Observing the stream of undergraduate students filing toward Steinman Hall on a typical class day, one cannot help noticing its cultural diversity and energy .... a microcosm of planet earth at the intersection of Convent Avenue and St. Nicholas Terrace. Over eighty countries are represented by this student body!
Undergraduates make up almost eighty percent of the school's total enrollment of just under 3000. Those seeking graduate degrees comprise the balance. The bachelor degree candidates have selected from among seven major degree fields: Electrical Engineering (24% of the population), Mechanical Engineering (18%), Computer Science (17%), Computer Engineering(16%), Civil Engineering (16%), Chemical Engineering 6%) and, the newest offering, Biomedical Engineering (5%). When they graduate, over eighty percent hold job offers or acceptances to graduate school. Some choose to bring their newly acquired skills back home to their countries of origin. Of the over 2300 current undergrads, 17% are women. Overall, 25% are Asian, 18% black, 27% Hispanic, 10% white, and 20% are international students.
At present, there is a national effort to turn around decades of decline in engineering and science studies in this country which, according to policy experts, puts US prosperity at risk. However, this is a challenge that not only has to begin now, but must be sustained for the long term to have a meaningful impact. In recent years, stunning progress in upgrading the caliber of faculty and students has positioned the City College SOE at the forefront of this country's technical reawakening.
Tuition these days is far from the good old "Free Academy" days. The impost this year is $2000 per semester for full-time students and $170 per credit for part-time. Approximately 75% of these students receive state or federal financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans that have to be paid back. Despite this assistance, according to Dr. Ramona Brown, Dean of Student Programs: "Many of our students have remaining financial need, even after the receipt of Pell/TAP or a scholarship. Need levels can range from $100 to upwards of $10,000+ depending on family or individual income level. Each time the student receives financial support, their need level is reduced; therefore, their Pell/TAP awards, for example, are also reduced."
On an individual level, SOE students continue to hold up a proud heritage. Here are just two examples:
- Civil Engineering major Sun Joo Choi, who came to the US from Argentina five years ago, serves as vice president of the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and Chi Epsilon chapters on campus and works as a City College software trainer. She reports, "Financial aid and scholarships have made it possible for me to get my engineering degree. When I become a professional engineer, I hope that I can give back."
- Seth Cutler, Mechanical Engineering student, says "I have always had an interest in how things work. Internships (at DMJM + HARRIS and GE Transportation) provided real world applications for what I learn in class." Seth is also the current president of the entire City College student government.