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3/23/2007 - Jackson, Miss.

Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith has initiated a financial aid task force to assess current state and institutional financial aid policies and programs to determine ways to increase university access and student success. The task force, which met Tuesday for the first time, is expected to submit their recommendations by late April for consideration by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) in May.

The IHL Board of Trustees aims to increase the number of Mississippians with a university degree, because a well-educated population is crucial to the future well-being of the state. Nevertheless, only 16.9 percent of Mississippians currently have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 24.4 percent of the nation’s population.

“Financial aid plays a vital role in helping Mississippi students attain their educational goals,” said Commissioner Meredith. “Approximately 80 percent of all undergraduates receive some form of financial assistance.”

The financial aid task force is made up of representatives from each of the state's eight public universities and IHL Executive Office staff members, including:

Dr. Bucky Wesley, who is also serving as Chair,
Vice President for Student Services, Mississippi University for Women

Ms. Mary Jane Covington,
State Director of Student Financial Aid, IHL

Mr. Bruce Crain,
Director of Student Financial Aid, Mississippi State University

Mr. André Curry,
Vice President for Fiscal and Administrative Affairs, Mississippi Valley State University

Ms. Laura Diven-Brown,
Director of Financial Aid, University of Mississippi

Dr. Velvelyn Foster,
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Life, Jackson State University

Mr. Hubert Graves,
Project Manager and Systems Analyst, IHL

Mr. Jamaal A. Jackson,
President, Student Government Association, Jackson State University

Ms. Emily Jennings,
Student, Delta State University

Dr. Linda McFall,
Assistant Commissioner for Finance and Administration, IHL

Ms. Barbara Madison
Bursar, University of Southern Mississippi

Mr. Dan Miller
Director of Financial Aid, Mississippi University for Women

Dr. Kristy Motter,
Director of Financial Aid, University of Southern Mississippi

Ms. Cheryl Mowdy,
Director of Support Operations, IHL

Ms. Ann Margaret (Mary) Mullins,
Director of Financial Aid, Delta State University

Dr. Peter Rabideau,
Provost, Mississippi State University

Ms. Theodora Rowan,
Controller, Alcorn State University

Ms. Maura Sullivan,
Manager, Student Accounting Office, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Mr. Drew Taggart,
President-Elect, Associated Student Body, University of Mississippi

Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.


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