Students Tell Lawmakers that TAP Increases Access to College and is the Only Chance to Succeed for Many

More than 100 students, faculty and administrators from New York’s degree-granting proprietary colleges today donned blue backpacks as they made their way around the state Capitol encouraging lawmakers to join them in celebrating 40 years of TAP by ensuring it is available to all students who need it – even students attending two-year degree granting colleges.

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 2014-15 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 reduced by 20 percent. As a result the maximum award went from $5,000 to $4,000. The reduction has impacted thousands of students, some of whom need TAP the most.

“TAP helps economically disadvantaged students attend college,” said Donna Stelling-Gurnett, executive director of APC. “Single parents, working men and women, minorities – these students have the academic qualifications to attend college, but TAP gives them the financial means. For them we ask lawmakers to consider reversing the reductions they approved in 2010 because of its negative impact on many of the state’s neediest students.”

Today’s visit is part of a sustained effort to educate lawmakers about APC’s membership. On average, APC’s 25 member colleges have been operating, educating and preparing students for more than 80 years. They employ 6,500 dedicated educators and professionals, and serve more than 45,000 students across the state. In recent years, APC Colleges have awarded students more than $123 million in scholarships and aid.

“For many students, entering the higher education pipeline through a two-year degree granting program is their only opportunity,” said Stelling-Gurnett. “This year, let’s celebrate 40 years of TAP and restore the TAP reduction and truly provide all students with a chance to succeed.”