Trustees | General Education

Report gives low marks to NY colleges for liberal arts

POST STAR   |  November 22, 2016 by Micahel Goot

A new report criticized New York colleges and universities for allowing students to graduate without taking many classes in liberal arts.

More than two-third of the institutions earned a “C” or lower, according to the latest What Will They Learn? Report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

Siena College received a “C.” The College of Saint Rose, Skidmore College, the University at Albany and Union College received “D” grades. Russell Sage College and the Sage College of Albany received a grade of “F.”

The report graded the institutions on whether they required courses in composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. history, economics, mathematics and science in order to graduate. A score of “F.” means the college or university requires zero or one of the courses in this area. In addition, only 11 percent of the institutions require U.S. history or government and only 3 percent require economics, according to a news release. Nearly two-thirds do not require a course in literature and only 12 of the schools require foreign language.

Only 25 college and universities in the country received grades of A. The U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. merchant Marine Academy were the only institutions in New York state. About 32 percent earned a “C.”

“New York has been the birthplace of some of the nation’s greatest literary and historical figures, but students who attend college there today may never learn about them” said Dr. Michael B. Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in a news release. “Despite the fine reputations of New York State’s many public and private liberal arts institutions, too many are neglecting core subjects that provide students a strong foundation for career and citizenship. New York students and parents should take note as they make important decisions about college choice.”


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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