Helen Faith, Director of Student Financial Aid at UW-Madison, has been elected as the 2023-24 National President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).
NASFAA is the only national nonprofit association primarily focused on information dissemination, professional development, and legislative and regulatory analysis related to federal student aid programs. Its members consist of more than 32,000 student financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 institutions, serving nine out of 10 undergraduate students in the United States.
“I admire Helen’s ability to keep students at the forefront of public policy while thinking about pragmatic policy implementation and look forward to working with her in the future,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger.
Faith is a Certified Financial Aid Administrator with over 20 years of experience in two- and four-year institutions, public and private. Since August 2020, she has worked closely with campus partners and various stakeholders to continue to expand access and affordability for Wisconsin students while leading her team through an ongoing period of uncertainty and change without precedent in a hybrid environment. She oversaw the distribution of more than $35 million in Federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants to students impacted by COVID-19 and led cross-campus efforts to support students. undergraduate without traditional family support.
Students like Sadie Stelter, a fourth-year English and Art History major, testify to the impact of Faith’s work. “Helen has made such a difference in my college career in the short time I’ve known her,” Stelter says. “She showed me a kindness that financially challenged students like me rarely receive and earned my trust and respect. The work she does helps students tremendously and she has made a huge difference in my life.
Faith is also a leader in improving student financial aid policies, practices and funding. She pioneered programs and resources to help UW students, alumni, and employees navigate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Temporary Exemption, and her in-depth knowledge of policies and regulations was an essential resource for colleagues and policy advocates. She has lent her expertise in the federal process of developing negotiated rules for the US Department of Education and organizations like NASFAA and the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA). In 2021, Faith was elected to serve as the General Representative on the NASFAA Board of Directors and currently serves as a mentor for NASFAA’s award-winning Diversity Leadership Program, which she helped develop. In her work with organizations like NASFAA, she has connected academic researchers with financial aid practitioners to collaborate in recognizing and addressing biases in financial aid administration.
As National President, Faith will oversee the work of NASFAA’s Board of Directors, Committees and Task Forces. The National President works closely with the President and NASFAA staff to set priorities and coordinate initiatives to promote student access and success in higher education.
“Helen’s leadership comes at a critical time in federal policymaking where her commitment to equity and research will be put to good use,” says Nick Hillman, professor of educational leadership and policy analysis and director of the SSTAR laboratory (Student Success Through Applied Research). .
“For Helen, this opportunity is a testament to her commitment and the respect she has among her peers,” said Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “It is an honor for UW-Madison and Wisconsin to have someone on our team leading the way, not just on the financial aid profession and future policy, but on access and affordability for all students.”
Faith was also recently admitted to the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program at UW-Madison to earn her Ph.D. She holds a master’s degree in educational policy, foundations, and administration from Portland State University and a bachelor’s degree with honors in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.