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CUNY Open Admissions Collection

Identifier: SCA-0051

Scope and Content

The materials in the Open Admissions Collection consist of official university documents and policy literature collected at Queens College. At present, they cover the first few years of the policy, which remained in effect for three decades in various forms. Additional materials will be added to the collection as they are received or processed from other institutional sources.


  • 1969-1977



Collection is open for research. Staff may restrict access at its discretion on the basis of physical condition.


In 1970, amidst a national atmosphere of civil action, the City University of New York implemented a policy of open admissions. Aiming at broadening educational opportunities, the policy stated that all first-year applicants with a high school diploma, valid New York City residency, and a clean bill of health would be eligible for enrollment to any of its two- and four-year schools. At the same time, the University reevaluated and expanded its efforts at remedial education on the basis that lack of prior achievement is a “shortcoming of the system and not an indication of (the student’s) inability.” While other institutions had already committed to open admissions, none were as large or served as heterogeneous of a community as CUNY.

Two financial crises eventually led to the reversal of these policies. The first, in 1976, caused the university to begin charging tuition. Two decades later, the second compelled a restructuring of the entire CUNY system, which included a push for higher standards. In 1999, the open admissions policy and remedial education programs at four-year colleges, including Queens, were suspended. They are still in place at the system’s two-year schools.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

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The City University of New York was among the largest university systems to support a universal open admissions policy. The Open Admissions Collection contains reports, articles, transcripts, and guidebooks from the first decade of this effort.


Items are arranged by type and date.


Queens College Department of Special Collections and Archives (New York, N.Y.)

Related Collections

Mark Levy Collection, Queens College, NY

CUNY Open Admissions Collection
Processed by Mark Sacha, Fall 2015
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Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Library, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us