December 20, 2012
APSCU Urges Congressional Cooperation to Help the 4 Million Students They Serve
Reaches out to Senator Durbin in response to recent criticisms
Washington, D.C. – In a letter dated December 18, 2013, Steve Gunderson, President and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, reached out to Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to again offer his “help and support in working…to find common ground in helping to better serve the more than 4 million Americans enrolled at private sector colleges and universities in every part of the country.” The letter was in response to a December 13, 2013 op-ed in Roll Call newspaper wherein Senator Durbin criticized the sector.
In the letter, Gunderson notes that “94 percent of our students are eligible for student financial aid. As a result, our students do receive approximately 25 percent of all federal aid to education. Yet, we represent only 18 percent of loan dollars in forbearance, and 24 percent of loans in default.” Gunderson goes on to point out that these default rates are declining due to active loan counseling and management among private sector schools.
The letter goes on to inform Sen. Durbin that private sector colleges and universities are supplying a marketplace that has a growing need for skilled and trained workers in order to achieve 21st Century global competitiveness. Gunderson points to a new report showing that by 2020, there will be 50 million jobs available – 23 million new jobs and 32 million replacements for retiring baby boomers — and 65 percent of all jobs will require some level of postsecondary education and skills.
“Our sector has long recognized there exists a deficit in the area of worker proficiency in high-demand industries, and sought to provide a skills-based education with outcomes and job opportunities in mind. If we – as a nation – are going to meet the projected demand for educated workers over the course of the next decade, we must recognize the important role that private sector colleges and universities play in providing specialized training and instruction,” wrote Gunderson.
The letter closed noting that APSCU has reached out the Obama administration as well on this matter and will continue “this dialogue with our colleagues and anyone else who is interested in working to address the significant issues of access, education and skills, rising debt, and ultimately jobs that create upward mobility and a new generation of middle class citizens.”