The College announced Tuesday that Michael Bartini will replace Stephen Joyce as the director of student aid. Bartini will begin working at the College this week, but will not officially replace Joyce until July.
Bartini served as the director of financial aid at Brown University for eight years and has also held a number of positions at the College Board. He is a graduate of Westfield State College in Westfield, Mass. where he studied economics.
At Brown, Bartini improved the competitiveness of financial aid packages by decreasing loans and increasing scholarship funding. At the College Board, his work included coordinating financial aid assessment programs with colleges and working closely with financial aid administrators.
"He's got tremendous experience at institutions that do financial aid the way we do," Dean of Admissions Scott Meiklejohn said of Bartini. "He's tremendously connected in the financial world both from his experiences at colleges and universities and working for the college board."
"I've always had my foot in higher education, financial aid [and] admissions," said Bartini.
Bartini explained that he plans on working hard to ensure that Bowdoin's financial aid office stays technically and fiscally abreast of its competitors, including making effective use of financial aid calculators.
"Education is dynamic," he said. "It changes all the time. Are the programs we have today as effective as they were a few years ago?...It is a proactive role rather than a reactive role."
Bartini brings more than just an understanding of the technical side of financial aid. According to Meiklejohn, an important part of running the financial aid office is the ability to communicate with parents concerned about their ability to pay for a Bowdoin education.
"He has a personal style and cares about opportunity at a place like this in a way that will make a good counselor and advisor to families who are trying to figure this out and how to make it possible and pay for a college education," said Meiklejohn.
Bartini also stressed the importance of engaging parents.
"Everyone wants to know, is it worth it? It's important to be able to articulate that in ways that makes families comfortable with the investment that they're making," he said.
Work started yesterday for Bartini, who will spend the next five months learning the tools of the trade from Joyce before officially replacing him in July. Joyce will stay on part-time for at least one more year before he retires from Bowdoin completely.
During Joyce's tenure at the College, the total amount of financial aid given to students increased from $6.7 million in 1991 to $28 million today, with an average annual grant of $35,000. About 44 percent of the student body now receives financial aid.
"I'm just very proud of Bowdoin," said Joyce. "For the College leadership to have committed to financial aid the way they have is just a thrill."
After 21 years directing Bowdoin's financial aid office, Joyce said that "the time was right" to retire.
"It's been 21 years, and sometimes it's a good time to let somebody else take over and provide some different perspectives and some different energy."
He plans on spending more time sailing and exploring Maine, as well as working part-time to help grade-school students find their way to college—a role not unlike the one he has held for the past 21 years.
Joyce said it is a particularly felicitous time to retire because the student aid office is "stable and flourishing," due to the office's staff and the College's generous endowment.
"You never want to leave when things aren't good," said Joyce. "But both the staff and the financial aid program are in really healthy circumstances, and how great is that?"