Pending approvals from regulators, the college could combine with New York City-based Fedcap Group
By Chloe Bennett
Since 1946, hundreds of students have sought higher education at Paul Smith’s College each year in the Adirondacks. Now, the college is hoping to increase the number of enrollees through a merger with conglomerate nonprofit, Fedcap Group.
The merger is awaiting approval from regulators, including the New York State Education Department, said Interim President Nicholas Hunt-Bull, who has been with the college for seven years. He said he hopes the combination will be completed before December.
“I really don’t think anyone in the community should be concerned except in the sense that there’s some uncertainty and we can’t be absolutely sure how certain things are gonna come,” Hunt-Bull said.
The college, also a nonprofit organization, relies on tuition payments to keep afloat. But bringing students to the Adirondacks to complete a degree has proven to be difficult, Hunt-Bull said. Details of how the merger would mutually benefit the parties and how it would work is unclear. Fedcap was unavailable on Thursday.
The deal should allow the college to offer some of its programs in other markets, such as providing the school’s culinary instruction to Fedcap’s New York City network, Hunt-Bull said.
“Honestly, if we were really trying to survive on our current population of young adults, who were willing to live here for four years, that would be pretty bleak,” he said. “It’s really good news that we’re trying to find a way to serve some new populations and then continue to be able to serve the people we do now in the region.”
New York City-based Fedcap would become the corporate parent, Hunt-Bull said, with departments such as information technology, human resources and finance potentially moving under the company’s management. But the college does not expect layoffs as a result of the merger.
As of 2020, Paul Smith’s College was operating with a deficit of $594,999, according to tax filings. With the completion of the merger, Hunt-Bull said the college could see an increase in students reaching closer to 1,200, the campus’ capacity. This year’s enrollment number is between 600 and 700.
Offering more programs for students is also possible under a merger, Hunt-Bull said.
“I feel very confident that five years from now, we’ll be doing a lot of things that we don’t do now, but I think we’ll be doing the things we do now as well or better than we do them already,” Hunt-Bull said.
On Aug. 12, the Paul Smith’s College Board of Trustees is expected to appoint a permanent president of the college.
A New York State Education Department official asked the Explorer to submit a records request for any information.
Fedcap’s website says it has been around since 1935 and its work centers on workforce training and improving the economic wellbeing of people.
Developing “disruptive solutions to some of society’s most pressing needs,” it says it works with 250,000 people a year and developed an 80,000 square-foot training center.
Revenue for the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2021, reached $337.2 millon, up, 23%, with operating expenses of $332.3 million, it reported.