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New York high school seniors who participated in a City University of New York system mentoring program were seven percentage points more likely to enroll in college, according to a new study by the system’s Office of Applied Research, Evaluation and Data Analytics. The student participants enrolled in CUNY and non-CUNY colleges and universities.

The College and Career Bridge for All program started as a pilot in 2017 as a partnership between CUNY and the New York City Public Schools. All public high school seniors in the state became eligible in 2020 in response to the pandemic. The program connects seniors with trained college student mentors who help them with enrollment, financial aid paperwork and course registration, among other tasks. The mentors reach out to students via text, email and social media and at virtual meetings over the summer, and students who don’t enroll that fall can participate in a winter version of the program. The program is funded to support high school seniors from the classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The study of 53,000 seniors who participated in the program in 2020 found enrollment gains were most sizable for Black and Hispanic students and students from low-income neighborhoods. Black students in the program had an eight-percentage-point increase in enrollment. and Hispanic students had a nine-percentage-point increase, compared to white students, who had a six-percentage-point increase, according to a CUNY press release.

“This study highlights how much of a difference it makes for NYC Public School seniors to get help with college admissions, enrollment and financial aid, particularly when the help comes from peer mentors—college students who have gone through the process themselves not too long ago,” CUNY chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said in the release.