Dr. Normah Salleh-Barone, vice president for Student Development at Moraine Valley Community College, is one of 50 higher education leaders from across the country chosen to participate in Forward50. The committee was assembled by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), of which the college is a member.
Forward50 committee members will meet over the next 18 months to share best practices and ideas on improving financial aid at the federal level. Collectively, they will write four white papers on their recommendations in policy areas related to access, affordability, accountability, and transparency. These recommendations will be shared with Congress.
Salleh-Barone was selected from 200 applicants to work with leaders from community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities. Other committee members are college presidents, admissions staff, financial aid leaders, enrollment managers, and students. Moraine Valley is the only community college from Illinois represented.
With less than 10 community colleges on the committee, Salleh-Barone will have a big voice on financial aid policies at two-year institutions. “In all my roles in higher education, I have been a champion for low-income, first-generation, underrepresented, and immigrant students, and the importance of reviewing programs, services and policies to support college completion,” she said. “At Moraine Valley, my team and I have created programs to support students who receive financial aid in maintaining their funding so they can graduate. I’m excited to share our effective practices.”
In preparation for the group’s first meeting this month in Washington, D.C., Salleh-Barone held focus groups on campus to get students’ perspectives on financial aid. She also collected data from the college’s financial aid representatives on what they perceive are the common challenges and what they would like to see changed in federal policies.
According to NASFAA, Forward50 is a result of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to convene the Higher Education Committee of 50, tasked with developing policy solutions to help surmount obstacles preventing students from enrolling, paying for and graduating from college. The grant will pay for travel and lodging for the committee’s members.
“I’m most looking forward to learning what other institutions are doing. There are a lot of big universities in this group, and I think our shared ideas will help strengthen our existing programs,” Salleh-Barone said.