is three times more the number of non-Asian students taking this major. 

High School 

70.5% of Asian students enrolled at CUNY went to high schools under the New York City Department of Education, with only 60% of non-Asian students coming from those high schools.  A mere 4.2% of Asian students came from a private school, compared to 12% of students that came from a private school.   

Asian students are more likely than others, to have come from a foreign high school.

Part II - Demographic of Asian Undergraduate Population

The Asian population is very diverse.  According to registration data, the country of identity among Asian students enrolled in Fall 2001, based on language were: China – 23%, India – 11%, South Korea, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Philippines, Japan and 8% for other Asian countries.   

82% of Asians are foreign born students, compared to 46% of non-Asians foreign born students.   

88% of Asian students have a native language other than English.  The largest percentages were Chinese – 33%, followed by Korean, Bengalis, Japanese and others. 

Almost 90% of Asian students are bilingual, compared to 54% of non-Asian students.   

47% of Asian students are the first generation in their family to attend college, with 46% of students in CUNY sharing a similar experience. 

The average household income of Asian students is slightly lower than the overall student population.  54% of Asian students have a household income below $25,000 vs. 50% of the overall student population.

Synopsis by Mimy Liu






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