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Colleges Urge Pols to ‘tap’ Into the Future

Say Tuition Aid Builds Better Students

More than 100 students, faculty and administrators from New York’s degree-granting proprietary colleges told lawmakers in Albany last Wednesday, Mar. 7, that the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is both a smart investment in the state’s future and a vehicle that allows New Yorkers to maintain access to higher education.

In highlighting their message, delegates representing New York’s Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) thanked lawmakers for rejecting deep cuts to TAP in recent years, and acknowledged their support of the governor’s proposed 2012-13 budget, which maintains TAP at current levels.

However, APC delegates reminded lawmakers that in 2010, students enrolled in colleges that only offer two-year degrees had their TAP awards slashed by 20 percent. As a result the maximum award went from $5,000 to $4,000. The reduction impacted thousands of students, some of whom need TAP the most.

“APC college students earn associate degrees at a rate that is 55.4 percent higher than the statewide average for students completing their degrees in two years,” said Stephen Jerome, APC board chairman and president of Monroe College in the Bronx and New Rochelle. “We are asking lawmakers to consider reversing the reductions they approved in 2010 because of its negative impact on many of the state’s neediest students.”

TAP helps economically disadvantaged students attend college, including single parents, working men and women, and minorities. Many of these students have the academic qualifications to attend college, but TAP gives them the financial means. For many students, entering the higher education pipeline through two-year degree granting programs is their only option.

The delegation told legislators that APC member colleges continue to produce significant positive outcomes, including:

– APC students earn associate degrees at a rate of 55.4 percent higher than the statewide averages for students completing their degree requirements in two years.

– For first-time students pursuing bachelor’s degrees, graduation rates at APC colleges exceed the statewide college average by more than 8 percent.

– At APC colleges, students who previously struggled in the classroom excel-graduating at a rate nearly two times better than other New York State colleges.

– From 2005 through 2009, tuition at APC colleges remained affordable- on average, a savings of more than 40 percent from a private, fouryear college.

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