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Paul Smith’s College merges with non-profit educational association | News, Sports, Jobs

PAUL SMITHS — Paul Smith’s College is in the process of a large-scale merger with the non-profit organization Fedcap Group, a merger that recently appointed college president Nicholas Hunt-Bull says will strengthen the academic and financial position of Paul Smith as the college evolves.

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

Before stepping down in April, former Paul Smith’s College president Scott Dalrymple emailed PSC employees about the planned merger.

“A single ‘brand’ tends to survive such mergers”, Dalrymple wrote, saying these mergers often result in layoffs. But he said the partnership with Fedcap will allow the college to retain its brand, employees and name.

What will working with Fedcap look like? Hunt-Bull says that could mean Paul Smith’s College opening branch campuses around the state or country, such as a culinary center in New York or a natural science center in Rochester. Public schools usually have multiple campuses, but this is less common for private colleges.

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

Fedcap is a $365 million operation that owns land in Manhattan, he said.

Both organizations have similar missions, Hunt-Bull added. The college’s mission is to use education to help students succeed, according to Hunt-Bull, and Fedcap is to help disadvantaged people lift themselves out of poverty.

While most Harvard students would be fine whether they graduated or not, he said, most students at Paul Smith’s College are looking to uplift themselves socially.

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

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

These communities include “children and adults with disabilities, veterans, youth leaving foster care, people on public assistance, people with mental illness, people recovering from mental illness ‘substance use, 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 in turn provide services to the college.

Asked to elaborate on the college’s current financial situation, a representative from Paul Smith’s College delayed responding until the college completes its census next week.

Fedcap could also supplement its portfolio by offering a college-level education. Paul Smith’s College is the first higher education institution with which Fedcap works.

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

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

Hunt-Bull said he was confident the merger would strengthen Paul Smith’s College. He said he should expand the reach of PSC, help it achieve financial security, increase enrollment, expand programs, and expand its IT capacity with lots of back-office software.

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

The college is awaiting 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 maintain its accreditation.

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