The Office of Policy Research (OPR) aims to improve retention and graduation rates at CUNY through research, evaluation, and decision support. To this end, OPR pursues issues of relevance across the CUNY system, including postsecondary racial, income, and gender gaps in access and performance; the role of college in economic development and workforce training; the educational experiences and choices of immigrant students; college readiness and the high school to college "pipeline", and the inter-relationships of housing and education. And with Gates Foundation support, OPR is working with the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to build a shared, student-level, longitudinal, tracking data system that both institutions use to improve their understanding of college readiness and the high school to college transitions.
Recent questions explored by OPR:
- Do CUNY's students stay in New York City and State after they graduate?
- What are the effects of residential mobility – in particular, mobility prompted by foreclosure or restrained by public housing subsidies -- on educational performance?
- How do transfer students perform in Baccalaureate programs compared to first-time freshmen?
- How much in loans do CUNY students borrow on average relative to students in other institutions? How much debt do CUNY graduates accumulate?
- What factors may have led to recent increases in Latino enrollment at CUNY?
- What are the educational choices and outcomes of CUNY students living in public housing?
- How do undocumented immigrant students perform relative to their peers at CUNY (citizens and permanent residents)?
- How large are retention and graduation gaps at CUNY by race, income, and gender?
- What has been CUNY's contribution to New York's economic base over the past 30 years?
- Which students are most likely to drop out before completing their degrees, and why?
- What factors predict early success in college?
On-going efforts of OPR:
- Working to quantify the existence, extent, and causes of race, gender, and income gaps in student access and performance to inform program design, institutional partnerships, and systemic supports (e.g., EdTrust and NASH's Access to Success initiative).
- Establishing and maintaining a research partnership and data exchange with the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to improve students' college readiness and to support students' successful transition from high school to college (Graduate NYC! Gates Foundation-supported Communities Learning in Partnership grants).
- Assessing the impact and scalability of promising programs (e.g., ASAP).
- Initiating and enriching academic dialogue by hosting a seminar series in which speakers discuss current higher education policy and research.
- Quantifying CUNY's economic impact on the city and state economies through the system's role in educating many of New York City's health-care professionals, emergency workers, law enforcement officers, and policy-makers.
- Building partnerships with researchers at CUNY and other institutions to maximize the use of CUNY's data resources to answer questions relevant to CUNY and the broader higher education policy community (e.g., Affiliated Researchers ).
- Providing technical assistance to CUNY administrators, staff, faculty, and policy-makers (e.g., Improving Math Learning grant competition, Sexual Assault Policy task force, Pathways to Degree Completion).
- Providing context for local, state, and federal policy issues that affect CUNY.