The Bumpy Road to Higher Education; CUNY

In this timeline, we present three areas of development within the higher education system. The history of access to higher education is much more complicated than the average college student realizes, and by interweaving the topics of tuition, women's education, and open admissions, three topics that connect to us personally and to our class, we show how the road to achieve a quality education within the CUNY system and beyond has not always been as easy and as equal as it is today.

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1787-09-17 08:06:50

Ratification of the U.S. Constitution

The purpose of the constitution was to create an organized set of laws for all citizens to abide by.

1820-07-02 06:31:57

Earliest Colleges Accept Women

Beginning at a time when most still believed that women belonged in the home taking care of their husband and children, select schools opened their doors to women.

1847-04-14 08:06:50

The Free Academy

Currently known as City College of New York, the Free Academy was designed to initiate a free public system for higher education, created by Townsend Harris.

1848-07-19 06:31:57

Seneca Falls Convention

Held at the Wesleyan Church, the convention was a gathering of almost 200 women organized to discuss their rights-including education and voting.

1870-07-02 06:31:57

First Free College for Women

Hunter College becomes the first school to offer free education to women.

1929-09-08 08:06:50

The Great Depression

Women needed to work in order to help provide for their families, so they began advocating strongly for their rights.

1945-09-11 08:06:50

Post World War II

Women made up 32% of enrollment in colleges and universities, taking advantage of the need for more skilled professionals

1965-09-02 08:06:50

Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act provided financial assistance to the general public for the first time.

1967-05-26 08:07:03

CUNY Transfer Policies

Students within CUNY were given the ability to transfer credits between community and senior colleges.

1969-04-03 15:21:47

Open Admissions Strike

In 1969, Black and Latino students organized the Open Admissions Strike. The purpose of the strike was to reduce discrimination within college admissions and promote education for the underprivileged.

1969-09-06 08:06:50


The CUNY Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) program was designed to allow severely underprepared and socioeconomically strained students the ability to participate in general undergraduate and graduate degree classes.

1970-09-12 08:06:50

The Birth of Open Admissions

Open Admissions began at CUNY in 1970, allowing anyone who wanted to receive a college education the ability to do so.

1972-09-01 08:06:50

Title IX

Marking a significant development for women’s education, the amendment states that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . .”.

1976-05-14 08:07:03

CUNY Widespread Tuition Implementation

President Ford declares that CUNY must implement widespread tuition due to New York's financial crisis.

1989-05-04 08:07:03

John Jay Student Protest

Our very own nationally acclaimed reporter sits down with James Summerville, a student in 1989 who participated in a protests against tuition increases.

2011-11-28 08:07:03

3 Year Tuition Increase

CUNY Board of Trustees approves a tuition increase of $300 dollars annually through 2015.

2015-05-12 16:34:56

Women's Studies Program

Today, women's education is flourishing, and the devotion to sustaining this progress is evident in the creation of the Women's Studies Program offered at CUNY and other colleges worldwide.

The Bumpy Road to Higher Education; CUNY

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