November 8, 2015
Dear NASFAA Member,
On this day exactly 50 years ago, America took a giant leap forward in our efforts to address the crippling effects of poverty and inequality. When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Higher Education Act (HEA) into law on November 8, 1965 on the campus of Texas State College, his stated purpose was to "swing open a new door for the young people of America…the door to education." The programs authorized through the HEA would be the key to unlocking that door—and in doing so changing the lives and futures of millions of Americans.
We have much to celebrate on this day. Within a very short time after the HEA’s passage, the financial aid profession was solidified. Individuals across the country, such as yourselves, seized the challenge that Johnson articulated—to help ensure that no qualified student be denied access to a postsecondary education due to a lack of financial resources.
Of course, financial aid has grown since 1965—probably in ways President Johnson could never have imagined. We know there are challenges to overcome as we collectively seek the best ways to serve students and ensure access and success. But on this day, let us celebrate how far we have come, together.
You may have noticed that NASFAA’s logo is a graduate standing in a doorway. That’s who financial aid administrators are—we are the people who open doors. We are part of this legacy that started in 1965. The work we do is important to your students, as individuals, and to our country, as we seek to build a workforce that can compete in the global marketplace.
If you haven’t seen NASFAA’s video—first aired at the 2015 NASFAA National Conference in New Orleans—on the history of the profession and the HEA, we urge you to watch it and reflect on how the work you do connects to the larger ideals set forth for our country 50 years ago.
We close with a few words from President Johnson that are as relevant today as they were five decades ago when they were spoken:
"I want you to go back and say to your children and to your grandchildren, and those who come after you and follow you—tell them that we have made a promise to them. Tell them that the truth is here for them to seek. And tell them that we have opened the road and we have pulled the gates down and the way is open, and we expect them to travel it."
Thank you for the work you all do for students.
2015-16 National Chair
President & CEO
Dan Mann, National Chair, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lisa Blazer, National Chair-Elect, University of Texas at San Antonio
Eileen O'Leary, Past National Chair, Stonehill College
Brad Barnett, Treasurer, James Madison University
Justin Draeger, President & CEO
Beth Maglione, Vice President and Board Secretary
Heather Boutell, Bellarmine University
Angela K. Johnson, Cuyahoga Community College
Paula Luff, DePaul University
Ellen R. Neel, Glendale Community College
Nick Prewett, University of Missouri
Craig Slaughter, Depauw University
Nathan Basford, Florida State University
Tony Erwin, Northeastern University
Kevin Jensen, College of Western Idaho
Aaron Steffens, Luther College
Art Young, Brigham Young University
Andrew Hammontree, Francis Tuttle Technology Center
Lisanne Masterson, Blue Ridge Community College
Kay Soltis, Pacific Lutheran University
Keith Williams, Michigan State University