Matt Newlin, Ed.D.
HIGHER EDUCATION LEADER & SPEAKER
With 14 years of experience in higher education, I have dedicated my career to increasing postsecondary equity and access. As a first-generation college student from a low-income background, I understand the systemic barriers faced by underserved students. Throughout my career, I have worked with students, institutions, and college access organization to close the achievement gap.
My passion is affecting institutional change and expanding student opportunity. I am a nationally recognized speaker, having delivered presentations and led workshops on issues related to first-generation students, rural student equity, financial literacy, financial aid, and college access.
Please contact me so we can find ways to work together to improve postsecondary access and success for all students.
Designed and managed summer melt initiative for incoming freshmen who were 38% more likely to enroll in college after participation
Founded program dedicated to first-generation student support; provided resources and programming for over 300 students annually
Managed $6 million scholarship budget in partnership with donors and development officers
Established $500,000 need-based scholarship program to increase equity and access
Managed college preparation programming for over 1,300 entering college freshmen
Improved student satisfaction by 18% in one year through data-driven support and delivery
Developed intervention methods and resources for academically at-risk undergraduates
Managed Student Success and Retention team serving over 600 graduate students
Established university financial literacy program for low-income, first-generation students
Book Me as a Speaker Through NASPA's CatalystFIRST
As a CatalystFIRST speaker, I am available for in-person and virtual engagements, presentations, and keynote addresses on topics related to the first-generation student landscape. My areas of expertise include rural student college access, socioeconomic diversity, loan borrowing & student debt, financial literacy, and graduate & professional students. For booking information, please visit the CatalystFIRST website.
DIRECTOR OF RURAL INITIATIVES
COLLEGE ADVISING CORPS
In this role, I established a pilot program to increase college enrollment for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students from rural communities. Under my leadership, we saw year-over-year increases in FAFSA completion as well as higher rates of postsecondary enrollment. I also led a text-based summer melt advising program that increased college enrollment by 38 percent.
CONSULTANT & SPEAKER
DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL AID
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, ST. LOUIS
Brown School of Social Work
During my time at the Brown School, I implemented the school's first ever need-based scholarship program; oversaw a complete tuition restructure; launched comprehensive debt management strategies; developed a Masters' Research Fellowship program; and established "I'm First," a first-generation student support program.
FINANCIAL AID COORDINATOR
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI—ST. LOUIS
As a front line counselor, I developed my advising skills and knowledge of serving students effectively and with an equity mindset. I expanded our community outreach by presenting "financial aid awareness" and FAFSA workshops for low-income students and families. I also helped improve our approach to customer service to increase student satisfaction.
In partnership with non-profits, national organizations, and higher education institutions, I develop and implement equity-minded resources and tools. I also deliver workshops and presentations addressing student access and success.
DOCTOR OF EDUCATION
Higher Education Leadership
My doctoral research focused on barriers to innovation and change in higher education institutions. My dissertation, Interrupting Innovation: A Case Study Examining the Discontinuance of an Online Learning Pilot, is currently pending publication.
MASTER OF EDUCATION
Higher Education Administration
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - ST. LOUIS
As a first-generation college student, I understand the challenges faced by students who are first in their family to attend college. My master's research sought to understand common barriers that prevent first-gen students from enrolling at rates comparable to their peers. At the time, this was a burgeoning field of research that has - thankfully - grown in recent years.
BACHELOR OF ARTS
BACHELOR OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - COLUMBIA
As a double-major at Mizzou, I was able to explore my creativity and passion for writing while also building my interpersonal and communication skills that would prepare me to become a young professional.
In addition to establishing first-generation student support programs, I have spoken at regional and national conferences about issues related to first-gen student success. I have facilitated workshops on serving first-generation graduate and professional students which continues to be an under-researched topic in higher education.
I have over 12 years of experience in financial aid, serving both graduate and undergraduate populations at public and private institutions. I have improved student satisfaction by over 18 percent and redesigned resources and policies with a student-centered focus.
RURAL STUDENT EQUITY
Students from rural communities continue to enroll and persist in college at rates below their non-rural peers. I launched a college access pilot designed to increase rural student enrollment and created resources for college advisers across the country.
Students do not pursue postsecondary education for countless reasons, from the personal to the financial. As a social justice advocate, I have dedicated myself to closing the college achievement gap to improve our society and increase equity. Having worked at the largest national college access organization, I understand the key factors that increase college enrollment and what we, as practitioners, can do to help.
STUDENT AFFAIRS LEADERSHIP
Colleges and universities are extremely hierarchical organizations, but that doesn't mean leadership can - or should - come only from the top. Leaders exist at all levels of an institution. I have worked with colleagues at multiple institutions to build their knowledge leadership skills to affect change at their institutions.
Financial literacy is a critical life skill rarely taught at any point in K-12 or college enrollment. I have created resources and curricula for undergraduates, TRIO programs, graduate students, as well as developing a "Investing in Your Future" workshop series to teach students about future financial wellness.