University Business - July 2008 - (Page 54)

A New Day for NASFAA An interview with NASFAA President Philip Day By Tim Goral FOR SOME PEOPLE, SERVING AS PRESIDENT OF FOUR INSTITUTIONS AND ON THE boards of numerous associations might amount to a full career, but when Philip R. Day left his position at City College of San Francisco he wasn’t ready for retirement. Instead he took the helm at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). He succeeds Dallas Martin, who retired after 32 years as NASFAA’s CEO and president. Day arrives at a crucial time for the financial aid industry and plans to further the initiatives that Martin took to improve the integrity of financial aid professionals. Besides City College, Day has also served as president of Daytona Beach Community College (Fla.), Cape Cod Community College (Mass.), and Dundalk Community College (Md.). He recently spoke with University Business about the challenges ahead in financial aid. UB: You’ve had a prolific career as president of four colleges, so why come to NASFAA, and why now? DAY: I’ve always had a compelling interest to focus on the issue of student access, as evidenced by my engagement with community colleges throughout my professional life. In the process of focusing on access, you are drawn to learning what is preventing that. At the top of the list is the issue of financial barriers for the people who are most seriously disadvantaged from being part of the equation. When the position came up I wanted to stay engaged in the public policy arena related to student access and financial aid, and what better vehicle to achieve that? Considering last year’s loan scandals, did you have concerns over the timing of this move? I have a tendency to always look at things as an opportunity, so I never gave it a second thought. It had more to do with the realities of what this job, in its ideal form, is all about and what I wanted to do with my life. My modus operandi has always been to try to make the very best of it, not only for the organization for which I work, but also for myself. I enjoy what I do and people are beginning to recognize that NASFAA is awakening and engaged and is back in play. I’ve heard from others that you hit the ground running on day one of the job. That’s usually what I do. When I went to San Francisco in 1998, on my first day, the college was on a labor strike. The following week I had 200-plus students standing outside my office complaining that the financial aid office was not servicing their needs. That’s not even hitting the ground running—that’s jumping into the deep end of the pool and hoping to survive. But that’s what happens. You have a problem, you try to solve it. You’ve said you expect NASFAA to be more proactive. Can you elaborate? I’ve been engaged in the whole area of government relations and advocacy as much as anyone in higher education who has been a college president. I’ve been chairman of the funding committees for the state community college presidents. At the federal level I’ve served on the board of the American Council on Education. I’ve spent six years on the board of the American Association of Community Colleges and five years on the national advisory council for VocEd, which advises Congress on all elements of the Vocational Education Act. When I went through the interview process for this job, I told the board I felt that, on a lot of levels, NASFAA had taken a back seat to others. I believed there was a real need, from my perspective, to get out front and be more proactive. I want to aggressively pursue an agenda advocating for the 16 million students and 3,200 institutions we serve, and the 14,000 professionals who, day in and day out, try to do a good job. They are deserving of nothing less than our best effort. Someone once said that NASFAA was a bit like Rip Van Winkle. I think we’re now awakening and starting to flex our muscles. I intend to keep all burners on full blast in that regard, because our constituents deserve it and we need to represent their interests. 54 | July 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - July 2008

University Business - July 2008
College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Editor's Note
Behind the News
Money Matters
Financial Aid
Human Resources
Students in Need, Schools at the Ready
Security Officers Speak Out
Advancement Goes Digital
A New Day for NASFAA
Sustainable Admissions
What's New
End Note

University Business - July 2008