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Iowa College Aid names new Executive Director


Elizabeth Keest Sedrel
(o) 515-725-3417  (c) 515-710-1257

Iowa College Aid names new Executive Director

The Iowa College Aid Board of Commissioners has selected Dr. Mark Wiederspan as the agency’s new Executive Director. Current Executive Director Karen Misjak will retire January 24 after 15 years at the agency and more than 30 years in the field of student financial aid.

Wiederspan, a native Iowan, joined Iowa College Aid as Executive Research Officer in June 2018 and was named Division Administrator for Research and Communications in August 2019. Before returning to Iowa, he was a faculty member at Arizona State University. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from Nebraska Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education.

Wiederspan is an Affiliated Researcher at the University of Michigan’s Education Policy Initiative, and his work has been published in academic journals including the Journal of Higher Education, National Tax Journal, and Economics of Education Review. In March, he was invited to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions regarding simplification of the federal student aid process.

”Ms. Misjak, through her leadership, has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to the students and families of Iowa,” said Dr. Kathleen Mulholland, Board Chair. “She truly believes in our motto, ‘Because College Changes Everything.’ We are confident that Dr. Wiederspan also embodies the values of the agency and will continue to advance our work to make college accessible and affordable to all Iowans.”

Iowa College Aid administers 12 state-funded grant, scholarship, and loan forgiveness programs, as well as federally funded GEAR UP and AmeriCorps grants to promote college access and success. The agency also coordinates the statewide school-based Course to College program, 13 community-based Local College Access Networks, and the online Iowa College and Career Readiness Academy for school counselors and other college access professionals. Wiederspan will oversee a staff of 42 full-time employees in the agency’s offices at 475 SW Fifth Street in Des Moines.