Streaming live: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at 1 PM ET

In Part 2 of a two-week series on serving low-income and first-generation college students, contributors to the new Lumina Foundation guidebook Beyond Financial Aid will join Student Affairs Live co-host Heather Shea Gasser for a discussion about student access, retention, and success. According to the Lumina Foundation website, “Beyond Financial Aid is a toolkit designed to help two- and four-year institutions close attainment gaps for low-income students.” The document provides six proven strategies that campuses can implement to help low-income students overcome the challenges created by limited financial resources. In addition, a comprehensive self-assessment tool will provide campus administrators with information and data about their own campuses as they work to understand the current status of low-income students. Joining Heather for this episode are Thomas Major, Jr., Priyadarshini Chaplot, and Robert Johnstone. Detailed bios of the three guests are below.

This is the second episode of a two-part series about serving first-generation and low-income students. On September 2nd, Heather talks with four scholars, practitioners, and educators about #YOUBELONG: WELCOMING FIRST-GEN & LOW-INCOME STUDENTS TO CAMPUS.


Episode Host

Heather Shea Gasser

Heather Shea Gasser

Heather Shea Gasser’s career in student affairs spans 16+ years and five different campuses, and involves experience in many different functional areas including residence life, multicultural affairs, women’s centers, student activities, leadership development, and commuter/nontraditional student services–she is a true Student Affairs Generalist. Heather is currently serving as the assistant director of RISE (Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment), a living-learning community at Michigan State University while also a full-time doctoral student in MSU's HALE (Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education) Program. She completed her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University in 2000. She currently serves as the Director of Membership Development for ACPA-College Student Educators International and blogs for Feminists in Student Affairs. Connect with Heather on Twitter at @heathergasser


Thomas Major, Jr.

Thomas Major, Jr., serves as corporate counsel & strategy officer for Lumina Foundation. Thomas develops and implements strategies to advance Goal 2025 – increasing the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. In addition to supporting Lumina’s general counsel/chief of staff on a variety of legal and fiduciary matters, Thomas’ work focuses on supporting efforts that engage higher education systems and institutions to increase completion rates and close attainment gaps of underrepresented and low-income students. Connect with the Lumina Foundation on Twitter at @LuminaFound


Priyadarshini Chaplot

Priyadarshini Chaplot is a higher education consultant whose efforts support college practitioners in redesigning institutional programs, services and practices through use of research and evidence. She partners regularly with the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement, the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges (RP Group), Jobs for the Future, WestEd and individual community colleges and districts. In this work, she researches current issues in higher education, develops audience- specific communications, designs interactive learning opportunities for diverse groups of college practitioners, and provides technical assistance. Previously, she served as the director of professional development and a senior researcher with the RP Group, as well as a research analyst and math and English instructor at Mt. San Antonio College. Having worked at or with postsecondary institutions for more than 12 years, she is passionate about improving students’ educational experiences and addressing issues of student equity and success. Connect with Priya on Twitter at @onomatopriya


Rob Johnstone

Rob Johnstone, founder and president of the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement, works to help two-year and four-year colleges create structures and processes that increase student completion and learning and improve labor market outcomes. His approach to inquiry and improvement fuses the world of foundations, initiatives and system-level policy changes with the ground-level work of college practitioners and college leaders. He has worked with more than 100 colleges around the country — both directly and as part of several foundation-funded initiatives. He served for more than a decade in the California community college system, working as a director, dean and provost. Prior to his work in higher education, he was a strategic consultant to industry, giving him more than 20 years of consulting experience in industry and higher education. Connect with Rob on Twitter at @JohnstoneRob