SUNY-Geneseo was one of the first schools that I visited after founding Educated Quest. It has often appeared on ‘Best Buy’ and ‘Best Value’ lists constructed by the education press. It has frequently ranked second to the College of New Jersey among public colleges in US News’ Regional Public Universities-North. I have also listed SUNY-Geneseo as a ‘Public Ivy’ school, combining value for the money with repeated success at retaining and graduating its freshman classes. I revisited the data about SUNY-Geneseo and decided to write an update as well as update the Pinterest page.
With around 5,500 undergraduates, SUNY-Geneseo ranks third among mid-sized public colleges, behind only The College of William and Mary (VA) and The College of New Jersey, in terms of its successes at graduating a class. Among members of the class that entered SUNY-Geneseo in 2010, just over 70 percent finished in four years. Sixty-eight percent of the class that entered the following year graduated on time. This is excellent for a public college of any size.
SUNY-Geneseo also has several strengths.
- It’s one of the best values in American higher education. New York residents who must pay are charged less than $8,300 in tuition and fees, and the state has some generous scholarship and grant programs. Non-residents are assessed less than $19,000.
- The college is in a college town setting; no SUNY flagship university center (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo or Stony Brook) is in a community that is as aesthetically pleasing.
- The sciences are tough, but the rewards are tremendous for those who succeed.
- Housing, whether on or off campus, is more affordable than it is at many other colleges.
- The college also has student affairs practices, notably the GOLD program, that similar schools should study.
Recently, SUNY-Geneseo has become a college with more achievable admissions. The number of applicants has declined while the number of incoming freshmen has gone up.
In 2012, the college accepted less than half (46 percent) of the 9,100 students who applied to join the freshman class of just over 1,000 students. In 2017, it accepted 72 percent of the nearly 8,800 students who applied to join a freshman class of more than 1,300. The yield rate, the percentage of students who decided to enroll, dropped from 24 to 21 percent. The mean SAT for the class that entered in 2011 was 1330 for the Old SAT, which concords to a 1390 on the New SAT. The mean for the class that entered in 2017 was a 1230 on the New SAT.
And while SUNY-Geneseo became less selective, freshman retention also declined. Ninety percent of the freshmen who arrived in 2011 returned for their sophomore year. This dropped to 86 percent for the class that entered in 2016, even though the class was significantly larger.
That led me to wonder if the resources have been stretched too thin to handle larger freshman and sophomore classes. The student/faculty ratio, as one example, is 19 to 1, comparable to a much larger state university that relies more on doctoral students to help with the teaching. Other resources towards other services might not have grown along with the undergraduate student body.
No state, especially one as large as New York, can have too many good public colleges and universities. SUNY-Geneseo has been the best mid-sized option in the Empire State, and one of the best in America, for some time. But it needs to have the resources to remain that way, especially if it wants to serve more undergraduate students.
Report Card: SUNY-Geneseo
- 4-Year/6-Year Graduation Rates: A/A
- Freshman Retention: B+
- Costs: A
- Curriculum: A
- Community: B+
- Comforts: B+
- Connections: B+/A for Upstate New York
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