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  updated 10.27.14



HISTORY
Chapter 4 - Twenty Years of Helping Needy Students: The State Student Assistance Commission 1965-1985
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The State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana, formerly known as the State Scholarship Commission of Indiana, was established in 1965. From an initial authorization of $400,000 for one scholarship program the Commission's scope has expanded to the administration of $24 million in grants and scholarships and eleven different grant and loan activities. Now in its twentieth year, the Commission has undergone many changes. It has moved from a board primarily of educators to a primarily lay board. It has changed from a commission representing the variety of education institutions in the state to a board representing the state's Congressional districts. It has survived ten executive officers and eight Commission chairmen. After having assisted large numbers of needy students to obtain a higher education, the Commission in 1985 is still on the move. What was a dream in the minds of Indiana educators has become a well established responsibility of our state.

Background

With its rich legacy of cooperation between the colleges and universities of the state, with its established system of competitive testing and awards based on financial need, the passage of student assistance legislation was almost inevitable. The legislation became a reality in 1965.

In the 1940s, 50s, and 60s the need for government at all levels to provide assistance for needy students on a large scale became increasingly clear. In 1947, the President's Commission on Higher Education, appointed by President Truman, reports that:

By allowing the opportunity for higher education to depend so largely on the individual's economic status, we are not only denying to millions of young people the chance in life to which they are entitled; we are also depriving the nation of a vast amount of potential leadership and potential social competence it severely needs.33

In 1956, President Eisenhower appointed a commission whose recommendations led to the national Defense Education Act in 1958 and later to the College Work Study Program.

The passage of the NDEA of 1958 had at the same time, jolted the young profession and brought attention to the urgency of having a separately established office in each college charged to administer financial aid. But during 1963-64, the Congress of the United States was clearly growing ready to pass legislation to provide grant assistance and work opportunities for students.

Indiana Post High School Education Study Commission

The General Assembly and the public in general were increasingly concerned that Indiana was denying educational opportunity to its citizens. John Hicks, Senior Vice President of Purdue University, in his "Brief History of Public Higher Education in Indiana" wrote:

By 1960, the general Assembly and the public in general, was becoming more interested in policy questions raised by the growth in student numbers and campuses…. As a result, the 1961 General Assembly created the Indiana Post High School Education Study Commission to consider these and other policy issues, and to report back to the 1963 session with recommendations.34

It its report, issued in 1963, the Commission stated:

…a substantial portion of superior high school graduates across the nation can ill afford to have a significant portion of its [the state's] brightest young citizens and future leaders completing no more than secondary school education… The commission believes that serious consideration should be given to a state scholarship program that will assist superior students who need financial assistance to attend college.35

Recommendation number 8 of the Commission says specifically:

The commission recommends to the Indiana General Assembly that consideration be given to the establishment of an Indiana state scholarship program.36

It was in this climate that Indiana educators, a number of whom were active on the study group, began to cast an envious eye toward their boundary states. Illinois had an established scholarship commission originally designed to equalize the tuition charges between public and private institutions. Michigan's program was well established. Ohio had begun an Insured Loan Program and was considering the Ohio Instructional Grant Program.

Indiana Conference Moves to Support State Program

Converging pressures of enrollment competition and pricing complicated the question on initiating a state scholarship program in 1964. Indiana educators had different expectations of what such a program would do for their institutions. The cost of higher education was escalating at all Indiana colleges. But while food and lodging were rising similarly at public and private schools, the gap between their tuition was widening. Competition was also being felt from other states whose own state programs kept their students at home while they looked at Indiana students to swell their numbers.

Decisions of whether or not there should be a program, the proper timing of the program, and the language of the law would not "just happen." It was in this environment that the Indiana Conference on Higher Education, the conference of college presidents, made it clear that it would signal the time to initiate a bill in the General Assembly.

The financial aid administrators of the state had worked hard at reducing competition. They were not unimpressed with what was going on in other states. The need for greater funding was often discussed in their meetings. Some of their numbers worked as consultants to the Educational Testing Service and had a first hand view of the success of programs in other states.

In March of 1964, Donovan Allen of Indian University, Jean Harvey of Purdue, and Josephine Ferguson of Valparaiso University engaged in a flurry of correspondence with officials of the Educational Testing Service and the College Scholarship Service collecting background information.37 It was more than a coincidence that the top administrators of the state universities who had previously discouraged SAICU from discussing a state program moved to encourage such discussion. They decided to use the November 1964 meeting of the Indiana Conference as their forum. In early October, Dean Robert Farber of DePauw University was requested to prepare a discussion paper for that meeting. The paper was to present a comparative analysis of existing programs in other states. Samuel Braden, Executive Secretary of the Conference and Vice President of Indiana University, made the request of Farber and further encouraged him to work with Allen on the project.38

Farber turned to Louis Fontaine, then Director of Admissions on his campus, for help. Fontaine turned to Ferguson, who was then Scholarship Association of Indiana Colleges and Universities chairman and who had worked closely with ETS on the Scholastic Aptitude Test requirement for the state.39 And so it was that representatives from both public and private institutions were pressed into action. The SAICU organization, accustomed to the sensitivity of addressing the objectives of both public and private education, seized the opportunity to move the effort forward.

The experience of officials of ETS and the College Board was tapped. Bundles of background information moved quickly across the country and from campus to campus in Indiana. The quickly organized committee of Farber, Allen, and Fontaine immediately solicited input from all SAICU members and went about preparing for the Conference meeting scheduled at McCormick's Creek State Park.40

At the same time, SAICU had just voted to abandon the first choice system it had been using to prevent competitive bidding for Indiana scholars. Ferguson was summoned to appear before the Conference to defend the SAICU action. The Conference questioned whether SAICU had overstepped its authority in making such a decision.41

As the presidents assembled on November 5, all of SAICU was rapt with attention on the prospect of what was about to be discussed. Presidents of several institutions had been briefed and encouraged to move the support of the Conference for the legislation.

On November 6, the motion was made by President Elvis Stahr.42 A release from the News Bureau of Indiana University announced:

The Hoosier state's college and university presidents Friday approved in principle a proposal that the legislature be asked to establish a state-wide scholarship program… As outlined in a sample program prepared by Dean Robert Farber of DePauw University, after a study of existing programs in 11 other states… The program would be administered by a board made up of representatives of the state's high schools, the general public and the state's public and private colleges and universities.43

And so the concept was approved and supported. The rest of the story was anti-climatic.

At the same meeting the executive committee of the Conference was asked to draft legislation for the General Assembly. On January 19, 1965 the committee met at the Athletic Club of Indianapolis to discuss and draft a copy of the bill. The committee was composed of Elvis Stahr, President of Indiana University and of the Conference; Alexander Jones, President of Butler University; Melvin W. Hyde, President of Evansville College; Samuel Braden; Robert Farber; F. Reed Dickerson, Professor of Administrative Law, Indiana University; and Josephine Ferguson.44 The draft underwent a number of revisions before it was submitted to the General Assembly in February. Differing concerns of the public and private universities were discussed and negotiated.

SAICU Works for State Scholarship Act

During the General Assembly debate, SAICU remained an active advocate of the legislation sending telegrams and letters of support. A telegram sent to all House members read, "Association endorses and urges passage Indiana Scholarship Act. Association represents 30 public and private institutions of higher education of state. Your support deeply appreciated."45 On February 28, the proposal was approved by both houses. On March 8, 1965, it became law.

It was then clearly too late to make awards for the 1965-66 school year. When summer came the SAICU became concerned that the Commission be appointed and work begun. SAICU President Ferguson wrote President Stahr in July:

Has any action been taken toward the naming of the Commission? … While the implementation of the Scholarship Act in the fall of 1966 may seem a long way off, I am sure you realize the many reasons why planning cannot be delayed much longer.46

In early September the appointments came. The law required that:

The State Scholarship Commission, consisting of twelve (12) persons … shall consist of one (1) representative from each of the four (4) institutions of higher learning operated by the state; four (4) representatives of higher learning from the private institutions of higher learning located in the state; two (2) representatives from the public high schools located in the state; and two (2) persons domiciled in the state who have been chosen for their knowledge of and interest in higher education but who are not employed by, or professionally affiliated with and who are not members of the governing board of, any institution … the governor shall designate a members as chairman. [This Commission closely resembled the membership of the SAICU Executive Council.]47

Scholarship Commission Appointed

The first appointees to the State Scholarship Commission were:

  • Samuel R. Sutphin, Chairman of the Board, the Beveridge Paper Company, Indianapolis, Chairman
  • Richard C. O'Connor, Attorney, New Albany, Vice Chairman
  • Samuel E. Braden, Vice President for Undergraduate Development, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Richard W. Burkhardt, Vice President and Dean of Faculties, Ball State University, Muncie
  • Deane T. Dorwin, Director of Guidance, North Adams Community Schools, Decatur
  • Josephine L. Ferguson, Director of Financial Assistance, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso
  • Wesley E. Haines, President, Franklin College, Franklin
  • John E Horner, President, Hanover College, Hanover
  • John A. Logan, President, Rose Polytechnic Institute, Terre Haute
  • Alexander M. Moore, Principal, Crispus Attucks High School, Indianapolis
  • Nelson Parkhurst, Registrar, Purdue University, Lafayette
  • John W. Truitt, Vice President and Dean of Student Personnel Services, Indiana State University, Terre Haute

The first meeting was held on September 28, 1965, in the office of Governor Roger Branigin. The Governor was present to swear in the Commission and charge the Commission with its important work. It was obvious that the Governor was very proud to be able to convene the first meeting and to have the program begin during his administration. In the weeks and months that followed the Governor's personal oversight of the activities of the Commission continued. His directive to his aides to do all they could to assist in the implementation of the infant program was invaluable to its early success.

Early Days of the Commission

At its first meeting "Samuel Braden was appointed Chairman of a committee to locate and investigate qualified candidates to serve as Executive Secretary of the Commission for consideration by the Commission."49 At the November 2, 1965, meeting of the group, Josephine Ferguson was asked and accepted the position and subsequently resigned her gubernatorially appointed position of the Commission.50

When the new Executive Secretary opened the first Commission office on the fifth floor of the State Office Building there were not other officials in state government working in higher education activities. To inform other offices of the state of the Commission's role required a special effort. The Commission had agreed at its first meeting that all plans for making awards should be completed during the second semester for students entering college in the fall of 1966.51 The task of publicizing the availability to high school counselors, getting students registered for the SAT which they were required to take, and developing the liaison with high school principals all had to be accomplished in a few short months. Somehow, and in a great measure due to the close cooperation with SAICU, the ETS, and the Governor's Office, the task was accomplished. The following is an excerpt taken from an early report:

Within less than a month after its first meeting, the Commission had approved a calendar of operation for the first year. Literature on the program and an application for first year awards had been printed and distributed to each of the high schools and other secondary schools of the State. Publicity on the program was released and a January 8, 1966 deadline set for the receipt of applications.

A total of 6,618 students filed applications. In February, 3,250 of this group were named semi-finalists. In the fall of 1966, 1,828 Hoosier Scholars entered thirty-three colleges and universities of the state. Among this group were sixty-four upperclass students. A total of $392,930.00 was expended for scholarships.

In implementing its complex program so expeditiously, the Commission is greatly indebted to the generous support and cooperation it received from Governor Roger D. Branigin, the high schools of the state, the colleges and universities of the state, Attorney General John Dillon and his staff and the College Entrance Examination Board.52

Commission Objectives Broaden

Ambitious as was the task of the Commission to make scholarship awards in the fall of 1966, the Commission took on other programs during its first year.

The landmark Higher Education Act was passed in 1965. This legislation provided for the allocation of federal funds to individual states to establish or strengthen reserve funds for a Guaranteed College Student Loan Program within each state. The same Act provided for the Education Opportunity Grant (EOG) Program. As a part of the EOG legislation the Higher Education Act provided for funds, up to $100,000 per year to nonprofit organizations, to develop programs to fulfill these purposes.53

The State Scholarship Act stated:

The purpose of the Act … to increase opportunities for a higher education for all persons domiciled within the state who, though wanting such an education and being highly qualified for it, are deterred by financial considerations.54

The federal legislation stated:

It is the purposed of this part to provide, through institutions of higher education, educational opportunity grants to assist in making available the benefits … of exceptional financial need, who for lack of financial means of their own or of their families would be unable to obtain …55

The Commission saw these purposes as closely paralleling one another. They further believed that the Commission was the logical agency of the state to implement these programs. Thus, on February 18, 1966, in a letter from Governor Branigin to the Honorable Dr. Harold Howe, United State Commissioner of Education, the Governor designated the State Scholarship Commission of Indiana to establish a State Loan Agency.56 In the same month, the Commission in cooperation with the Indiana Conference on Higher Education and with the further cooperation of SAICU, the Indiana Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, the Indiana Personnel and Guidance Association, the Indiana Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Committee on High School College Cooperation drafted a proposal for TUTEOR-Talent Utilization Through Educational Opportunity Resources.57 And so it was to be, SSACIs work was not to be limited to scholarship awarding. The agency became the state student assistance commission of Indiana, a name it did not take until 1977.

Many Commissioners Have Served

In its twenty years the Commission has been served by forty-five Indiana men and women. Nelson Parkhurst, now Emeritus Registrar of Purdue University, served the longest. A member of the initial Commission, he served actively for nineteen years until 1983. John Horner, also a charter member, served for eighteen years. Both men also served as chairman. Parkhurst chaired the group from 1979 through 1982 and Horner was chairman in 1978. John Truitt, of Indiana State University, served for thirteen years and John Logan, or Rose Polytechnic Institute, for twelve years. Norman Beck, of Ball State University, Wallace Graves, of the University of Evansville, Harold Manuel, of Gary Roosevelt High School, and Jack Weicker, of South Side High School in Fort Wayne each served for nine years. J. Fred Risk, Chairman of the Board, Indiana National Bank of Indianapolis, served the Commission as its Chairman for six years. This chairmanship, the longest of the Commission, followed his service to the Commission as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Insured Loans. Many Hoosiers dedicated to financing higher education for Indiana students have given much time, concern, and effort without financial renumeration from the state. A complete list of persons who have served on the Commission is found in Appendix XII. Certainly they were the anchor which held the Commission and preserved it from the varying ill winds during the years.

Programs Administered by the Commission

The Commission, by 1985, had been involved in the administration of fifteen different programs. until 1973, it was occupied with only the three programs mentioned. Already in 1967, however, the reserve fund in the new Insured Loan Program was exhausted. A crisis arose as students were unable to receive an approval of their loans. The Governor accepted the offer of the U.S. Commissioner of Education to underwrite loans through the Federal Insured Loan Program.58 Under this arrangement Indiana continued to process loans at the Commission for several years before that guarantee function was assumed by the U.S. Office of Education in Chicago.

From 1970 to 1978 the Commission's involvement with the 1966 program was limited to collection efforts. In 1978, the State Loan Program was again instituted. The TUTEOR Program ceased to operate under state auspices in 1970.

Under the first state scholarship program, students were ranked with composite index derived from their SAT scores and high school rank. On the basis of this ranking awards were made in descending sequence in an amount commensurate with the student's financial need. From the first, however, there was concern that the "disadvantaged students" and the "late bloomers" with great financial need and ability to succeed would be left out of the system. The beginning of TUTEOR which identified and worked to motivate these students exacerbated this concern. Means of interpreting the original act to allow for awards to this group of students were determined to be illegal.

In 1971, this concern was resolved in the enactment of the Indiana Educational Grant Program. This program provided assistance to students from the lowest income families who did not qualify for outstanding scholarship recognition.

In 1973, another long-time concern was resolved with the enactment of the Freedom of Choice Grant Program. These awards which are given to student attending the private colleges and universities of the state are intended to supplement state scholarships and grants. Incentive for this legislation was given by the Lilly Foundation offer to seed the program with $1 million to fund the program for the first two years.

An infusion of funds was made into the state programs in 1974 when federal legislation began the State Student Incentive Grant Program. The program's purpose is to encourage state involvement in scholarship and grant programs. That program was provided the state with annual awards from $426,000 in 1974 as high as $1,614,941 in 1980.59

Through the Acts of 1973, the Commission was given the "Top Twenty Hoosier Scholars Program." This program, which operated between 1973 and 1982, gave awards based solely on academic achievement and was abolished in 1981.

During much of the 1970s the dominant programs of the Commission were the original State Scholarship Program, the Educational Grant Program which targeted those not qualified for scholarships, and the freedom of Choice Program. Appendix VIII describes all fifteen programs and explains their origin and lifespan. Appendix VII details the funding levels.

As stated earlier, 1978 brought he rebirth of the Guaranteed Student Loan Program. That program, from 1978 through December 1984, has insured $664,217,717 in loans.

The Programs of the 1980s

The Acts of 1981, Public Law 202 brought major changes to the work of the Commission. It essentially eliminated the old State Scholarship Program the Indiana Education Grant Program, and the Top Twenty Hoosier Scholars Program. In their place it established the Higher Education Award (HEA) Program and the Hoosier Scholar Award Program. The Freedom of Choice Program continued.

In its establishment of the HEA program, the General Assembly removed any requirement that students take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or prove their academic aptitude through other means. Eligibility is limited to "those applicants who are least able to provide funds for the cost of education;" So as not to disregard scholastic ability of Indiana students, Public Law 202 simultaneously deleted the Top Twenty Hoosier Scholars Program and created the "Hoosier Scholar Award." Instead of limiting scholastic awards to only twenty students, this program permits the Commission to make between one and three awards per high school based on the size of the graduating class. The General Assembly provided enough flexibility to allow awards to be presented to students who demonstrate outstanding achievement. The awards are issued according to the following schedule:

1 - 50 students 1 award 51 - 300 students 2 awards 301 or more students 3 awards

These Indiana Hoosier Scholar Awards are non-renewable awards of $500. The student must attend an eligible Indiana postsecondary institution. Financial need of the student is not considered.

Six other assistance programs were assigned to the Commission in quick succession. The Insured Loan Program in 1982 expanded to initiate the PLUS Program for parents and graduate students. This program, which operates with rules similar to the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, permits parents and graduate students to borrow up to $3,000 per year or an aggregate of $15,000. Repayment begins sixty days from the origination of the loan. The current rate of interest is 12%.

Categorical Aid Programs

The Indiana Medical and Nursing Distribution Loan Fund began in 1974 and was administered by the Indiana Medical and Nursing Distribution Board of Trustees until it was transferred to the Commission in 1981 as part of Public Law 227. Under this program, residents of the state who have been accepted for or are enrolled in medical school approved by the state may borrow $1,000 a year up to $5,000. These loans may be repaid through providing primary care in a shortage area in the state.60

Responding to a need to provide qualified teachers in the state, particularly in mathematics and science, in 1984 Senate Bills 575 and 404 respectively introduced the Teacher Shortage Financial Assistance Fund and the Education Loan Repayment Fund. The former provides grants or interest free loans for students planning to enter the teaching profession in the math and science fields, or other shortage area as designated. Such aid recipients must agree to teach in public schools in the state for at least three of the next five years. The latter program repays 50% of the total indebtedness of a borrower of $2,000 a year, whichever is less, for past student loan recipients who are willing to accept jobs in shortage areas. $50,000 was appropriated for this purposed in the 1983-84 biennium.61

College Work Study

A more dramatic breatkthrough in student assistance programs came as a result of Senate bill 403 in 1983 which established a State Work Study Program. The program is supported by the General Assembly with contributions from private business and industry. $50,000 was provided for this purpose in 1984-85. In the State Work Study Program, awards vary in size and funds are used for summer employment as well as employment during the academic year.

Last Resort Lender Program

In 1982, a Last Resort Lender Program was implemented to assure that any student wishing to borrow through the Guaranteed Student Loan Program would have an opportunity to do so. This program, a supplement to the Indiana Guaranteed Loan Program, was begun in conjunction with the Citizens National Bank of Evansville and the Indiana Secondary Market for Education Loans, Inc.

Focus of SSACI Programs in Cyclical

In some ways the aid programs in Indiana have come full circle in the last fifty years. Certainly the need for teachers in scarce fields provided impetus for the 1935 legislation which triggered cooperative testing. Now, in 1985, the State Commission is working with all institutions, public and private, to carry out some of the same objectives.

Close scrutiny of the progression of legislated SSACI programs shows trends from aid for merit to aid for need. The cyclical rise and fall of one persuasion versus another parallels this same cycle nationally. Indiana's first thrust was to reward the meritorious to the extent of their need, and thus scholars were selected on the basis of high school rank and Scholastic Aptitude Test scores. The size of the stipend was given according to need. As the national trend in the late sixties called for aid for the disadvantaged the Indiana Educational Grant Program was born in 1971. In 1973, the General Assembly and the Lilly Foundation saw a need to narrow the gap between the public and private tuition costs and thus the Freedom of Choice Program came into being. But the desire to somehow reward the top scholars regardless of need resurfaced in the Top Twenty Scholars Program in 1981. In 1982, all scholastic requirements were dropped when the original scholarship program was repealed and the Higher Education Award Program inaugurated.

Similarly the issue of aiding students at public institutions versus private institutions has been one which has come and gone throughout the twenty years of SSACI programs. There was little concern in 1965 about aid to satisfy the need for employees in shortage fields and little concern about addressing Indiana's other occupational needs. In 1984, programs to address categorical needs have been reshaped and addressed directly. Certainly future legislation will again modify the focus and direction of financial aid.

SSACI Eligible Institutions

Something should be said about the numbers and types of institutions in the state eligible to receive Commission funding. In 1966, thirty-seven public and private institutions in Indiana received funds through the State Scholarship Program. In 1984-85, thirty-four private, seventeen public, and six hospital schools of nursing received funds through the scholarship and grant programs. The enumeration of fifty-seven institutions counts all campuses of Indiana, Purdue, Indiana State and Vincennes Universities as separate entities. Indiana Vocational Technical College with its thirteen regions and many satellite locations is counted as one institution. Profit-making institutions of postsecondary education are not eligible for the scholarship and grant programs even though there continues to be much advocacy that they be included. Neither are the awards made available to half-time students as in the programs administered by the federal government.

In the Guaranteed Student Loan Programs, the profit-making institutions have been eligible from the outset. This is governed by the definition of an eligible institution in the Higher Education Act. As of June 30, 1983, 462 lending institutions in the state participated in the programs.62

Governance and Leadership of the Commission

The governance of the Commission as well as the expertise of the Commission's staff have greatly influenced its ability to carry out the perceived purposes of the agency. The Commission itself was originally designed to include ten educators and two lay persons. When the educators predominated, the Commission was not without difficulties as each had his or her parochial views and these differing views had to be compromised. In the late 1970s, however, the Commission's membership began to include more lay persons and this movement to a lay board continued until, in 1983, the membership was all lay. With the dominance of non-educators, members were forced to work hard to gain a basic understanding of the complexities of financial aid. A few were willing to devote the time and interest to such study. Many were not. Others did not stay with the Commission for a sufficient time to enable them to make competent judgments on the relevant issues.63

Similarly, the change from a non-political appointment of the executive officer to a political one made the Commission's work much more difficult and often frustrating. The 1965 State Scholarship Act asserted the Commission's authority to employ such directors as it believed necessary. As early as 1968, however, Governor Edgar Whitcomb placed a political appointee in the position of Executive Secretary.

Dr. John Horner, one of the two commissioners to serve the longest has said:

Mr. [Robert] Sinnaeve became Acting Executive Secretary first and then Executive Secretary in 1969. However, Governor Edgar Whitcomb had assumed office and was anxious to put his own people in positions of influence. Although the law indicated that the commission had the prerogative to appoint the Executive Secretary, the "concurrence" of the Governor was always sought. As a result, Mr. Claude Hughes, who had absolutely no experience in financial aid programs or in higher education, was appointed. Mr. Hughes continued through the 1969-70 years … This period was characterized by the commission almost organizing itself because of a lack of administrative leadership.64

From that time until 1981 there was ongoing dialogue between the Commission and the Governor over appointment authority. In 1981, the law was amended to give the right to the Governor. This tension between the office of the state's chief executive and the Commission took its toll on the operation of the Commission.

The Commission has a succession of political appointees as Executive Secretary. Some had considerable success. On occasion it was the leadership of the Commission Chairman together with the ability of the Executive Secretary which combined to spare the operations from criticism. Dr. Horner says:

[In] 1971 Mr. [Michael] Cracraft was a settling influence … as executive secretary and the commission turned its attention during 1971-72 more to policy matters than to administrative and supervisory surveillance. J. Fred Risk was the chairman of the commission from 1969-1974 and provided excellent leadership in dealing with these policy considerations, particularly in the implementation of the different types of financial aid programs. For example, the Grant Program, Freedom of Choice and State Student Incentive Grants all had either their policy birth and/or dollar birth during these years.

My impression is that we had very little criticism of the commission during the Cracraft years.65

The Commission was also constrained in its hiring and general operational tasks by the lack of sufficient salary to attract qualified persons and by bureaucratic considerations of life within a governmental unit. The caliber of the candidates considered for a position had to be balanced between how much salary was available and the qualification which could be purchased for that sum. Once the problem of gaining the greatest competence for the money was resolved, he executive officer was faced with the bureaucratic morass which greatly limited his or her effectiveness. For example, critical as was the SSACI's dependency on computer capability, the executive officer was bound to a state facility not capable of serving all units of state government and which ranked the Commission's work as low on its priority scale. It was little wonder that there was so much turnover of staff, such dismay on the part of the Commission and the general public and such frustration on the part of an often well-meaning but naïve executive officer. The interaction of the changing executive officer, the changing chairmanship of the Commission, and the movement form a group of educators to a lay commission created a dynamic charged for explosion. Former Commission Chairman Horner writes:

The early days of Allen Abel's tenure were not generally "problem" periods. However, the increased participation by students in the form of applications precipitated more problems. At the same time, the state appeared to refuse to recognize two things-(1) the need for qualified personnel and not just bodies to occupy positions in the Commission office and (2) the need for independent computerized services for the Commission. The managerial tasks and the combination of increased administration, the expansion of programs and the great influx of dollars brought difficult problems. At the same time that these problems were on the rise, Mr. Risk was no longer Chairman. Ardath Burkhart served the chairmanship for three years. Although she had interest in financial aid, the commitment of time and energy did not parallel her basic interest. Hence, the staff was pretty much "on its own." It was a time when we needed both strong leadership in the positions of Chairman and in the position of Executive Secretary.66

During an interim period when there was transition from a Commission primarily of educators to one of lay persons both John Horner and Nelson Parkhurst, the most senior members of the Commission, served as Chairman for one year and three years, respectively. The nagging problems of inadequate staff and insufficient computerization continued to plague their administrations. Dr. Horner writes:

At the request of Governor Bowen, I agreed to assume the chairmanship for on year 1978 and for one year only. It was a year of tremendous transition. Mr. [James] Sunday was new in the office of Executive Secretary and it was during this time that "professional educators" were partially supplanted by the general citizenry on the Commission. At a later date, the "educational professional" would e totally removed. In 1978, we were faced with significant administrative problems, as well as with the "education" of lay Commissioners who knew little or nothing about financial aid … We did our best to obtain additional staff for Mr. Sunday, as well as some preferential treatment with relationship existed between Mr. Sunday and the Commission … Hence, in 1981, Donald Moreau was brought from another branch of state government to clean up the "administrative mess.: It was also during this period of time that the legislation was changed so that the Governor had the prerogative of choosing the Executive Secretary.67

In addressing the many forces which have influenced the administration of the Commission, the influence of Indiana's Commission on Higher Education should not be ignored. The Commission has played an active role in the surveillance and support or non-support of the Commission's work. During times of administrative struggle the Higher Education Commission had indicated a lack of faith in the way the State Student Assistance Commission has met its objectives. In so doing, and in its measure of support for funding levels for the Commission, the Higher Education Commission has become another level of review of the competence of the SSACI.

The current Commission staff is organized into three divisions with an Executive Director, a Deputy Director, and three division directors. The Executive Director is William Du Bois and the Deputy Director is Sharon Miller. Louis Fontaine, formerly an ISFAA President, is Director of the Division of Scholarships and Grants. Dennis Obergfell is Director of the Loan Program.

 

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