As President and CEO of the Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) I would like to congratulate Joe Biden on his election as the 46th president of the United States. On behalf of the 12 degree-granting colleges in New York State that comprise the APC membership, we extend our most sincere wishes for success to the President-elect and Vice President-elect as they begin the process of assuming office in January, 2021.

These are extraordinarily challenging times for our country, however in times of uncertainty there is great opportunity. President-elect Biden remarked, “But now, let's give each other a chance. It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again.” Those words are ever-so important at this moment in history. We hope that our elected officials and fellow citizens can look past our differences and find a common ground that allows us to move forward together rather than apart. 

APC is fully committed to working with the Biden administration on issues that affect the 26,000 students we educate in New York. We have a strong record of accomplishment educating low-income and minority students, however we know that there is always more that can be done.

With stubbornly high unemployment and many sectors of the economy still being ravaged by COVID, a good education is more important than ever to our students who are seeking skills that that will lead to good jobs. We are fully committed to working with the Biden administration and Congress as we seek to recover from the pandemic and move forward as a nation.

A report recently released by the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), titled “Unequal Burden: Black Borrowers and the Student Loan Debt Crisis” points out some troubling statistics related to college completion, debt and income disparities among Black New Yorkers. While the report makes many valid and important points, it also portrays an inaccurate and misleading assessment of New York’s proprietary college sector in an effort to support their position.

Consider the following:

  • On-time Graduation Rates for Black Students: The proprietary (for-profit) sector has the highest on-time Bachelor degree graduation rate for Black, Non-Hispanic students when compared to SUNY, CUNY, and the non-profit sector. When comparing Bachelor degree on-time graduation rates for Black, Non-Hispanic students, the NY proprietary sector has a 49% graduation rate compared to 17.6% for CUNY; 40% non-profit sector; and 47.5% SUNY. Data source:  NYS Education Department, 2018 data
  • College Affordability: In the 2017/2018 academic year, average tuition at APC member institutions increased less than 2 percent and our member colleges provided more than $95 million in institutional aid to their students.
  • Keeping student loan debt low: According to recently released College Scorecard data, students graduating from APC member colleges accumulate an average of just $22,357 in student loan debt. This is significantly lower than the average student loan debt of New York residents of $30,931 and the national average of $28,650.
  • Cohort Default Rates: The U.S. Department of Education recently released the 2015 three-year Cohort Default Rates (CDR). Recent studies show that student loan borrowers who struggle the most to repay their loans are often non-completers. In fact, 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. The average default rate for APC member colleges is 10.89 percent. This is considerably lower than the national average for the proprietary sector of 15.6% in FY 2015 and in line with U.S. averages for all sectors at 10.8%.

Monroe College, an APC member located in the poorest congressional district in the country, was noted in the report as one of the top five colleges in New York City for educating Black students (as a percentage of enrollment). Also cited for its for positive degree completion rates, Monroe has a strong and proud history of improving college access, affordability, and attainment for students often under-represented and underserved elsewhere across higher education. The College is routinely recognized for its success educating and graduating minority and low-income students.  

The Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) represents twelve degree-granting colleges in New York State. APC member colleges are committed to their students’ success by offering a high quality, affordable education. Visit the APC website ( to learn more and get the facts about New York’s degree-granting proprietary sector. 


On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) President/CEO Donna S. Gurnett, testified before the New York State Senate and Assembly Standing Committees on Higher Education. The purpose of the hearing was to examine the impact COVID-19 has had on higher education institutions, students, faculty and staff during the Spring 2020 semester and will have on the upcoming 2020-21 academic year. APC was one of only a small group who participated in the session that included SUNY, CUNY, HESC and CICU and a few others. Ms. Gurnett highlighted the creative and resourceful ways in which APC member colleges responded to COVID while also reminding the committee members of our students strong academic outcomes and the need for continued support of TAP and ETA.

The Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) and its member colleges are committed to transparency and accountability in education and, most of all, to ensuring the success of our students. The COVID-19 pandemic has created tremendous challenges for all colleges and students. In an effort to support their students through this difficult time, APC member colleges accessed Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) through the CARES Act. In keeping with our ongoing commitment to both our students and transparency, APC member colleges posted all of the information required by the U.S. Department of Education on their websites. APC has compiled all of the member colleges’ HEERF information links on one page so that students, staff, and any interested parties could quickly and easily access that information. APC and its member colleges have a long history of academic success in New York State. As one of the three sectors of higher education in NY, APC, like our public and independent peers will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies to ensure transparency and accountability for our students.

The Association of Proprietary Colleges (APC) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reject the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA. APC is committed to helping all students of diverse backgrounds, including undocumented students, pursue a better life through education.

APC is a longstanding supporter of policies that increase the likelihood of student success, with several APC member colleges offering unique support services, special student financial aid programs, and educational opportunities designed for students who are undocumented. APC member colleges have been repeatedly recognized for providing students with academic and wrap-around supports that meet students’ unique needs, help students graduate on time, and guide them towards meaningful careers. 

APC believes supporting all students, regardless of background, is critical to advancing America’s workforce and society.