Report: Most New York students not ready for college

Jan 28, 2016

New findings released by Business First show that a majority of New York State high students will enroll in college, though less than half appear to be ready.

High school graduation cap & gown.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

According to G. Scott Thomas of Business First, the state Education Department has compiled the Aspirational Performance Measure (APM), a calculation that indicates college readiness.

To score on the APM, Thomas says a student needs "to get at least an 80 on a Regents math test. You have to get at least a 75 on the Regents English test and you need to graduate from high school."

Less than half of graduates reach those standards.  

"They found about 40 percent of the high school seniors in New York State, about 42 percent Upstate, are actually ready to do college work," Thomas explained

"About twice as many do go (to college), if you include two-year and four-year colleges."

In what is a familiar trend, wealthier suburban school districts score better on the APM.

"In our area, we have two districts (Orchard Park and Clarence) that did better than 80 percent," Thomas said.

"On the opposite end, you have even a smaller city like Salamanca which has the lowest rate in the region, which is down at 11 percent. Buffalo is at 13 percent. Niagara Falls at 19."

Business First also reviewed federal statistics on the admissions rates at Upstate colleges.

Getting into Cornell was the most difficult.

"In Cornell's case they fielded about 43,000 applications a year ago and they admitted about 6,000 of those students."

The top 10 did not feature a Western New York school.

"Nine of the ten are private colleges, the one exception of the public schools is Binghamton University, which is eighth at 44 percent."

The most difficult among Western New York schools are SUNY Fredonia, which admits 53 percent of applicants; the University at Buffalo admits 58 percent.