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Paul Smith’s College merges with educational nonprofit

Aaron Cerbone, Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Posted 9/2/22

Paul Smith’s College is in the midst of a large-scale merger with the nonprofit organization Fedcap Group.

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Paul Smith’s College merges with educational nonprofit

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PAUL SMITHS — Paul Smith’s College is in the midst of a large-scale merger with the nonprofit organization Fedcap Group, a merger that recently-appointed college President Nicholas Hunt-Bull hopes will bolster Paul Smith’s academic and financial situation as the college evolves.

This partnership, if approved by the college’s accreditors, would involve the college sharing revenue with Fedcap; Fedcap providing the college with technological upgrades, financial stability and new programs; and potentially, the college developing satellite campuses outside of the Adirondack Park.

Before he resigned in April, former Paul Smith’s College President Scott Dalrymple sent an email to PSC employees about the planned merger.

“Only one ‘brand’ tends to survive such mergers,” Dalrymple wrote, saying these mergers also often lead to layoffs. But he said partnering with Fedcap will allow the college to keep its brand, its employees and its name.

What will working with Fedcap look like? Hunt-Bull says it could mean the opening of Paul Smith’s College branch campuses around the state or country — like a culinary center in New York City, or a natural science center in Rochester. State schools tend to have several campuses, but it is less common for private colleges.

Hunt-Bull said this partnership is an unanticipated growth for the college, but the board of trustees has speculated for years about a Paul Smith’s College center in New York City. He hopes that working with Fedcap will give the college the finances, infrastructure and real estate to make that possible.

Fedcap is a $365 million operation which owns land in Manhattan, he said. The two organizations have similar missions, Hunt-Bull added. The college’s mission is to use education to make students successful, according to Hunt-Bull, and Fedcap’s is to help disadvantaged people get out of poverty.

While most Harvard students would be fine whether or not they got a degree, he said, most Paul Smith’s College students are looking to climb socially.

“Our goal is to eradicate poverty,” Fedcap CEO Christine McMahon said in a statement.

Fedcap proposes that getting people over societal barriers to reach economic well-being can be done through increasing access to education, graduation and job creation for “underserved communities.”

These communities include “children and adults with disabilities, veterans, youth transitioning from foster care, individuals on public assistance, those struggling with mental illness, individuals recovering from substance use disorders, older workers and the justice involved,” according to the Fedcap website.

A portion of Paul Smith’s College revenue would go to Fedcap and Fedcap would take on providing services for the college in return.

Asked to elaborate on the college’s current financial standing, a Paul Smith’s College representative deferred answering until the college completes its census, sometime next week.

Fedcap would also get to fill out its portfolio by providing college-level education.

Paul Smith’s College is the first higher education institution Fedcap is working with.

Fedcap has locations in 22 states, England, Scotland and Canada. It has 3,500 employees who serve 250,000 people annually and has an annual budget of $365 million, according to an email about the merger.

Hunt-Bull said Fedcap discloses its finances publicly twice per year.

Hunt-Bull said he is confident this merger will make Paul Smith’s College stronger. He said it should expand PSC’s reach, help it attain financial security, grow enrollment, expand programs and expand its IT capacity with lots of back-office software.

Paul Smith’s College is a small, basic operation, he said. Fedcap has state-of-the-art business software.

The college is waiting for approval from its state and federal accreditors, which Hunt-Bull says he expects to happen in November.

They cannot formally
collaborate or merge until the college is guaranteed to keep its accreditation.

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