“I am just so excited to be a part of something that has the ability to impact the future of education,” said Roark about his recent appointment to the National Campus Leadership Council’s National Affordability Working Group.
The National Affordability Working Group lends their perspectives and expertise to NCLC, which is preparing to release a report on federal financial aid. This work will build on NCLC’s Students Speak Series, which brought more than 200 student leaders and 100 business leaders together in 15 cities to discuss regional job readiness and college opportunity challenges.
“I am so honored to be chosen for the working group,” he said. “It is not every day that a college student has the ability to represent all students in this country. This working group is a huge step in the direction of where I ultimately want to end up – making policy.”
Roark, a criminology and criminal justice major with a political science minor and member of the Pierre Laclede Honors College, grew up in Jefferson City, Mo. He’s always had an interest in law and politics.
“National officials are making some enormous decisions about the future of higher education,” Andy MacCracken, the executive director and cofounder of NCLC, said in a news release. “NCLC’s Working Group will make sure student voices are a meaningful part of that process.”
Beyond providing support and feedback for the report, the working group will help develop and drive NCLC’s national engagement strategy as the country navigates challenging policy questions on student debt, college value and student success.
“If we are able to find ways to help lower college costs and help students get better jobs after graduation then that is an enormous accomplishment,” he said.
The working group includes 18 current student body presidents from a variety of public and private four-year and two-year institutions from across the country. NCLC’s research and pending report on student engagement in federal education policy was generously supported by the Lumina Foundation.
NCLC has led major initiatives on college affordability since their 2012 launch. In 2012 and 2013, they worked with more than 450 student body presidents to successfully advocate to maintain low student loan interest rates. Since then, the organization has helped student leaders navigate institutional and state level policies to address college costs and student loan debt.