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Financial aid director, committee make recommendations for higher ed success

| Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Notre Dame director of financial aid Mary Nucciarone worked as part of the Higher Education Committee of 50, which Wednesday released a report of 36 recommendations for student success in college, according to a Wednesday press release from the University.

“The [Higher Education Committee of 50] report is a roadmap to fair access to universities, which is opposite to scandal we have witnessed in recent days,” Nucciarone said in the release. “This group of educational leaders is committed to providing all qualified students, regardless of socio-economic status, the information they need about the many opportunities for postsecondary education.”

Nucciarone said the goal of the report is to inform the public on how higher education can be made more accessible.

“We believe our report provides practical recommendations on how access barriers can be broken down, particularly for low-income or first-generation students,” she said in the release. “The public policy recommendations are focused on strategies to improve federal aid delivery and holding institutions accountable for educational outcomes.”

According to its website, the Higher Education Committee of 50 (HEC50) was formed in late 2017 by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a nonprofit group of financial aid specialists. The committee featured college presidents, governing board members, enrollment managers, admissions and financial aid staff as well as students. According to the release, the group analyzed policy relating to “access, affordability, accountability and transparency” in higher education to make their recommendations. The project was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The 36 recommendations provided by the committee are designed to improve the affordability of college for students and families while keeping in mind the concerns of taxpayers and college employees, the release said.

Recommendations from the committee include calling for the Department of Education to provide more transparency in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, permitting students to file a one-time FAFSA and eliminating higher education tax credits in favor of rolling the funds into the Federal Pell Grant program.

As director of financial aid, Nucciarone advises the University on financial aid policy and oversees all Office of Financial Aid operations, including those relating to scholarships, student employment and public relations.

According to the release, Nucciarone is a College Board trustee, chair of the College Board Higher Ed Colloquium Planning Committee, serves on the College Board Task Force on Reauthorization and holds a seat on the Scholarship Foundation of St. Joseph County.

Nucciarone and other group members will present the full report to Congress on March 14.

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