The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) appointed Dean Clark, executive vice president at Southwestern College, to the Higher Education Committee of 50 (“Forward50”).

In late 2017, NASFAA was awarded a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to convene a group that would develop policy solutions to help surmount obstacles preventing students from enrolling in, paying for, and graduating from college. The grant funds the Forward50. 

This national committee is composed of forward-thinking higher education leaders who will spend the next year examining policy areas related to access, affordability, accountability and transparency. The group will produce practical solutions and recommendations for members of Congress.

Clark currently supervises the vice president for enrollment, the vice president for student success, the director of athletics, the director of information technology and the director of financial aid at Southwestern College. The leadership team’s focus is on building a successful, sustainable, long-lasting operation and refining the university’s recruitment efforts. In addition, Clark works with Southwestern College President Brad Andrews to provide leadership for other campus-wide administrative initiatives.

“As a first-generation college student who traversed the college selection process on my own I understand how confusing the admissions and financial aid process can be,” Clark said. “I’ve spent most of my adult life working with prospective students and love the moment when they see college is attainable.”

Forward50 includes college presidents, enrollment managers, admissions staff, financial aid and bursar leaders, members of governing boards, students, and other leaders from all sectors of postsecondary institutions. During the work the Forward50 will produce four white papers on specific, pre-identified policy areas related to access, affordability, accountability and transparency. These papers will include practical solutions and recommendations for members of Congress, and will be available to the broader policy community for review and comment prior to finalization.

“I applied to be part of the Forward50 because I want to help, and feel with my experience I have a unique perspective. It’s not every day that you can help make real change and I look forward to assisting in this process,” Clark said. 

NASFAA is a nonprofit membership organization that represents nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals at more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every 10 undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, D.C., it is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators.

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