ALBANY, NY- Donna Stelling-Gurnett, President and CEO of The Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) presented testimony today at the Legislature’s Joint Budget Hearing on Higher Education. She asked legislators to expand the Enhanced Tuition Assistance (ETA) program to include the 50,000 students attending the State’s proprietary colleges.
APC members appreciate the unwavering support from the Legislature regarding the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and are extremely grateful there were no proposed cuts to TAP this year. However, as the cost of higher education continues to increase, more students from low-and middle-income families could benefit from the assistance offered through the TAP program if it were expanded.
Under last year’s budget, the Legislature appropriated funding and created the Enhanced Tuition Assistance Program (ETA) that would provide additional financial support for students attending the State’s private colleges. APC enthusiastically supported the ETA, but a drafting error in the final budget language excluded their students from the crucial funding. Legislation was quickly drafted and passed to fix the error, but Governor Cuomo vetoed the measure and the ETA was implemented without including students attending the state’s private proprietary colleges. This year, Stelling-Gurnett is respectfully asking the Legislature for their support in allowing their students to benefit from the program.
“By barring students attending proprietary colleges from receiving ETA awards, New York State is denying educational opportunities for thousands of people who are working to better themselves, build careers, and support their families,” she said.
With 90 percent of the students enrolled in proprietary colleges residing in New York and choosing to stay here after graduation, the state can’t afford to miss the opportunity to make the changes necessary to include these students in the ETA.