The Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) would like to thank the Governor and members of the New York State Legislature for passing a budget under extraordinarily challenging conditions. The 2021 budget maintains mostly level funding for essential programs that are critical to APC students, including the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), Enhanced Tuition Awards Program (ETA) and Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). These resources ensure that many more students have access to academic opportunity.

This budget demonstrates New York State’s longstanding commitment to an affordable college education, despite the ongoing financial uncertainties during the COVID-19 pandemic. APC member colleges educate some 26,000 students across the state, and programs like TAP and ETA are essential for many underrepresented groups seeking higher education as a means to a better life. Ensuring continued access to these programs will be especially important as people across the country face unemployment, furloughs and uncertain job prospects in the months ahead.

APC member colleges, like their peers in the public and independent sectors of higher ed, are not immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and have done their best to maintain stability for their students and employees.  Working through the COVID-19 pandemic together; APC and its member colleges have met these challenges head on in the following ways:

  • The Association is working closely with the US Department of Education, New York State Education Department and Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) to offer insights on guidance and ensure timely information and direction flows to New York State’s proprietary sector.
  • All APC member colleges voluntarily ended in-person classes and transitioned quickly to distance learning. All of our member colleges worked diligently to provide as seamless a transition as possible for their students, and many had existing systems in place to immediately begin offering classes online.
  • APC member institutions continue to focus on the success of their students encouraging them with individual outreach. Many APC member colleges have provided laptops, emergency funding for living expenses and worked with their students to ensure they have the support needed to complete their current classes.
  • Most APC member colleges have announced that they will cancel graduations or postpone them until the fall. While we realize this is a disappointment for our graduating students who have worked so hard, we all must work together and sacrifice for the greater good.
  • As vital organizations within their communities, APC member colleges have stepped up and donated medical supplies or hosted events like blood drives. They are also contributing in other less obvious ways. Many of our member colleges offer degrees in criminal justice and nursing, and their graduates are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response serving the stricken and ensuring the safety of their fellow citizens.

Those graduates are well prepared for their jobs because APC member colleges have strong academic outcomes. A few of the many indicators demonstrating those outcomes include

having the highest on-time graduation rate for full-time students earning associate level degrees across all sectors of higher education in New York State, devoting the highest percentage (93 percent) of their expenses to educational instruction and student supports and services and having the lowest average student loan debt compared to statewide and national averages, ($22,357 for APC members / $30,931 NY average / $28,650 national average).

From donating supplies to preparing the front line professionals, APC member colleges are engaged in the COVID response in many ways. However, this pandemic is straining every aspect of life in New York State, and it is testing the strength of our communities. As we continue wading through these unchartered waters, APC member colleges will continue to serve their students to the highest standards possible and will work with state and local officials to get through this trying time together.