RUSTON — Louisiana Tech has a strong student voice on a national committee of mostly administrators charged with making the financial aid process more transparent and efficient in order to get more students into college.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) recently appointed Tech Student Government Association president Ben Rice to the Higher Education Committee of 50, or “Forward50.” This national committee of higher education leaders 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.
“I’ll be working with financial aid administrators, university presidents, and other students to help figure out the best solutions,” Rice said. “I have worked a lot with NCLC (National Campus Leadership Council, a council of student body presidents across the country) on figuring out the best ways to get students involved in the TOPS debates we’ve been having recently, and that experience is what I plan to bring to the committee. NCLC thought I would be a strong candidate because of this experience, and I can’t wait to bring some student perspective to the committee, which is made up primarily of administrators.”
NASFAA representatives said that there is a particularly strong need for thoughtful, innovative ideas from higher-ed institutions for the future of federal student aid. “It is imperative to show lawmakers that institutions of higher education are interested, invested, and believe in student equity, success, and outcomes,” the organization said. “As the HEA reauthorization process may finally begin slowly moving forward in 2018, the time is ripe for this type of innovative thinking.”
In late 2017, NASFAA was awarded a grant to form and convene a group tasked with developing policy solutions that will help surmount obstacles preventing students from enrolling in, paying for, and graduating from college. NASFAA is using the grant funding — provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — to facilitate the “Forward50” group comprised of college presidents, enrollment managers, admissions staff, financial aid leaders, members of governing boards, students, and other leaders from all sectors of postsecondary institutions.