Associate Vice President for Enrollment Planning and Management, University of South Florida
Office Representing: Financial Aid
Billie Jo Hamilton serves as the associate vice president for enrollment planning and management at the University of South Florida (USF). In her role, she supervises the Office of the Registrar and University Scholarships & Financial Aid Services. She participates in numerous activities and committees that focus on access, affordability, and degree attainment. The university's success, she said, has been recognized by several national organizations in the past year, and of particular note, the elimination of the achievement gap by race and Pell Grant status.
How did you first get interested in or involved in higher education issues?
"I actually started working in the financial aid office as a student, and based on that experience, chose to pursue employment in that field after graduate school," Hamilton said. "After beginning my career at two medical schools (Kansas University and the University of Tennessee), I redirected my focus to traditional public institutions and have progressed to my current leadership role at USF. I have seen firsthand the impact that financial aid has in creating access to and completion of higher education for many who never believed that degree attainment was a financial possibility for them. Through my professional association involvement, I have also learned to be an advocate for the student aid programs, not only in the states in which I reside, but at the federal level as well. We can never become complacent—our students are counting on us to be their voices!"
Why did you apply to be a part of the Forward50? What drew you to this opportunity?
"Because of the work we are doing at USF in breaking down silos to support students, I have seen the significant impact that can be realized through collaboration and putting folks together to discuss and work through problems," Hamilton said. "This engagement and respectful conflict has resulted in some creative ideas that would never have surfaced had we not been empowered to look more objectively at what we have done historically and had folks not been willing to pull back the curtains in their own areas. We have also starting moving away from managing 'by anecdote,' and are now using predictive analytics and institutionally produced data to direct the right resources to the right students at the right time. As a member of the Forward 50, I believe I can be a meaningful contributor to the goals and objectives of the group, while also expanding my knowledge as I engage with a broad representation of influencers in higher education."
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