2023 Legislative and Leadership Conference Program

Program

Welcome to NCHER Legislative and Leadership Conference

I want to welcome you to the nation’s capital for NCHER’s 2023 Legislative and Leadership Conference! It goes without saying that a lot has changed since we last met in-person in February 2020, but one thing has stayed consistent – the NCHER Government Relations Committee and the NCHER staff have put together an outstanding and timely program, which will provide a number of important legislative and regulatory updates on issues facing the higher education finance industry over the next year. Through events at the Westin and through your own meetings on Capitol Hill, I hope the next three days will provide you with a greater understanding of federal and state policy and issues that are of importance to our industry.

The conference kicks off on Monday morning with a meeting of the NCHER Board of Directors that is open to the membership and then, after a brief bootcamp on NCHER’s Advocacy Priorities for 2023, members will hold visits with their Congressional delegations and federal agencies. On Tuesday, the conference leads off wit government relations experts who will provide an update on federal developments and the outlook as we begin 2023, followed by remarks from Education Deputy Under Secretary Ben Miller who will talk about the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Education. Then, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx will provide keynote remarks and talk about her higher education priorities for the 118th Congress, including ideas to improve federal and private student loan programs. After lunch, conference attendees will learn about enrollment trends in postsecondary education with the National Student Clearinghouse; hear from college and university leaders on their perspectives on a range of current topics such as learner access, affordability, accountability, student outcomes, and value measures; and participate in a discussion with industry leaders on how they are managing Board and staff uncertainty in the current environment. It’s a jam-packed day and one that should not be missed! On Wednesday, the conference begins with a panel discussion on state policy that is impacting higher education finance and concludes with a Congressional staff panel where Democratic and Republican staff will discuss their higher education priorities.

With the recent change in control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Republicans to the expanded Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, it remains a busy time in Washington. The President is slated to give his annual State of the Union Address on Tuesday, before releasing his budget request early next month. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Biden Administration’s federal student loan forgiveness program later this month with a major decision expected in June – a decision that is tied to the resumption of federal student loan payments and collections later in the year. The Department of Education continues its regulatory efforts around creating a new income-driven repayment plan and implementation of Fresh Start and the special mandatory assignment process. This is a great time to hold meetings with your Congressional delegations to outline your advocacy priorities over the next year and tell your organization’s story. The NCHER staff and I are here to help you navigate the streets of Washington and hone your message so that it can be the most impactful.

On behalf of the NCHER Board of Directors and the staff, I appreciate your taking the time to attend this year’s conference. I hope that you have a great time!

James Bergeron signature

James P. Bergeron
President
National Council of Higher Education Resources

General Information

 

Assistance

Information regarding the 2023 Legislative and Leadership Conference can be obtained from the registration desk. Managed by NCHER staff, you will find this a helpful aide in solving problems and answering questions. Whether you need details regarding logistics or general information, we are always pleased to assist you.

 

Badges

Name badges must be worn at all times in order to be admitted to sessions and meal functions. They can be picked up at the registration desk and are part of your registration packet. Please wear your badge during all NCHER related functions.

For identification purposes, each badge is color-coded to specify a specific role: Board of Directors Speaker / Moderator Sponsor Attendee  Staff

 

Evaluation Forms

Your feedback is important to NCHER as we strive to provide you with conferences that meet your needs. Evaluation forms will be sent electronically to all attendees at the conclusion of the conference. This easy-to-use online form will take just a few minutes of your time. Should you have any additional comments or ideas, please send an email to conferences@ncher.org.

 

NCHER Staff

James P. Bergeron, President
Stefanie Gramm, CMP, Director, Operations and Meetings
Vicki Shipley, Senior Advisor

 

Mission Statement

NCHER’s mission is to provide superior advocacy, communications, research, and operational support to its members so they may effectively help students and families develop, pay for, and attain their educational goals so they can pursue meaningful and rewarding work and become contributing members of society.

 

Upcoming Meetings

Be sure to join us for our upcoming meetings:

 

2023 Spring Legal Meeting
April 2023
Location TBD

2023 Annual Conference
June 5-7, 2023
Hilton Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, FL

 

Monday, February 6

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.                         Registration Open

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.                       NCHER Board of Directors Meeting

The NCHER Board will meet to receive reports from the Chair, Treasurer, and President on the organization’s advocacy, communications, and regulatory strategies. The meeting is open to all members of NCHER. 

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.                     Bootcamp on NCHER’s Advocacy Priorities for 2023

NCHER has developed a comprehensive list of advocacy priorities geared toward improving federal student aid and private loan programs for students and families. During this session, the NCHER staff will hold a bootcamp for its members to discuss the policy and political environment and review NCHER’s Advocacy Priorities for 2023 in advance of Capitol Hill and Agency visits.           

12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.                       NCHER Members Hold Capitol Hill and Agency Visits

NCHER members are reminded to take this time to make appointments with their Congressional delegations, especially members of the House Education and Labor Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, to talk about their advocacy priorities for 2023. The NCHER staff is available to help members make appointments with House and Senate staff. 

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.                         Welcome Reception

Tuesday, June 7

7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.                         Registration Open

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.                          Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.                          Welcome

The NCHER leadership will welcome members to the conference and briefly discuss the conference program for the day.      

 

Speaker

Christiana Thornton, Chair, National Council of Higher Education Resources
President and Chief Executive Officer
New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation Network

8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.                          Federal Update Impacting the Higher Education Finance Industry

It has been two years since the Biden Administration took office. Since then, the White House and U.S. Department of Education have extended the federal payment, interest, and collections pause put in place to assist borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; announced a new federal student loan forgiveness program using waiver authority under the HEROES Act; announced the creation of a new Income-Driven Repayment Program; enacted borrower friendly changes to the federal student loan program such as revisions to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and the borrower defense to repayment process; announced that it will allow defaulted borrowers to get a fresh start back into repayment; and issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 21-03, which requires guaranty agencies to assign those loans that defaulted during the pandemic to the agency. Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice announced new guidance governing how its attorneys will implement the “undue hardship” standard for borrowers in bankruptcy. With the start of the new Congress, divided government is back. Republicans enjoy a small majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while Democrats have a similar slim majority in the U.S. Senate – leading most observers to wonder what higher education policy will get enacted this year. This session will provide an update on federal developments and the outlook as we begin 2023.

Moderator/Speaker
Alex Nock, Principal
Penn Hill Group

Speakers
Lauren Maddox, Senior Policy Advisor
Holland & Knight LLP

Christopher Murray, Partner
Thompson Coburn LLP

9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.                       Break                 

10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.                      Higher Education Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education
From preparing student and parent borrowers for the restart of repayment to enacting new regulations around borrower defense to repayment, gainful employment, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to carrying out new requirements passed by Congress to share taxpayer information to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, 2023 is sure to be a busy one for the U.S. Department of Education. During this session, Education Deputy Under Secretary Ben Miller will speak about the Department’s policies and priorities, including reforms to the federal student loan program.

Introduction
Angela Baier, Chief Executive Officer
College Assist/College Invest

Speaker
Ben Miller, Deputy Under Secretary, Office of the Under Secretary
U.S. Department of Education                                                                   

10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.                     Break 

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.                     Higher Education Priorities in the 118th Congress
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) will discuss her higher education priorities for the 118th Congress, including ideas to improve federal and private student loan programs and college access and success initiatives.

Introduction
Wendy McAlister, President
College Foundation, Inc.

Speaker
The Honorable Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman
House Education and the Workforce Committee

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.                       Lunch and Celebration of Shelly Repp’s Work with NCHER on Behalf of its Membership

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.                         Enrollment Trends in Postsecondary Education
Preliminary data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center saw higher education enrollment decline 1.1 percent in the fall of 2022, following a 2.1 percent drop in the preceding fall. These enrollment losses, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, represents a two-year decline of 3.2 percent since the fall of 2020. Both undergraduate and graduate enrollment decreased by 1.1 and 1.0 percent, respectively, while freshmen enrollment declined this fall by 1.5 percent after last year’s increase of 2.2 percent. This session will review recent research and reports on postsecondary education enrollment and discuss current and anticipated trends at the public and private institutional level.

Introduction
Nathan Hench, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Public Affairs
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency

Speaker
Aaron Pevitz, Research Analyst
National Student Clearinghouse

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.                         Refreshment Break

2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.                           Viewpoint: Observations from College and University Leaders
Colleges and universities are on the front-line of working with students and families to ensure that they enroll in and then graduate from postsecondary education. As higher education and the workforce changes, colleges and universities must keep pace. In this session, college and university leaders will discuss what they are seeing on their campuses, including enrollment trends, and innovative approaches to create educational opportunities for a diverse student population to meet current and future workforce needs. The panel will provide perspectives on a range of current topics such as learner access, affordability, accountability, student outcomes, and value measures. 

Moderator
Bryan Ashton, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer
Trellis Company 

Speakers
Robert Collins, Vice President of Financial Aid
Western Governors University

Dr. Sue Ellspermann, President
Ivy Tech Community College

 

Jamie Fasteau, Vice President, Policy and Advocacy

Southern New Hampshire University

 

3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.                           Viewpoint: Managing During Uncertainty 

The past year has been a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty for NCHER members. While we may have little to no control over many of the issues being released by the U.S. Department of Education, each of us still has to manage Board expectations and our staff’s anxiety, while planning for an unknown future. In particular, as we await a decision on federal student loan forgiveness from the U.S. Supreme Court, additional details on the implementation and impact of Fresh Start, and confirmation on the future funding models and Voluntary Flexible Agreements for guarantors, we must continue to provide quality programs and services to students, borrowers, and families. In this session, a panel of industry leaders will share how they are managing Board and staff through this period of ongoing uncertainty and change, ensuring their organizations stay true to their mission and business while exploring new opportunities. Audience discussion and participation is encouraged. 

 

Moderator/Speaker
Kathleen Smith
, Sr. VP, Director of Federal Relations, Outreach & Development, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency

 

Speakers

Diana Barber, Executive Vice President

Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority

Debra Chromy, Ed.D, President and Chief Executive Officer

Trellis Company

 

Chad Tate, President

ECMC Group

 

4:30 p.m.                                             Conference Adjourns

Wednesday, June 8

:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.              Registration Open

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.                          Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.                          Welcome

The NCHER leadership will welcome members to the conference and briefly discuss the conference program for the day.

           

            Speaker

James P. Bergeron, President

National Council of Higher Education Resources

 

8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.                          Examining State Policy Impacting Higher Education Finance

                                                            Over the last year, numerous states have enacted new laws regulating private education loan programs on top of existing laws that require federal and private student loan servicers to obtain a license and meet competing requirements to protect borrowers. In this session, a panel of experts will discuss state consumer protection efforts impacting the higher education finance industry.

 

Moderator/Speaker

Phillip Wambsganss, Executive Director

Higher Education Servicing Corporation

 

 

 

Speaker

John L. Culhane, Jr., Partner

Ballard Spahr

 

9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.                       Break/Hotel Check Out

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.                     Congressional Staff Panel on Higher Education Policy

With the recent election, there are major changes coming to the House and Senate. Republicans now lead the House Education and the Workforce Committee while Democrats and Republicans have new leadership on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. During this session, Democratic and Republican Congressional staff will discuss their higher education priorities for the 118th Congress and whether there are consensus areas for enactment of improvements to federal student aid programs.

 

Moderator

Ron Gambill, Executive Vice President of Student Lending and Legislative Affairs

ELFI (Education Loan Finance Inc.)

 

Speakers

Amaris Benavidez, Professional Staff Member

House Education and the Workforce Committee – Democratic Staff                             

 

Chance Russell, Professional Staff Member

House Education and the Workforce Committee – Republican Staff

 

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.                     Conference Wrap Up and Closing Remarks

 

Speaker

James P. Bergeron, President

National Council of Higher Education Resources

 

12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.                       NCHER Members Hold Capitol Hill and Agency Visits

NCHER members are reminded to take this time to make appointments with their Congressional delegations, especially members of the House Education and Labor Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, to talk about their advocacy priorities for 2023. The NCHER staff is available to help members make appointments with House and Senate staff.

 

 

 

 

Room Information

 

Lunch – Pulaski Room

General Sessions – Oglethorpe Ballroom

Registration, Breakfast & Breaks – Oglethorpe Ballroom Foyer

Reception – Harborview Room

Board Meeting – Madison Ballroom

 

Hotel Map

 

Desoto Floor Plan Map

Speaker Biographies

Bryan Ashton, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer
Trellis Company

Bryan Ashton serves as the Chief Strategy and Growth Officer at Trellis Company. In this capacity, he is responsible for leading the organizations new Higher Education Research and Consulting and Talent Pathway business lines. Additionally, he leads Sales and Marketing, Government Affairs, and Community Investment for the organization. Bryan is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance which brings together organizations interested in removing financial barriers to student completion. 

Bryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting from Ohio State University and a Master’s in Education, with a focus in Higher Education, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Angela Baier, Chief Executive Officer
CollegeInvest 

Angela Baier is Chief Executive Officer of CollegeInvest and College Assist. CollegeInvest administers Colorado’s 529 college savings program and College Assist administers the state’s federal student loan guaranty agency. Since 2009, Ms. Baier has been responsible for managing Colorado’s 529 program representing over $8.5 billion in assets under management and more than 375,000 families. She brings 30 years of senior level management, business development, and strategic planning expertise to her position. Ms. Baier’s diverse career consists of 18 years in nonprofit leadership, including serving as Chief Executive Officer of The New York State Zoo. She also served as a Hickenlooper Mayoral Appointee for the City and County of Denver. In the community, Ms. Baier is actively involved with several nonprofit organizations, was part of Mayor John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock’s transition teams, and is a Leadership Denver alumna. She earned her B.S. in marketing from the University of Kansas.  

Diana Barber, Executive Vice President
Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority
 

Diana Barber is currently Executive Vice President for the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and its sister organization the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation.  Prior to her current position, Diana served as Assistant General Counsel for KHEAA/KHESLC from 1993 to current.

Before coming to KHEAA/KHESLC, Diana worked for the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund. Diana received her J.D. from the University of Kentucky and a B.A in Economics from Indiana University.

Amaris Benavidez, Professional Staff Member
House Education and the Workforce Committee

Amaris Benavidez is a higher education Professional Staff Member for the Committee on Education and the Workforce under Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03). Previously, she served as a post-graduate fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and worked for The Education Trust-Massachusetts. Amaris is a first-generation college graduate, receiving her B.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University and her M.A. in Higher Education from Boston College.

James P. Bergeron, President
National Council of Higher Education Resources

James Bergeron currently serves as President of the National Council of Higher Education Resources. Prior to joining NCHER, James worked as the Director of Education and Human Services Policy for the House Education and the Workforce Committee (now, House Education and Labor Committee). In this capacity, he advised Chairman John Kline (R-MN), members, and staff, and oversaw policy development on all areas of education and human services programs, including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Head Start Act, and other federal laws governing elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. Before joining the committee in 2006, James served as Legislative Director in Rep. Buck McKeon’s (R-CA) personal office where he was responsible for developing and implementing the legislative agenda within the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness. He authored important legislative initiatives on college affordability and financial aid simplification. James began his Capitol Hill service more than 25 years ago as a Legislative Assistant to former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), who chaired the House Appropriations Committee. James also served as Vice President of MARC Associates (now part of Holland & Knight), a government relations firm where he consulted for a number of elementary and secondary education and higher education organizations. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 

Robert Collins, Vice President of Financial Aid
Western Governors University

Bob Collins joined Western Governors University (WGU) in October 2012 as the Vice President of Financial Aid. Collins has 40+ years of experience in student aid administration and continues to be active in the state, regional, and national professional associations. In 2016, WGU received national recognition from AAUA and WCET for its Responsible Borrowing Initiatives (RBI). In 2020, WGU received the Ellucian Impact Award for its work in changing the way students think about loan debt. In 2021, WGU’s RBI program received the Gold Star Award from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), which recognizes innovative ideas in the financial aid arena at any level, targeted toward any constituency.

John L. Culhane, Partner
Ballard Spahr LLP

John L. Culhane, Jr. is a Partner at Ballard Spahr LLP where he is known for his work advising on interstate direct and indirect consumer and residential mortgage loan and leasing programs, through both traditional brick-and-mortar facilities and e-commerce. Before joining Ballard Spahr, John was Associate Counsel with Mellon Bank, N.A.; Associate Counsel with Bank of America NT&SA; and Senior Attorney (section chief) with the National Credit Union Administration, the federal agency regulating federal credit unions. John addresses issues involving licensing, advertising and marketing, application processing, privacy, disclosure, pricing, substantive terms, servicing, collection, portfolio sales, and securitization. His regulatory practice includes preparing clients for banking agency and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) compliance examinations and assisting in the defense of attorney general investigations and banking agency and CFPB enforcement actions. His clients have ranged from a multibillion-dollar bank holding company, to one of the nation’s largest residential mortgage lenders, to a leading provider of financial institution forms and documentation. John is a member of the firm’s Fair Lending Task Force.

Dr. Sue Ellspermann, President
Ivy Tech Community College

Dr. Sue Ellspermann has served as president of Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana’s largest post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide post-secondary institution since 2016.  As Indiana’s 50th Lieutenant Governor she served as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and President of the Senate, along with oversight of 6 agencies.  She was elected in 2010 as District 74 State Representative.  Her earlier career includes founding director of the University of Southern Indiana’s Center for Applied Research and Economic Development, owner of Ellspermann and Associates, Inc. focused on creative problem solving and strategic planning, and industrial engineering positions at GM, Michelin and Frito-Lay. Ellspermann holds a M.S. and PhD in Industrial Engineering from University of Louisville and BSIE from Purdue.

Jamie Fasteau, Vice President for Policy and Advocacy
Southern New Hampshire University

Jamie Fasteau has served in numerous leadership positions in education and civil rights policy, including in Congress and philanthropy. She is currently the Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and leads the Center on Higher Education Practice and Policy at SNHU. Prior to joining SNHU, she was Principal at EducationCounsel. Previously, Jamie served as Director of Policy, Education at Emerson Collective where she focused on policy development of and advocacy for Emerson’s education priorities including investment opportunities, collaborations and partnerships, and policy change opportunities at all levels of the education system. Prior to joining Emerson Collective, Jamie served as Director of Education Policy for Congressman George Miller, Senior Democrat, on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, where she oversaw the Committee’s full education agenda.

Jamie has also served as Director of Policy and then Vice President for Federal Advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education where she lead the organizations efforts to influence federal policy on secondary school reform efforts. Previously she served as Legislative Assistant for Senator Patty Murray on education, issues affecting children and families, and civil rights. Jamie attended Claremont McKenna College and lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband and two children.

The Honorable Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman
House Education and the Workforce Committee

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th District in the United States House of Representatives. Throughout her time in Congress, Foxx has established herself as a champion of conservative values and has helped lead the national movements to reduce federal government spending and increase government oversight and accountability.

She currently serves as the Republican Leader of the House Committee on Education and Labor. From 2013 to 2016, she served as Secretary of the House Republican Conference.

The nonpartisan magazine National Journal has consistently ranked Foxx as one of the most conservative members of the North Carolina Congressional Delegation. She also has a lifetime 96 percent approval rating from the American Conservative Union.

Representative Foxx is a visible leader in the House Republican Conference, where she regularly takes a stand for the principles of individual freedom and limited government. She was also the first member of her 2004 class to introduce and pass a substantive bill in the House.

In 2008 Foxx successfully passed a bill to streamline the federal government and save taxpayer money. This accomplishment makes her one of the few members of Congress who took office in 2004 who got legislation signed into law in both the 109th and 110th Congresses.

As the Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Foxx led efforts to modernize and reform the nation’s workforce development system. In 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which provided a long overdue reform of the Workforce Investment Act, was signed into law. WIOA, a bipartisan, bicameral compromise between the Foxx-authored SKILLS Act (H.R. 803) and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356), streamlines and improves existing federal workforce development programs and fosters a modern workforce that American businesses can rely on to compete.

Prior to serving on Capitol Hill, Foxx spent 10 years in the North Carolina Senate where she successfully sponsored several statewide and local bills and consistently voted against tax increases and for legislation that would make governments more efficient and less wasteful.

Dr. Foxx is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received her A.B. degree in English and M.A.C.T. in Sociology. She earned her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching/Higher Education from UNC-Greensboro.

Dr. Foxx began her career as a secretary and research assistant at UNC-Chapel Hill. She taught at Caldwell Community College, was a sociology instructor at Appalachian State University and held several administrative positions at ASU, including Assistant Dean of the General College. Dr. Foxx also served as Deputy Secretary for Management in the N.C. Department of Administration for Governor Jim Martin. Prior to her election to the Senate in 1994, she served as President and later a consultant at Mayland Community College from 1987-1994.

Representative Foxx has been active in civic and business affairs, serving on many state and national committees. She served on the Executive Committee of North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry and was elected to three four-year terms on the Watauga County Board of Education. She was confirmed by the United States Senate for a Presidential appointment to the National Advisory Council for Women’s Educational Programs. She also served on the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Advisory Panel. Other current or former service on boards includes the Board of Directors of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, Board of Directors of the N.C. Center for Public Research, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Visitors, National Conference of State Legislatures’ Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Child Care, Charter Member of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History and the Foscoe-Grandfather Community Center Board.

Dr. Foxx is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Her support for America’s veterans and active-duty military is characterized by her introduction of the HERO Act, legislation that extends IRA benefits for troops serving in combat zones. She has also supported bills that expand veterans’ disability compensation and that significantly increased overall Veterans Affairs funding. Dr. Foxx has also voted in favor of honoring our nation’s fallen by prohibiting demonstrations at military funerals held at national cemeteries.

Dr. Foxx is the recipient of several state and national awards. Among those awards are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award, the Family Research Council’s True Blue Award and the Alan Keith-Lucas Friend of Children Award, the highest honor granted by the North Carolina Child Care Association. She is a former Rotarian.

At Mayland Community College, Dr. Foxx implemented several nationally recognized programs including a curriculum evaluation program which has been adopted by major universities. In another major success, she raised over $1 million in private funds for an on-campus, state-of-the-art child development center built by prison inmates. At ASU she implemented a model orientation/academic advising program which is still in existence.

Virginia Foxx is married to Tom Foxx. Prior to her entering Congress, the couple owned a nursery business in Watauga County. Dr. Foxx is a lay leader in her church and her hobbies are reading, gardening and being a grandparent to two.

Ron Gambill, Executive Vice President of Student Lending and Legislative Affairs
Education Loan Finance, Inc. (ELFI)

Ron Gambill is Executive Vice President of Student Lending and Legislative Affairs of Education Loan Finance, Inc. (ELFI). Formerly, Ron was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Educational Funding of the South, Inc. (Edsouth), serving as a Director on the Edsouth Board since 1988. Prior to joining Edsouth, he was Executive Director of the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) for over 17 years and served as a financial aid director for Nashville State Technical Institute for over 11 years before his appointment to TSAC. Ron is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Higher Education Resources where he has served for several terms including Chairman of the Board. He has served on the Executive Board of the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators in various positions and is currently a member of the Legislative Relations Committee. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Tennessee Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and is a member and Past President of the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb University, where he serves on the Board of Visitors for the Education Department. He holds a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and serves as a Trustee on the Board of Williamson College. Ron has worked in state and federal legislative relations for over 30 years. 

Nathan Hench, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Guaranty, and Strategy
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency

Nathan Hench is the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Guaranty, and Strategy for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). Nathan joined PHEAA in 2005 as the Vice President of Legislative and Board Affairs. In his current role, he oversees the functions of the Guaranty Agency, strategy, public relations, state legislative affairs, marketing and communications, public service, state grant and special programs, and human resources. That includes the PA State Grant Program, which is the third largest need-based grant program in the nation, as well as 12 other state programs administered by PHEAA at no cost to the Commonwealth and 10 other boutique programs. The public service-minded department, under Nathan’s leadership, focuses not only on helping students afford their dream of higher education, but also on helping them navigate the path to higher education, providing Higher Education Access Partners to host free FAFSA Nights and Financial Aid Nights while also partnering with high school counselors to offer free resources and publications, as well as in-school guidance and assistance to students.

Nathan currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Council of Higher Education Resources. He is also a member of the PennSERVE Advisory Board, providing insight and guidance for the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission, a grantmaking partner of AmeriCorps.  He is also the designee for the PHEAA Board Chair sitting on the Pennsylvania Tuition Account Program Advisory Board, providing guidance on the Commonwealth’s 529 plans which have helped pay more than $4.8 billion in higher education expenses for nearly 146,000 account beneficiaries over the past 30 years. Nathan also teaches graduate studies in the discipline of Project Management as a member of Harrisburg University’s corporate faculty.

Prior to joining PHEAA, he was Executive Director of the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee. beginning his career there in 1999.

Nathan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College and a Master of Business Administration in Management from the Pennsylvania State University. 

Lauren M. Maddox, Senior Policy Advisor
Holland & Knight LLP

Lauren Maddox is a senior policy advisor in Holland & Knight’s Washington, D.C., office and a member of the firm’s Public Policy & Regulation Group. Ms. Maddox provides legislative, regulatory and public relations counsel for a broad range of clients, including Fortune 100 companies, foundations, major universities and nonprofits. She helps craft and implement legislative strategies as well as develops and executes crisis communication and advocacy campaigns.

Ms. Maddox has nearly 30 years of experience working in D.C., representing clients before members in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, including leadership, and in the administration at the White House and key federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Maddox was a principal for a Washington, D.C., government relations and public affairs firm, where she directed its Education Sector Group. Ms. Maddox has extensive experience on Capitol Hill having previously served in senior roles for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), former House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts Jr. (R-Okla.), former Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) and the Department of Education. She also served on a presidential transition team.

At the Education Department, Ms. Maddox was assistant secretary for communications and outreach. As a member of the department’s senior executive team, she led the strategic development and execution of all internal and external communications for the department and for former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Her work included targeting outreach efforts to outside advocates, stakeholders, state and local elected officials, national and regional media, and the general public.

In addition to her work on Capitol Hill and in the administration, Ms. Maddox was a senior communications strategist for two national healthcare trade associations, the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in Washington, D.C.

She also founded a Public Policy Scholarship Fund for women at her alma mater, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School.

Wendy H. McAlister, President and Chief Executive Officer
College Foundation, Inc.

Wendy McAlister serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of College Foundation, Inc. Ms. McAlister graduated from North Carolina State University in 1984 with a baccalaureate degree in accounting. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants. From 1985 until 1993, she worked for the public accounting firm of Koonce, Wooten & Haywood, CPAs in Raleigh, NC. In 1993, Ms. McAlister joined the Foundation as Vice President for Quality Assurance; she assumed responsibility for Financial Services in 1997. From 2003 to 2012, she served in the role of Senior Vice President.

In addition, Ms. McAlister currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Education Alliance, Incorporated. She previously served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2012 to 2015.

Ben Miller, Deputy Under Secretary, Office of the Under Secretary
U.S. Department of Education
 

Ben Miller is a Deputy Under Secretary at the US Department of Education where he focuses on regulatory and accountability policy. He previously served as the Vice President for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress and senior policy advisor in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education. 

Christopher Murray, Partner
Thompson Coburn LLP

Christopher Murray is a founding partner of Thompson Coburn’s Lobbying and Policy Group where his practice focuses on the political and regulatory issues affecting the education sector. He has extensive experience representing institutions, associations, and companies related to eLearning, Title IV program compliance, medical education, federal workforce and military education programs, education technology, international trade, and accreditation. Chris is a frequent speaker and author on various education policy topics, most often on the intersection of technology and education. He also maintains a robust pro bono practice and sits on the Board of Directors of Groundswell, one of the nation’s leading clean energy and workforce development nonprofits. In 2014, National Law Journal named Chris one of its 40 Under 40. 

Alex Nock, Principal
Penn Hill Group

Alex Nock brings over 25 years of experience in federal education, disability, labor, and health policy to the Penn Hill Group. During his time in Washington, DC, Alex has been a part of every major piece of federal education and disability policy legislation. Prior to his position with Penn Hill, he served as the Democratic Deputy Staff Director for the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee. From 2007–2010, Alex oversaw all aspects of the committee’s work relating to elementary and secondary education, higher education, disability policy, early childhood education, healthcare, retirement security, workplace safety, mine safety, workforce training, and national service. He has led numerous reauthorizations while working on Capitol Hill, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Higher Education Act, and the Head Start Act. He was one of the lead staff members responsible for the No ChildLeft Behind Act and has played key roles in the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.

Alex previously served as the Director of the Commission on No Child Left Behind. During his time with the commission, he recruited Commission Co-Chairs Secretary Tommy Thompson and former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, as well as the 13 commission members. Alex managed the completion of the commission’s report, which laid out a comprehensive set of recommendations for improving the No Child Left Behind Act. Prior to the commission, he held several positions, including Education Coordinator for the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee, where he spearheaded all Democratic policy and politics on higher education, elementary and secondary education, workforce and job training, disability policy, and other social service issues. He also worked for Rep. Matthew G. Martinez (D-CA), the Human Resources Subcommittee, and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD). Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland.

Aaron Pevitz, Research Analyst
National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

Aaron Pevitz (he/him/his) is currently a research analyst at the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a center that works with higher education institutions, states, districts, high schools, and educational organizations to better inform practitioners and policymakers about student educational pathways. His research offers objective data and insights about student enrollment, mobility, completion, and other important student outcomes that are visible only through the Clearinghouse data. He is passionate about equity and social justice work in higher education and plans to use his social work degree to create structural and systemic changes. 

Chance Russell, Professional Staff Member
House Education and the Workforce Committee

Chance Russell is a Professional Staff Member for the House Education and Labor Committee, where he handles the higher education portfolio for Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC). Chance has worked for the Education Committee since 2019 and previously served as a Legislative Assistant under the policy team. Prior to joining the Committee, Chance served in the office of former Representative Phil Roe (R-TN), and for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee when Representative Roe served as Chairman. Chance holds a B.A. in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Mississippi, and Master’s degree in Economics from American University. 

Kathleen A. Smith, Sr. VP, Director of Federal Relations, Outreach & Development
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency

Kathleen A. Smith is Sr. VP, Director of Federal Relations, Outreach & Development for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).  She joined the Agency in April 2019.  Ms. Smith represents PHEAA in Washington, DC and serves as the primary liaison between the Agency and the U.S. Congress, along with other federal agencies.

Prior to joining the Agency, Ms. Smith held several senior positions in higher education and student aid-related organizations, including the role of Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Federal Student Aid, Special Assistant to the Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U. S. Department of Education, as well as roles within the Office of Postsecondary Education under multiple administrations.  Ms. Smith has held positions with both the U.S. House and Senate Education Committees, beginning her career as a Financial Aid Administrator for D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY.

Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY, a Master of Public Administration from the University of New Haven in New Haven, CT, and a Master of Arts – Communications: Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, DC.

Chad Tate, President
ECMC
 

Chad Tate serves as the President of ECMC, accountable for guarantor operations and Project Success.  He was previously the Senior Vice President of Operations at ECMC focused on leading positive change and driving efficiency.  He has accountability for financial counseling, bankruptcy, claims, default prevention and collections.  Prior to ECMC he worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota for 25 years where he oversaw various operations and finance functions including claims, investments, and accounting.  He led the business team that implemented the Affordable Care Act.

Chad is focused on building strong cultures built on trust and motivating people to be the most they can be.  He has an undergraduate degree in sociology and a master’s degree in finance from Hamline University.

Chad has served on several non-profit boards, including the local YMCA and food shelf.  He is currently the treasurer for Tutapona, which is an organization the facilitates healing through mental health services for people impacted by war and conflict.

He enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with his wife of 33 years, their 3 boys and 2 daughters in law.

Christiana Thornton, President and Chief Executive Officer
New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation Network

Christiana Thornton became the fourth President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation Network in November of 2018, after serving briefly as President and CEO-Elect. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (NHHELCO) from 2010, including serving on NHHELCO’s Audit Committee, until her appointment as President and CEO-Elect in October 2018. Prior to joining the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation Network, Christiana served as President and CEO of the New Hampshire Bankers Association (NHBA) from 2011 to 2018 and as Vice President of Government Relations of the NHBA from 2008 to 2011. She has been a national leader in the banking industry serving in several appointed positions at the American Bankers Association, including the Community Bankers Council and Credit Union Executive Committee. Likewise, she has held appointed positions at the Independent Community Bankers of America, including the Capital Committee and Mutual Bank Council. Prior to joining the NHBA, Christiana served as a legislative aide to former Sen. John E. Sununu, working in the areas of education, finance, healthcare, and community development. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in communications from Rollins College.

Phillip Wambsganss, Executive Director
Higher Education Servicing Corporation and North Texas Higher Education
Authority, Inc.

Phillip Wambsganss is the Executive Director for Higher Education Servicing Corporation (HESC) and the North Texas Higher Education Authority, Inc. (NTHEA) located in Arlington, Texas. For over 40 years, HESC and NTHEA have worked together to help Texas students and families pursue and achieve a higher education by providing low-cost education loans, borrower focused education loan originations and servicing, industry leading education loan servicing software and systems, and community-based outreach programs. Prior to joining NTHEA and HESC in 1998, Phillip worked in the banking industry for 10 years where he worked for multiple Texas-based community banks. Since joining NTHEA and HESC, he has served on many boards and service organizations including the Education Finance Council, United Way Tarrant County, Arlington Rotary Club, and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, among others. He currently serves as the Assistant Secretary of the Arlington Higher Education Finance Corporation and Greater Texas Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corporation, board member of the Grace Preparatory Academy, and trustee at Rush Creek Church. 

Philip holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas in Arlington and a Master of Business Administration from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas.

Sponsors

ELFI Logo

Education Loan Finance, Inc.

501 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 320
Franklin, TN 37067

Contact: Ron Gambill, Executive Vice President of
Student Lending and Legislative Affairs
Office: (615) 771-8505
rgambill@elfi.com
elfi.com

Education Loan Finance, Inc. (“ELFI”) is a Tennessee nonprofit corporation with its principal office located at 12700 Kingston Pike, Farragut, Tennessee. ELFI has received its 501(c)(3) determination. Established for the purpose of implementing programs to assist eligible borrowers in financing the costs of post-secondary education, ELFI’s primary mission is to fund higher education as a secondary market for (i) student loans originated under the FFELP and (ii) private education loan programs. Over the past decade, ELFI and its subsidiaries have provided funding for scholarships in excess of $25 million for Tennessee students attending eligible post-secondary educational institutions and has funded over $11 billion of student loans. ELFI hosts eCampusTours.com to provide information for college and career planning and it also supports financial literacy through a variety of other programs.

INSERT LOGO

HESC Solutions Inc.
4381 W. Green Oaks Blvd., Suite 200

Arlington, TX 76016-4452

 

Contact: Phillip Wambsganss, Executive Director
Higher Education Servicing Corporation

Office: 817-265-9158 x 4160

phillipw@hescloans.com

 

HESC Solutions Inc. was founded in 2022 as a for-profit subsidiary of Higher Education Servicing Corporation (HESC) and is responsible for marketing and licensing the HELIUM Loan Origination and Servicing System. HESC Solutions also serves as a small business and offers subcontracting services to federal student loan servicers.

 

About HELIUM: The HELIUM Servicing System was developed by Higher Education Servicing Corporation (HESC) and launched in 2017 as its servicing system of record. With its modern coding structure and architectural framework, HELIUM has provided significant improvements in efficiency as well as increased flexibility to easily implement program policies and operating procedures. Its updated UI design offers both users and customers a state-of-the-art experience with countless features and benefits that are continually changing and expanding. In addition to servicing loans, the system also allows for the origination of student, parent and refinance loans. HELIUM can be licensed to third-party holders and servicers of FFELP and private education loans.

 

To learn more, please visit:  https://www.hescsolutions.com/  

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOHELA Logo

Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority

633 Spirit Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005‐1243

Contacts:
Will Shaffner, Director of Business Development & Government Relations
(317) 496-3996
wills@mohela.com

Ginny Burns, Director Borrower Experience & Servicing
(636) 733-3804
ginnyburns@mohela.com
mohela.com

Not only do we provide excellent customer service to our borrowers, we offer…

  • Private student loan servicing
  • FFELP servicing and portfolio acquisition
  • 3rd party professional grade print services (black/white, full color print) customized to your specific needs
  • Affordable, redundant first class mailing options (letters, postcards, custom envelope messaging, inserts, etc.)
  • Income Share Agreements (ISA) product servicing

What can we do for you?

 

Membership Meeting Materials

 

Click the button below to view or download a PDF of the complete set of materials for the NCHER Membership Meeting to be held Wednesday morning at 10:15am.

 

Downloadable Program

 

Click the button below to view or download a PDF of the complete Conference Program, including general information about the conference, daily agenda, hotel map, speaker biographies, sponsors information, conference attendees list, and more!