The Many Myths Associated With Student Debt


The Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) recently released the third in a series of postcards challenging a number of myths spread about the degree-granting proprietary sector of higher education in New York. The third message challenges the myth that proprietary colleges saddle students with excessive debt.

“Graduation is ultimately the key to success for our students,” said Donna Gurnett, president and CEO of APC. “Having a degree helps students find good jobs and repay their student loans. In fact, recent studies show that loan borrowers who struggle the most to repay their loans are often non-completers.”

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Education, student borrowers who do not complete a degree default on their student loans at a rate of almost three times higher than borrowers who earned a degree.

“APC member colleges believe on-time graduation is important and key to keeping student loan debt low, said Gurnett. “Many of our members offer a 12-credit, three-semester model that encourages students to attend year-round and reach graduation sooner.”

Gurnett also noted that APC members offer their students exceptional support such as financial literacy training, career counseling and small class size. This individualized attention translates into more students successfully graduating on time with lower student debt overall.

In the 2015-16 academic year, APC member colleges provided more than $92 million in grants, scholarships and institutional aid to their students.

During this legislative session in Albany, APC members are urging lawmakers to:

• Increase the maximum Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) award to $6,500 annually;
• Expand the TAP income threshold from $80,000 to $100,000;
• Reinstate TAP for graduate students; and
• Expand eligibility to the proposed Excelsior Scholarship program, allowing students attending APC member colleges to participate.

“APC member colleges have a long-standing record of achievement and we look forward to working with policymakers and lawmakers to ensure all of New York’s students are granted the opportunity to succeed,” Gurnett said.

The Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) represents 14 fully accredited, degree granting colleges operating on 25 college campuses in New York state offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. Member colleges are located across the state from Buffalo, to Long Island, Jamestown to Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and the entire NYC metropolitan area. There are more than 50,000 students enrolled in proprietary colleges throughout New York state and APC member colleges serve more than 35,000 of these students.

Members of APC include:

• Berkeley College
• Bryant & Stratton College
• The College of Westchester
• Elmira Business Institute
• Five Towns College
• Island Drafting & Technical Institute
• Jamestown Business College
• LIM College
• Monroe College
• New York Career Institute
• Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
• Plaza College
• School of Visual Arts (SVA)
• The Swedish Institute

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