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James Kennedy

Associate Vice President, University Student Services and Systems, Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana
Office Representing: System Head

As the associate vice president for University Student Services and Systems at Indiana University (IU), James Kennedy works with all seven IU campuses on financial aid strategy, research, systems, business processes, training, and compliance. Kennedy's responsibilities also include functional oversight of the student information system for admissions, student records, financial aid, and veterans affairs. He has presented on financial aid and affordability issues to many organizations, including the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and other legislative committees. Kennedy has been appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-IN) to serve on the Board of the Indiana Education Savings Authority (IESA), focused on helping families save for college. Before coming to IU in February 2006, Kennedy—who has over 28 years' experience in higher education—performed leadership roles in financial aid and student services at North Dakota State University, The University of Minnesota, and Emory University.  

How did you first get interested in or involved in higher education issues?

"I became involved in higher education issues when I was working with students and families early in my career. In the discussions, it was clear the cost of a college education was a roadblock to completion, especially for low-income families," Kennedy said. "Financial aid plays a critical role and must be part of any enrollment management strategy. This includes working to ensure that funding levels are adequate by working with national, regional, and local higher education associations. I have also been a liaison with campus government relations staff to be part of discussions with legislators on proposed changes to financial aid. This has resulted in numerous opportunities to give input on affordability issues with the overall goal of implementing policies to better assist students."

Why did you apply to be a part of the Forward50? What drew you to this opportunity?

"Indiana University continues to focus on a variety of student issues related to financial aid. These include affordability, financial literacy, and saving for college. Our research has focused on how to use data to drive decisions on ways to best assist students," Kennedy said. "I also have coordinated discussions on how to improve financial aid through my financial aid colleagues at the seven Indiana University campuses. With the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, my goal is provide input into a long term financial aid strategy to assist students. I also consider the Foward50 an outstanding opportunity to work with others in higher education on proposing changes to the overall financial aid process to address affordability, retention, and completion."

Leadership roles with professional associations:

  • Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA): Past Chair of Federal Relations
  • Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (ISFAA): Past Government Relations Commissioner

Membership(s) held with other professional associations:

  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
  • Indiana Education Savings Authority (IESA) Board
  • Higher Education Users Group (HEUG)