Skip to Main Content

The history of family founded education in New York began in the middle 1800s and is rooted in the tradition of providing access to quality education. Six of our twelve-member colleges were founded more than 100 years ago and our oldest members, Bryant & Stratton College, founded in 1854 and Jamestown Business College, founded in 1886 are still operating successfully today. Many other private institutions were established in the first half of the 20th century; The College of Westchester was founded in 1915, Plaza College was founded in 1916, Monroe College was founded in 1933 and LIM College was founded in 1939.

In 1971, the New York State Board of Regents created a pathway for select private schools to obtain degree-granting authority. In order to obtain degree granting authority, private colleges are required to meet all of the same stringent requirements for program registration and approval as SUNY, CUNY, and private not-for-profit institutions. LIM College and Monroe College were among the first private institutions to receive degree granting authority in 1972 and today continue to successfully educate thousands of students each year.

In 1978, the presidents of Albany Business College, Monroe College, Rochester Business Institute, Utica School of Commerce and the Wood School formed the New York’s Association of Private Degree-Granting Institutions. The name of the organization was later changed to the Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) to better reflect the nature of the Association’s members. The name was then changed again in 2023 to the Association of Private Colleges. The new name reflects the changing nature of higher education and the proprietary sector and better represents the 12 privately held, primarily family-founded institutions that make up the APC membership. 

Today, members of APC serve students year-round, granting degrees in more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs, including a variety of comprehensive online programs.

APC member colleges also are strong financial engines for New York’s economy and part of the state’s workforce solution because we identify the needs of employers and adjust or develop curriculum to meet those needs. Our member colleges help employers throughout the state build their futures by turning out qualified graduates who are prepared to make an immediate contribution to the workplace.

From business administration to computer programming, health care to visual arts, students attending APC member colleges are offered degree programs in many traditional and emerging fields, including law enforcement, computer animation and the business of fashion.

Access to the latest techniques, technology and relevant curriculum provides students attending APC member colleges with the advantage they need to succeed in today’s competitive work environment.