Student Life

How Hunter Students Can Take Classes at Any CUNY College

A CUNY advertisement for a flexible and diverse degree program seen on a 6 subway train.

When Anna Boers, a senior Macaulay Honors Biological Sciences major at Hunter College, was looking to fulfill her Anatomy and Physiology class requirement, she landed at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in lower Manhattan instead of the Upper East Side.

She took advantage of the City University of New York’s e-permit policy, which authorizes students to register for classes at a different CUNY campus to avoid waitlists or full seats at their host colleges.

“It’s definitely more of an opportunity for students that aren’t able to take classes at their home campus to be able to fulfill their requirements,” said Boers. “Or to just take classes that they’re interested in somewhere else.”

With over 225,000 students enrolled at colleges across the five boroughs, the e-permit connects CUNY students with opportunities beyond the walls of their home colleges.

During a typical semester, the Office of the Registrar receives 500 to 700 requests for an e-permit from Hunter students, primarily from those in the STEM fields, namely Human Biology, Chemistry, and Computer Science. Hunter also receives about 200 requests from students at other CUNY colleges that select Hunter as their host college for a course.

“I feel like students don’t e-permit unless they have to,” said Boers. “There’s also the down-low kind of thing that people will e-permit because classes are easier at other campuses.”

But the Registrar’s Office said their purpose is to support students in making sure they are administratively, financially and academically eligible for enrolling in classes at host campuses, regardless of their underlying motivations.

“We can’t force a student to take a course here if they want to take it somewhere else,” said Bibi Baksh, an enrollment registrar coordinator at Hunter. “It’s a system to help students get to where they’re going and break down barriers that might be stopping them from graduating.”

Alanna Fields, a junior Biochemistry major, fulfilled her honors requirement with an e-permit for Central Asian Film and Literature class offered at Macaulay Honors College.

“I could have taken one at Hunter, but I decided to do it through Macaulay because it just seemed different from the ones that were offered at Hunter,” said Fields. “I’m so deep into the science part of the Hunter that I don’t get to take more cultural classes like that.”

While e-permits are typically utilized out of necessity for degree requirements, another CUNY program allows interested students to be part of a larger university beyond their home campus.

Emma DeGroff is a senior double majoring in Social Justice and Performing Arts through the CUNY BA Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies. She learned about the program from an Art Curation major during her sophomore year, and applied that same night.

“I was like, ‘I know that this is for me,’” said DeGroff. “Because I just had so many interests and Hunter wasn’t necessarily giving me the easiest path to pursue all of them.”

The CUNY BA program allows students to design their own personalized degrees and e-permit to attend classes at any senior CUNY college to satisfy their self-selected requirements.

Hunter College and Brooklyn College are the biggest feeder schools to the program, according to Peter Altman, admissions coordinator for CUNY BA. For the Spring 2024 semester, CUNY BA received the most applications from students claiming Hunter as their home campus, compared to all other CUNY schools.

“It gives students a great deal of flexibility in pursuing what they want to pursue,” said Altman. “And it gives them the opportunity to work with a faculty mentor and also supervision to make sure they’re doing this within appropriate academic guidelines.”

For Hunter students grappling with underwhelming buildings and waitlists for class registration, CUNY offers alternatives for class enrollment that makes the entire city one, large campus.

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