Over the past decade, New Paltz has strengthened its academic profile, gained greater recognition, and built a national reputation for high-quality, intellectually engaging undergraduate education in a personalized and student-centered environment. The College competes successfully for strong students with excellent public and private colleges and universities across the Northeast. Retention rates (87% first year to second year) and graduation rates (73% for 6-year graduation rate) have steadily increased over the past decade, and three new initiatives are being piloted this year to further increase retention and completion.
New Paltz has more SUNY community colleges within a 45-mile radius than any other SUNY baccalaureate campus, and has a long tradition of serving transfer students. Each fall, while the College typically admits about 1,100 first-year students, it also welcomes 750 transfer students. Another 300-350 transfer students matriculate each spring. About half of each year’s graduating seniors came to New Paltz as transfers. Retention and graduation rates of transfer students are among the very highest in the SUNY system.
The College also has a robust and award-winning study abroad program that offers students the opportunity to study in 120 countries. New Paltz student participation in study abroad has increased from 14 percent in 2013 to 23 percent in 2016. In 2015, the College received the Heiskell Award from the Institute for International Education, recognizing its success in creating study abroad opportunities for economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented students.To support this effort, more than 90 New Paltz students have received a total of over $300,000 in Gilman Scholarships, an award that supports international study for students with limited financial needs. New Paltz has the most Gilman Scholars of any public institution in New York State.
New Paltz has a diverse faculty of distinguished scholars and artists who collaborate across the disciplines and professional areas to inspire students to a love of learning, a meaningful engagement with the life of the mind, and an involvement in public service. Approximately 350 full-time faculty and 300 part-time faculty support a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to one across six colleges: the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Science & Engineering, the School of Fine & Performing Arts, the School of Education, and The Graduate School. New Paltz has had a longstanding commitment to active, hands-on, collaborative, and inquiry based teaching and learning, and students’ individual needs are met through course offerings enriched by opportunities for independent study, research, self-designed majors, and high-impact teaching pedagogies. Course offerings have continued to expand and all students build upon a liberal arts core curriculum with the option to choose from nearly 100 majors is the liberal arts, the arts, the sciences, or a pre-professional offering.
SUNY New Paltz is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Association of Schools of Theatre, and is approved as a degree-granting institution by the Trustees of the State University of New York and the Regents of New York State. New Paltz recently underwent its mid-way progress visit from Middle States and received a positive preliminary report as it
prepares for its next review in 2016.
New Paltz students are academically talented, as well as passionate, vocal, and activist about the wide-ranging issues that are important to them. Since 2009, more than 40 percent of incoming first-year students have come from the highest selectivity group used by SUNY to assess student academic preparation. Nearly 75 percent of students were in the top quarter of their high school graduating class and the average high school grade point average for all degree-seeking, first-year students is 3.6. New Paltz students have a strong sense of school pride and truly value their education; they are hardworking and involved, and want to give back to the community and fight for the causes they believe in.
New Paltz has a strong commitment to diversity, inclusion, and the success of all members of its diverse student population. Current students come from 45 foreign countries and approximately 31 percent of undergraduate students and 18 percent of graduate students are from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups—figures that grow each year. The College’s student population is 62 percent female and 38 percent male. Nearly 80 percent of students apply for need-based aid and 28 percent of students are first-generation college students. The College has been recognized for high retention and graduation of students from historically underrepresented groups, which are well above state and national averages for both public and private institutions.
Budget and Finances
New Paltz’s endowment is approximately $19 million and the annual operating budget is approximately $100 million for 2016. Like all public colleges and universities, New Paltz has had to grapple with declining state funding. Since tuition revenue accounts for 75 percent of the College’s total operating budget, enrollment management is of key importance. Fortunately, undergraduate enrollment consistently meets its targets and tuition revenue in that area is sound. Graduate enrollments are declining, however, forcing the institution to operate in a resource-constrained environment.
Despite tight budgets, New Paltz places a high value on access and continues to be one of the most affordable institutions in the Northeast. Approximately 58 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $4,943. New Paltz is working to support additional scholarship funds and is entering its third year of a major gift initiative that aims to double its previous annual averages of private fund-raising to $10 million over three years. The College is on pace to achieve that goal, and is working to expand its engagement with alumni, friends, and donors.
Leadership and Governance
Donald P. Christian was appointed as the eighth President at the State University of New York at New Paltz in June 2011 after serving as Interim President during 2010-11. Previously, Christian served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the College for the 2009-2010 academic year. Prior to his arrival at New Paltz, Christian was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and served as Associate Dean for the Biological Sciences at the University of Montana. Christian is a member of the boards of directors of Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, and the Mohonk Preserve.
The President is advised by: the College Council (a group of 10 members, nine appointed by the Governor and one by students); a 24-member group of senior campus leaders; an approximately 120-member Administrative Council; and his Cabinet which includes: the Chief of Staff/Vice President for Communication, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Vice Presidents for Administration and Finance, Development and Alumni Relations, Enrollment Management, and Student Affairs.