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Janet Lavin Rapelye appointed President of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education

Cambridge, Massachusetts (8/10/2018) —Janet Lavin Rapelye has been named President of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, effective November 1, 2018, according to Steven Poskanzer, chair of the COFHE Board and President of Carleton College. Rapelye succeeds retiring President Kristine E. Dillon, who has headed COFHE since 2002.

Rapelye has served as Dean of Admission at Princeton University since 2003. She was named to the COFHE position after a national search chaired by John DeGioia, President of Georgetown University. As Princeton’s Dean of Admission, she has been responsible for articulating the University’s mission to prospective students and their parents, working closely with all University constituencies and a 40-person staff. During her tenure at Princeton she has helped to transform the diversity of its undergraduate student body. Princeton has tripled the number of admitted students who are eligible for federal Pell Grants from 7 percent in the Class of 2007 to an estimated 23 percent for those offered admission this fall to the Class of 2022.

Rapelye will be COFHE’s third President. COFHE was established in 1974 as an institutionally-supported organization of leading independent colleges and universities in the United States. COFHE has long been an invaluable source of shared information and important new ideas about the quality and impact of undergraduate education for its member institutions. COFHE conducts sophisticated analyses of financial aid; factors affecting admissions, student enrollment and retention; student success; cost studies; and many other administrative and public policy issues that affect independent higher education. COFHE also provides comparative analyses of institutional data, including rich longitudinal and benchmarking data that enable its members to better understand themselves and how they relate to the broader higher education environment.

“I'm thrilled that Janet Rapelye has agreed to serve as COFHE's new president,” Poskanzer said. “Because Janet has devoted her professional career to serving COFHE schools, she has an especially deep and nuanced understanding of the character, culture--and challenges--our member institutions face. We will benefit greatly from her decades on the front lines of successful efforts to diversify and strengthen student bodies across COFHE. She is also a wise observer of the broader higher education and public policy landscape, so it will be exciting to see how this expertise informs and shapes COFHE's future. Anyone who had the privilege of working with Janet immediately sees how smart and politically astute she is, how deeply committed she is to educational excellence--and how she is always animated by core academic values. The COFHE Board could not be more pleased that she will be taking on this leadership role.”

"Janet Rapelye has served with distinction for fifteen years as Princeton’s dean of admission," Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber said. "Choosing among the thousands of qualified applicants to Princeton is a nearly impossible task, and she has handled it with skill, sensitivity, and integrity. We wish her well as she assumes her new role."

“I am honored to have been chosen to be the next president of COFHE,” said Rapelye. “It will be a privilege to support these liberal arts colleges and universities, which provide access and affordability for the next generation of college students. I care about, respect and value these institutions, and I look forward to joining the COFHE office and working with colleagues at each of the member schools.”

Prior to her leadership role at Princeton, Dean Rapelye served as Dean of Admission for 12 years at Wellesley College. She joined Wellesley College in 1991 from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where she was Associate Director of Admissions. Earlier she worked in the admissions offices at Stanford University and Williams College. She was certified by the Vermont Board of Education and taught high school English in a rural public school in northern Vermont.

She is a graduate of Williams College and holds a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University.

Dean Rapelye serves on the Board of Directors of the Common Application. She is a member of the College Board and the National Association of College Admissions Counseling. She is past chair of the New England Regional Council of the College Board. She has served on the Board of The Principia Corporation and on the Board of Trustees of the College Board. She is a member of the Corporation of the Noble and Greenough School where she is also an alumna.

The search committee chaired by DeGioia included the following members: Avis Hinkson, formerly, Dean of the College at Barnard College; Kathleen McCartney, President of Smith College; Steven Poskanzer of Carleton; Clayton Rose, President of Bowdoin College; and Mark Wrighton, Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.

Dillon joined COFHE in 2002. “The Consortium has been fortunate indeed these last 16 years to have had Kristine Dillon at its helm,” President Poskanzer said. “Among her many achievements, Kristine has added new levels of sophistication to COFHE's established research program, expanded the profile of COFHE's analysis of what makes for superb-quality education, shared COFHE studies in new and more accessible ways with campus leaders, and brought heightened energy and purpose to the Consortium's understanding of public issues affecting colleges and universities.”

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, COFHE also has an office in Washington D.C.

Member institutions of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education are: Amherst College, Barnard College, Bowdoin College, Brown University, Bryn Mawr College, Caltech, Carleton College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, Middlebury College, Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, Pomona College, Princeton University, Rice University, Smith College, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, Trinity College, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, Williams College, and Yale University.


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