The City University of New York provides education for approximately 500,000 students across 24 campuses in the New York City area, according to CUNY. CUNY provides undergraduate and graduate education, as well as research and professional schools. CUNY consists of community colleges and senior colleges.
CUNY serves degree-seeking students as well as those interested in further adult education. CUNY was originally founded in 1847 as the Free Academy by Townsend Harris, who wanted to form a school that would serve New York's rich and poor alike. A second college, now known as Hunter College, was later built for the education of teachers. New York City experienced a massive influx of immigrants in the early 20th century, which soon led to the building of additional campuses. Soldiers returning from World War II led to another rise in students, which saw the rise of more community colleges. CUNY was officially established in 1961 by the state legislature, and at the time had seven campuses. Since then, further increases in demand have led to CUNY now having a total of 24 campuses across the city of New York. Admission is selective for the senior colleges in CUNY, while the community colleges still have general admission.