Assistant Vice President and Director of Financial Aid
Letter from Angel B. Perez, PhD
Vice President Enrollment and Student Success
I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Michael William Light as Trinity College’s Assistant Vice President and Director of Financial Aid. A student-centered leader and enrollment strategist, Michael currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and Director of Student Financial Services at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to his time at University of the Arts, Michael served in various roles in graduate and undergraduate enrollment at the University of Pennsylvania. His most recent role at Penn was Director of Financial Aid at the School of Social Policy & Practice.
As one of his references notes, “Michael is the master of his craft.” Across several divisions, he currently oversees 14 full-time staff members, including the bursar, loan officers, financial aid counselors, cashier, admissions operations staff, and coordinators of student employment. He is known for using data and analytics to maximize financial aid resources while helping institutions meet their enrollment and retention goals. He is data driven and mission focused. Through his data analysis and research, he has led institutions to increase yield, shift financial aid awarding policies, and increase student achievement. Another reference notes: “Michael is completely dedicated to student success. He knows that financial aid is not just a matter of the student and family being able to pay the bill; student success means the student walks away with a positive institutional experience.” Michael is also known for his ability to cultivate and develop teams. He’s a deep-thinker who leads from the heart.
At both Penn and the University of the Arts, Michael has led campus-wide conversations about financial aid that have resulted in policy and practice overhauls. At each institution, he has thought creatively about ways to change financial aid and its tools in ways that faithfully serve students while exceeding institutional goals. He’s a highly respected leader in the field whose talents will take Trinity to new heights.
Michael holds a B.A. in Economics and will graduate in May with a Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics, both from the University of Pennsylvania. I have to note that his Master’s Capstone is titled “Amplifying the Skills of the Introvert in Organizational Design.” I think his research and passion in this area will be well received by our students and staff!
In his spare time, Michael enjoys staying active and loves the outdoors. He goes camping several times a year, hikes regularly, and often commutes by bike. Having been a state champion in freestyle wrestling in high school and spending time on a nationally ranked Division 1 team in college, Michael spent many years training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has been a training partner for two world champions. As an avid traveler, Michael has spent time in several countries across the globe and participates on a working group with the Global Philadelphia Association to attract international students and scholars to Philadelphia. This past year, Michael was elected as a board member to Penn’s Alumni Club of Philadelphia. Michael serves on the social impact committee, providing pro bono consulting services and volunteer time to public service organizations and local businesses. More information on Michael is available on the Penn Alumni Club Leadership Page.
Michael will join our team on Monday, May 15. In the meantime, he has graciously accepted my offer to consult with Trinity over the next few months to analyze data, meet with his team, and create a plan for the future of financial aid at Trinity. I have to admit that after spending time with Michael on campus a few weeks ago, I knew he was the strategic partner I seek in this work. I look forward to working with him to meet the bold and audacious goals of Trinity College.
Last week, I assigned an academic article to Trinity’s Bicentennial Strategic Planning Commission to read regarding Enrollment Management and Financial Aid. It notes how critical financial aid is to an institution’s future. One of the most powerful lines in the article (attached) reads “there may be few better indices of an institution’s values and priorities than how it allocates its resources to and through financial aid.” Over the next several years, Trinity is going to grapple with some very complex issues related to financial aid. As the article notes, strategic use of financial aid will shape the student body and assist in operationalizing institutional mission. Michael Light is poised to partner with us in leading this conversation at Trinity, and I’m delighted to welcome him to the team.
Please join me in congratulating Michael on his new role.
Angel B. Perez, PhD
Enrollment and Student Success
300 Summit Street
Hartford, CT 06106