Opening Session Panel
NASFAA President, Justin Draeger
Justin Draeger began his tenure as President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) on July 1, 2010. He is a first-generation four-year college graduate with more than 13 years of experience in assisting disadvantaged populations achieve their goals and better their communities, including 10 years in administering, interpreting, communicating, or developing student aid policy. Justin acts as the Association’s primary spokesperson and has been featured on The Today Show on NBC, National Public Radio, CNBC, and in numerous national newspapers and publications. Justin began his career in student aid working as a financial aid director in Michigan and went on to work for the Michigan Guaranty Agency as a lead regulatory analyst before joining NASFAA in 2006. Justin volunteers and serves on the board of directors of other organizations that promote health and education, including Pueblo-a-Pueblo, a charitable nonprofit that seeks to build sustainable, viable and healthy indigenous communities in Guatemala. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Resource Management from Brigham Young University and a Master’s in Business Administration Finance from Baker College.
NCHELP President, Brett Lief
Brett Lief is the President of the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs, Inc. (NCHELP). Prior to his appointment, Mr. Lief served as Assistant Vice President for Student Aid Policy and Regulatory Affairs for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).
Before joining the NAICU staff, Mr. Lief served as the Deputy Executive Director of the New Jersey Department of Higher Education. He has worked in the student financial aid field for many years, as Deputy Assistant Chancellor for Student Assistance for the State of New Jersey, and as the Director of Tuition Aid Grant and Scholarship Program. In the latter position, he coordinated activities for the New Jersey Higher Education Assistance Authority. He also served as the Director of Financial Aid in the public and private collegiate sectors.
Congressman, Rob Andrews
Congressman Andrews is a leading national voice on workplace, education, budget, and national defense issues. Rob has served his entire Congressional career on the House Education and Labor Committee. He is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP), with responsibility for the health insurance, pension and labor laws of the nation. Rep. Andrews also serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He is a member of the Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee and the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. Rob is focused on protecting Americans from loose fissile and biological material in the U.S. and abroad. Rob is also leading an initiative requiring the Department of Defense and the U.S. Military to use 25% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2025.
Congressman Andrews is the son and grandson of shipyard workers and was the first in his family to attend college. He graduated summa cum laude from Bucknell University, where he also was Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from Cornell University, and was selected for the Board of Editors of the Cornell Law Review. Before being elected to Congress, he was an attorney and an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University School of Law. He also served as freeholder director of Camden County, the highest elected office in county government.
On November 4th, 2008, Congressman Rob Andrews received more votes than anyone elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the history of the State of New Jersey. He received a total of 206,453 votes, surpassing the previous record which was also set by Congressman Andrews. He has represented the residents of the First Congressional District of New Jersey, which includes Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties, since he was first elected to the House in 1990.
Congressman Rob Andrews is 51 years old and is married to Camille Spinello Andrews, Associate Dean of Enrollment and Projects at Rutgers School of Law in Camden and Managing Director at Context Capital Partners. The Andrews have two daughters, Jackie, 17, and Josie, 15. The Andrews family lives in Haddon Heights. Rob does not keep an apartment in Washington, D.C. but instead commutes each day by train to be closer to his family and constituents.
Guest Speaker - Matt Jones
EASFAA is excited to have Matt Jones join us for the 2011 Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Plan to join us for this inspirational, dynamic story of Matt’s life story as a cancer survivor.
Matt is a three time cancer survivor who is in remission with acute myeloid leukemia. Matt is a speaker, author of five books and consultant with a story that brings hope. In 2005, one year after a successful bone marrow transplant and relearning how to walk, Matt completed his first marathon as a cancer survivor. He has a goal to complete a marathon on every continent; he has already completed the Rome and San Diego marathons!
Matt's mission is to help flame the fire within individuals and organizations to reach their full potential by overcoming challenges, improving daily, and striving to attain greater goal attainment as well as life fulfillment. His greatest desire is to make a difference in the lives of others. Matt's story has been featured in both international magazine and TV shows. He holds a BA in Communication, MLS in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership, and is pursuing his doctorate in Organizational Leadership.
Guest Speaker - Michael Bennett
Michael J. Bennett is the Associate Vice President of Financial Assistance Services at St Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Founded in 1927, St. Petersburg College was the first community college in Florida and in 2002, the first community college to offer 4 year degrees and is now a state college. The college has 9 learning sites throughout Pinellas county serving 34,000 students.
Mike also served as Director of Financial Aid at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ for 25 years.
Mike is a Past President of the New Jersey Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and is a Past National Chair of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
He has received the Distinguished Service Award from all three organizations along with being awarded the Lifetime Membership Award from NJASFAA and EASFAA. Mike has done numerous presentations and written articles for NJASFAA, EASFAA, SASFAA, NASFAA, and the College Board.
Federal Update - Jeff Baker
Jeff Baker has been a student aid professional for over 30 years. He began his career at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and later spent more than 20 years at San Francisco State University. Before entering the field of financial aid, Jeff was a public school teacher in the Port Washington Wisconsin public schools. For the past 15 years Jeff has been employed at the Department of Education, most recently as Director of the Policy Liaison and Implementation Staff for Federal Student Aid. In that capacity, Jeff advises senior FSA management on statutory, regulatory, and policy matters related to the Title IV Federal student aid programs.
Jeff earned a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Northeastern University, and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin. He also completed postgraduate work in higher education administration at the University of Southern California.