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ALBANY, NY- Donna Stelling-Gurnett, President and CEO of the Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) delivered testimony today at the New York State Legislature’s Joint Budget Hearing on Higher Education. In her testimony, Stelling-Gurnett thanked the Legislature for its continued support of programs like TAP, which is vital to many of the 26,000 students that APC member colleges educate. She went on to highlight what APC member colleges did to help their students through the pandemic as well as several data points that demonstrate the strong academic outcomes that the colleges’ students continue to produce.

Consider the following data:

  • According to NYSED 2018 data 49% of Black/African American students at NYS’s proprietary colleges graduated on time with a Bachelor’s Degree. This is higher than any other sector in NYS! (SUNY – 47.5%; CUNY - 17.6% and Non-Profit Institutions – 40%)
  • APC member colleges believe on-time graduation is the key to keeping student loan debt low. According to recently released College Scorecard data, students graduating from APC member colleges accumulate an average of $22,357 in student loan debt. This is significantly lower than the average student loan debt of New York residents of $30,931. 

“APC like our peers in the public and independent sectors of higher education, were not immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and went to great measures to maintain stability for their students, faculty and staff,” said Stelling-Gurnett. “Over the past several months, the pandemic has laid bare the inequity that existed for minority and low-income students and their ongoing financial needs are significant.  Many are struggling with homelessness, food insecurities, childcare needs or caring for other family members.  This means that state aid programs such as TAP and ETA are especially critical now.”

She went on to add: “New York State is facing a tight fiscal environment this year, however, we feel it is important to advocate for expansion of the TAP program. Increasing the minimum or maximum TAP award or increasing the maximum income threshold would help ensure that students most impacted by COVID-19 can continue their educations.”

APC legislative priorities include:

  • Increase the minimum TAP award from $500 to $1,000 and/or the maximum TAP award from $5,165 to $6,000 annually.
  • Increase the maximum net taxable income (NTI) threshold to receive a TAP award from $80,000 to $110,000 annually.
  • Reinstate Graduate TAP.
  • Restore Maximum TAP Awards for Two-Year Degree Programs.