For the first time, a unique coalition has come together to address how financial aid can play a role in advancing the American Dream. We are gravely concerned by the twin challenges of declining affordability and the increasing number of students who enter college but don’t graduate. We represent diverse national leadership—college and foundation presidents; civil rights leaders; top state policymakers; student activists; former budget and higher education officials; college access advocates; business leaders; and the nation’s foremost authorities on financial aid.
Click on a name to the right to learn more about a coalition member. To download our full list of coalition members, click Here.
Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications, Ed Trust
Amy Wilkins serves as vice president for government affairs and communications at The Education Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to closing gaps in opportunity and achievement for students of color and those from low-income families. Wilkins is an experienced political and community organizer with a special skill in media communications. She oversees the Trust’s media, data, government affairs and coalition work. She has sharpened her skills in advocacy over years of successful work for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Democratic National Committee, the Peace Corps, and the White House Office of Media Affairs, among others.
President, Ivy Tech Community College
Thomas J. Snyder serves as president of Ivy Tech Community College, the largest institution of higher education in Indiana and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system. Appointed in 2007, President Snyder leads the strategic, academic and operational processes of Indiana’s largest and fastest growing college, serving more than 200,000 students annually at 30 campuses and 100 learning centers. Prior to joining Ivy Tech, Snyder held chairman and CEO/president positions at Flagship Energy Systems Center and Delco Remy International, Inc., respectively. Snyder graduated from Kettering University with a degree in mechanical engineering. Snyder also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University. Snyder serves on the boards of Conexus, Ener1, ESN (Energy Systems Network), Auto Communities Network, The Manufacturing Institute, Midwestern Higher Education Compact, RAMC (Rebuilding America’s Middle Class), CICP (Central Indiana Corporate Partnership), MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council), Academic Advisory Council, National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board, and the Paramount Theatre. Snyder was also selected by President Barack Obama to serve on a Roundtable on Affordability and Productivity in Higher Education at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Young Invincibles
Aaron Smith is co-founder and executive director of Young Invincibles (YI). He is a native of Yonkers, New York, an honors graduate of Swarthmore College (’04), and a cum laude graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (’10). After college, Aaron interned in the office of Congressman Chris Van Hollen and then worked for Emmaus Services for the Aging, a non-profit working to keep seniors in their homes in DC. He went back to Yonkers in 2006 to be the campaign manager of a New York State Assembly race, and went on to become the chief legislative aide for the Yonkers City Council President. While serving the city, Aaron helped to author a local living wage law and an affordable housing ordinance. He also helped create the first Yonkers Green Policy Task Force to promote environmentally friendly policies for the city.
Dr. Robert Reischauer
Former President, Urban Institute and Former Director, Congressional Budget Office
Dr. Reischauer was the director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1989 to 1995. Before that he served as the Urban Institute’s senior vice president from 1981 to 1986. He was the Congressional Budget Office’s assistant director for human resources and its deputy director between 1977 and 1981. After leaving government, he was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a Life Trustee of the Urban Institute and serves as a Social Security Trustee as well as on the boards of several educational and nonprofit organizations.
Dr. Eduardo Padrón
President, Miami Dade College
Dr. Padrón has served as president of Miami Dade College, the nation’s largest institution of higher education, since 1995. His energetic leadership also extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is the immediate past chair of the prestigious American Council on Education and immediate past chair of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. He also serves on the boards of the Federal Reserve; Council on Foreign Relations and the Business/Higher Education Forum among other major national organizations. During his career, he has also been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by six American Presidents, most recently as chair of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans by President Obama. Padrón was also recently named one of TIME magazine’s “10 Best College Presidents,” one of the 8 most “influential college leaders” in the U.S. in the Washington Post and the “Floridian of the Year” by Florida Trend magazine.
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Council of La Raza
Ms. Janet Murguía has been president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza since 2005, where she also serves as a member of the Board of Directors. Ms. Murguía serves in the leadership of numerous organizations including as an executive committee member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and as a member of the Diversity Advisory Board of Bank of America Merrill Lynch since May 2005. In addition, Ms. Murguía sits on the Board of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. Ms. Murguía began her career as legislative counsel to former Kansas Congressman Jim Slattery. She then worked at the White House, ultimately serving as deputy assistant to President Clinton. She also served as deputy director of legislative affairs, managing the legislative staff and acting as a senior White House liaison to Congress. She then served as spokesperson as well as deputy campaign manager and director of constituency outreach for the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign. In 2001, Ms. Murguía joined the University of Kansas (KU) as executive vice chancellor for university relations, overseeing KU’s internal and external relations with the public, including governmental and public affairs. Ms. Murguía received three degrees from Kansas (KU): a B.S. degree in journalism in 1982, a B.A. degree in spanish in 1982, and a J.D. degree in 1985 from the School of Law.
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League
Marc Morial has been president of the National Urban League since 2003. He has focused the efforts of the League on an empowerment agenda centered on education and youth, economic empowerment, health and quality of life, civic engagement, and civil rights and racial justice. Morial was named one of America’s top 50 non-profit executives by the Non-Profit Times and recognized as one of the 100 “Most Influential Blacks in America” by Ebony Magazine. Morial served as mayor of New Orleans from 1994-2002, during which the crime rate dropped 60%. As mayor, Morial helped to transform the police department and greatly improve city infrastructure. Before his time as mayor, Morial served two years as a Louisiana state senator. Morial earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown University.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Lumina Foundation
Jamie Merisotis is president and CEO of the nation’s largest private foundation committed to increasing college enrollment and completion. Under his leadership, Lumina set the Big Goal, to ensure 60 percent of Americans hold high quality degrees or credentials by 2025. Merisotis is an expert on higher education issues. He was the founding president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, one of the world’s premier higher-education research and policy centers. During the 1990s, Merisotis served as the executive director of the National Commission for Financing Postsecondary Education, a bipartisan commission appointed by the U.S. president and congressional leaders. He was the author of the commission’s final report Making College Affordable Again. Merisotis attended Bates College. He is a first generation college graduate and has committed his career to increasing opportunity among low-income, minority and other historically underrepresented populations.
Dr. Michael McPherson, Chair
President, Spencer Foundation
Dr. Michael McPherson became president of the Spencer Foundation in 2003. Prior to his current position, he served as the president of Macalester College and as a professor of economics and dean of faculty at Williams College. McPherson is a nationally recognized economist and has co-authored and edited several books on college access and affordability. In 2008 he co-chaired the Rethinking Student Aid Study Group, sponsored by College Board. McPherson has been a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. McPherson earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Ron Mason
President, Southern University System
Dr. Ronald Mason Jr. is the seventh president of the nation’s only historically black university system. As President of the Southern University and A&M College System, he serves as the chief executive officer and provides oversight for the system’s 5 campuses. Prior to his appointment as Southern University System president, he served as president of Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. In addition to his productive tenure at Jackson State University, President Mason enjoyed an 18-year tenure at Tulane University that encompassed several positions, including senior vice president, general counsel, and vice president for finance and operations. He also served as the founder and executive director of the National Center for the Urban Community at Tulane and Xavier Universities in New Orleans. President Mason has been involved in numerous public service and professional activities including current membership on the White House Board of Advisors for Historically Black Colleges, the boards of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, and National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). He previously served on the boards of the American Council on Education and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity for the Office of Postsecondary Education. He is a native of New Orleans and received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Columbia University in New York City.
Dr. David Longanecker
President, Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education
Dr. David A. Longanecker is the president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education in Boulder, Colorado. Previously he served for six years as the assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education, developing and implementing national policy and programs that provided more than $40 billion annually in student aid and $1 billion to institutions. Prior to that, he was the state higher education executive officer (SHEEO) in Colorado and Minnesota. He was also the principal analyst for higher education for the Congressional Budget Office. Dr. Longanecker has served on numerous boards and commissions and has written extensively on a range of higher education issues. His primary interests in higher education are: access and equity; promoting student and institutional performance; finance; the efficient use of educational technologies; and internationalizing American higher education. He holds an Ed.D. from Stanford University, an M.A. in student personnel work from the George Washington University, and a B.A. in sociology from Washington State University.
Robert L. King became the third president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education in January 2009. Mr. King is the former chancellor of the State University of New York, one of the largest comprehensive systems of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the world. More recently, he served as president and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation, a statewide charitable foundation with a strong focus on education, economic development, and scientific research. Mr. King served on numerous boards and organizations. He has served for nine years on the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars; the Education Committee of the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); as advisor to the Middle State Commission on Higher Education regarding reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in Congress; the board of directors of the National Soccer Hall of Fame; and the boards of trustees of A.T. Still University, a specialized university dedicated to training professionals for the health care professions, in Kirksville, Missouri, and Mesa, Arizona, and Prescott College located in Prescott, Arizona. Mr. King received a bachelor’s of arts degree in 1968 from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and a Juris Doctor in 1971 from the Vanderbilt University School of Law.
President, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
Laura Fornash was appointed secretary of education by Governor Bob McDonnell on August 23, 2011. As a member of the Governor’s Cabinet, the secretary assists the governor in the development and implementation of the state’s education policy and provides guidance to the 16 public universities, the Virginia Community College System, the Department of Education and the state-supported museums. Prior to her appointment, she served as deputy secretary of education and as the executive director of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation, and Investment. Secretary Fornash spent 20 years with Virginia Tech, her alma mater, in a number of different divisions including student affairs, continuing education, distance learning, and government relations. She most recently served as the director of state government relations for the university. She was the school’s restructuring project director with the responsibility of managing Virginia Tech’s implementation of the 2005 Restructuring Act that created new levels of operational autonomy for all public higher education institutions in exchange for meeting certain academic performance measures. She was director of the Virginia Tech Richmond Center, an extended campus center, where credit and noncredit programs were offered to working professionals.
Secretary Laura Fornash
Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia
Christopher Edley, Jr.
Dean of the Berkeley School of Law, University of California
Christopher Edley, Jr. joined Berkley Law as dean and professor of law in 2004, after 23 years as a professor at Harvard Law School. He earned a law degree and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, where he served as an editor and officer of the Harvard Law Review. Following graduation, Edley joined President Carter’s administration as assistant director of the White House domestic policy staff. He served as national issues director throughout the 1987-88 Dukakis presidential campaign, and then as a senior adviser on economic policy for President Bill Clinton’s transition team in 1992. In the Clinton administration, he worked as associate director for economics and government at the White House Office of Management and Budget. In 1995 he was also special counsel to the President, directing the White House review of affirmative action. He later served the Clinton White House in 1997 as a consultant to the President’s advisory board on the race initiative. From 1999-2005, Edley served as a congressional appointee on the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. At UC Berkeley, he is founder and faculty co-director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, a multidisciplinary think tank.
The Honorable Mitchell Daniels
President, Purdue University
Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. was unanimously selected by the Purdue Board of Trustees on Thursday, June 21, 2012, to be the university’s 12th president. Daniels assumed that role in January 2013, at the conclusion of his term as Governor of the State of Indiana.
He was elected as the 49th governor of Indiana in 2004, in his first bid for any elected office. He was re-elected in 2008 to a second and final term, receiving more votes than any candidate for any public office in the state’s history.
President Daniels came from a successful career in business and government, holding numerous top management positions in both the private and public sectors. His work as CEO of the Hudson Institute and President of Eli Lilly and Company’s North American Pharmaceutical Operations taught him the business skills he brought to state government. He also served as Chief of Staff to Senator Richard Lugar, Senior Advisor to President Ronald Reagan and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.
Daniels’ first legislative success created the public-private Indiana Economic Development Corporation to replace a failing state bureaucracy in the mission of attracting new jobs. In its first four years of existence, the agency broke all previous records for new jobs in the state and was associated with more than $18 billion of new investment. In 2008, Site Selection Magazine and CNBC both named Indiana as the Most Improved State for Business in the country. In 2012, Indiana became the 23rd Right-to-Work state. Indiana is now near the top of every national ranking of business attractiveness and is the top job-creating state in the nation.
On his first day in office, Governor Daniels created the first Office of Management and Budget to look for efficiencies and cost savings across state government. In 2005, he led the state to its first balanced budget in eight years and, without a tax increase, transformed the nearly $800 million deficit he inherited into an annual surplus of $370 million within a year. The governor also repaid hundreds of millions of dollars the state had borrowed from Indiana’s public schools, state universities and local units of government in previous administrations, and reduced the state’s overall debt by 40 percent. The second biennial budget replicated this fiscal discipline and built reserves equal to 10 percent of annual spending. Today Indiana has a AAA credit rating (the first in state history) and the fewest state employees per capita in the U.S.
During his first term, Governor Daniels spearheaded a host of reforms aimed at improving the performance of state government. These changes and a strong emphasis on performance measurement have led to many state agencies, including the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Department of Child Services and Department of Correction winning national awards.
Governor Daniels’ innovations include the 2006 lease of the Indiana Toll Road. This is the largest privatization of public infrastructure in the United States and generated nearly $4 billion for Major Moves, the state’s record-breaking 10-year transportation and infrastructure program. The Healthy Indiana Plan was enacted in 2007 to provide healthcare coverage for uninsured Hoosier adults, and comprehensive property tax reforms in 2008 resulted in the biggest tax cut in Indiana history. Today Indiana has the lowest property taxes in the nation. Both initiatives received overwhelming bipartisan support.
In 2011, under his guidance, Indiana passed the most sweeping education reforms in the country. Because of these reforms, Indiana is dramatically expanding charter schools, providing parents with more school choice, revising teacher evaluations and expanding full-day kindergarten funding. In 2010, he established WGU Indiana, a partnership between the state and Western Governors University aimed at expanding access to higher education for Hoosiers and increasing the percentage of the state’s adult population with education beyond high school.
Many organizations have recognized the governor’s leadership. In October 2010, Daniels received The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s inaugural Medal for Distinguished Service to Education for his efforts to reform education. In January 2011, the governor was one of three recipients selected to receive the first-ever Fiscy Award, presented for leadership and commitment to responsible financial stewardship by the non-partisan Fiscy Awards Committee. Daniels also received the “2011 Friend of the Family Award” from the Indiana Family Institute, which recognized him for his strong record of pro-family, pro-life and pro-faith actions taken as Indiana’s chief executive. In May 2012, the Manhattan Institute presented the governor with its Alexander Hamilton Award for his achievements in state government; including healthcare improvements, landmark education reforms and fiscal responsibility.
The governor’s conservation efforts have set aside record acreages of protected wetlands and wildlife habitats. In March 2011, Daniels was a recipient of the Wetland Conservation Achievement Award from the national conservation organization, Ducks Unlimited, for “making land conservation a top priority and for preserving thousands of invaluable acres across the state for future generations.” In January 2012, he received the Chancellor Award for Conservation and Wildlife Protection from the Weatherby Foundation and in March 2012, he also was awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Award from the Indiana Wildlife Federation.
Daniels, who is also the author of the best-selling book “Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans,” earned a bachelor’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1971, and his law degree from Georgetown University in 1979.Governor Daniels and his wife Cheri have four daughters: Meagan, Melissa, Meredith and Maggie.
Executive Director, National College Access Network
Kim Cook, NCAN’s executive director since 2008, has worked in the higher education and college access field for her entire professional career, including experience in undergraduate admissions and financial aid, administration of a last-dollar scholarship program, and a succession of responsibilities at NCAN including director of government relations, assistant director and executive vice president. She serves on the College Board’s College Planning Advisory Board, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Training for Counselors and Mentors advisory panel and the National Education Working Group on Foster Care and Education. She is often consulted to speak on federal policy issues and building college access networks and community-based college access programs. Previously, she was a college admission counselor at Pace University in New York. She holds a master’s in public administration from Pace University and a bachelor’s degree in communications, law, economics and government from The American University.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Services, Inc.
Mr. Carl Camden has been the chief executive officer of Kelly Services Inc. since 2006 and its President since 2001. He joined Kelly Services Inc. in April 1995 as senior vice president of sales and corporate marketing. Prior to joining Kelly, Mr. Camden served as senior vice president and director of corporate marketing for KeyCorp. He served as co-president of Wyse Advertising in Cleveland and was co-founder and co-owner of North Coast Behavioral Research Group. He served as an associate professor in the communications department at Cleveland State University. Mr. Camden has been a director of Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago since February 2006, a director of Tempstaff Co., Ltd. since June 2005, and a director of American Staffing Association since 2006. He serves on the Board of Visitors of Duke University Fuqua School of Business as well as on the Board of Trustees of the University of Detroit Mercy. Mr. Camden serves as member of the University of Michigan Visiting Committee for the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics. He served on the Advisory Committee on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefits (ERISA Advisory Council) from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Camden holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and speech from Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri, a graduate degree in clinical psychology and speech communication from Central Missouri State University, and a doctorate in communications from Ohio State University.
Dr. Sandy Baum
Professor of Economics, Skidmore College
Sandy Baum is Professor of Economics at Skidmore College and Senior Policy Analyst at the College Board. Dr. Baum earned her B.A. in sociology at Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in economics at Columbia University. She has written extensively on issues relating to college access, college pricing, student aid policy, student debt, affordability and other aspects of higher education finance.
Dr. Baum is the co-author of Trends in Student Aid, Trends in College Pricing, and Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society for the College Board. Other recent work includes studies of setting benchmarks for manageable student debt levels and of tuition discounting in public and private colleges and universities. Dr. Baum is co-chair of the Rethinking Student Aid study group, a foundation-funded effort under the auspices of the College Board to develop long-term proposals for reforming the student aid system.