ALBANY, NY- Donna Stelling-Gurnett, President and CEO of The Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) presented testimony today at the Legislature’s Joint Budget Hearing on Higher Education in which she identified the negative impact and consequences of Governor Cuomo’s “For-Profit College Accountability Act” proposal will have on 26,000 students enrolled in the degree-granting proprietary sector.

In her testimony, she noted that if enacted the proposal would decimate the for-profit sector (both degree granting and non-degree) entirely. She additionally highlighted APC member colleges’ strong academic outcomes such as on-time associate degree graduation rates being higher than other sectors, number of degrees conferred, job placement rates and the lower than average student debt.

Among the most problematic elements of the Cuomo accountability proposal are requiring for profit schools to:

  • Report their funding sources and demonstrating that they are not receiving more than 80 percent of their tuition revenues from public sources, including need based student financial aid programs such as TAP, ETA and Pell as well as student loans backed by the federal government; and
  • Spend at least 50 percent of their revenues on student instruction. This does not take into account student academic support programs and personnel wrap around services that help to ensure students successfully graduate on time and find jobs in their field of study.

“These two issues are flawed and unfairly punitive to the students attending APC member colleges, many of whom are first generation college students – such as “dreamers,” of modest-income, single parents or veterans,” Gurnett said. “Pathways and progress toward a college degree for these students will not simply be blunted – but more directly their opportunities and college choices denied.”

“As difficult as this proposal will be for the faculty, staff and communities of our member colleges, the students will be the most severely harmed,” said Gurnett. “These students considered all of their options and chose a college that best met their needs academically, personally and professionally.”

Based on an analysis of the current proposal, colleges failing to meet the metrics will be unable to enroll new students and existing students may lose access to TAP ad ETA awards.

This means students will have to figure out how to transfer, finance their education (without the benefit of $95 million in institutional aid), and for many who struggle, this will result in them not finishing their degree or returning to college. Students unable to complete their degrees also have a higher rate of defaulting on their college loans.

APC commends Governor Cuomo for his efforts to improve college access and affordability in New York. It is that commitment to access and affordability that makes this proposal seem so incongruous with past actions such as allowing students attending APC member colleges to access New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and Enhanced Tuition Awards (ETA) initiative.

Link to Testimony HereLink to Testimony Here

Link to Fast Facts Here