Senior Associate Director, University of Massachusetts–Amherst
Office Representing: Admissions
Jon Westover has worked in college admissions for the last 20 years at a variety of institutions throughout New York and Massachusetts. He started as an admissions counselor in 1998 and currently serves as the senior associate director at University of Massachusetts–Amherst, where he manages the recruitment and selection of the incoming first-year class of about 4,650 students from an applicant pool of 43,000 students from across the world. In this role, Westover aims to provide access to higher education for a diverse group of students from a multitude of geographic areas, and at all income levels.
How did you first get interested in or involved in higher education issues?
"My first experience was lobbying elected officials regarding education issues was when I was still an undergraduate student at SUNY Potsdam," Westover said. "I had the opportunity to speak with my assemblyman about tuition levels and issues regarding financial aid at public institutions. When I became an admissions counselor, I also joined the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) where I was able to combine my love of politics with my advocacy efforts for all students in the college admissions process. As part of my involvement at both the state and national levels, I have met with elected officials to emphasize the importance of funding education at all levels. Through these efforts I have learned how important it is to advocate for students who usually have no one to advocate for them."
Why did you apply to be a part of the Forward50? What drew you to this opportunity?
"The Higher Education Act (HEA) is an important piece of legislation that impacts the work I do on a daily basis," Westover said. "As congress works to create their own bill, I feel they need to hear from those of us who work most closely with students throughout the admissions and financial aid processes. We need to encourage congress that access to higher education is the most effective way to change a student's life and circumstances. A minimal investment in education results in significant returns not only for the individual, but also for the community."
Leadership roles with professional associations:
Membership(s) held with other professional associations: