Penn has appointed Matt Sessa as the executive director of Student Registration and Financial Services.
As executive director, Sessa will be responsible for developing the University's first "student-centered" one-stop model — a "thorough integration of traditional services such as registration, financial aid, billing, all under one virtual and/or physical roof," according to the job listing. His appointment will formally begin on Jan. 16.
Penn News reported Sessa will also design financial literacy programming for students and "provide strategic and operational leadership on financial aid, billing, registration, and operations."
Sessa, who has worked with federal and state financial aid programs for over two decades, will take on his role at a time when policies within student financial services are a hot topic of discussion among students.
In July 2017, fifth-year students were sent into a frenzy after they were informed that their final semesters in school were not being covered by financial aid. In December 2017, groups of low-income students also discovered that they were not being included in University programs designed to support those in need. Sessa will likely need to address these inconsistencies during his tenure.
Before Penn, Sessa worked at the office of Federal Student Aid in the U.S. Department of Education. At the department, he served as the deputy chief operating officer of FSA, until former Chief Operating Officer James Runcie resigned in May, writing to his staff that he was "incredibly concerned" with the department's management, reported the Washington Post. Sessa assumed Runcie's duties after his resignation.
Before working at DOE, he held several senior leadership positions at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Sessa received his executive MBA and a master's degree in science in information systems from Pennsylvania State University, according to Penn News.
"I am delighted to welcome Matt to Penn," Vice President for Finance and Treasurer MaryFrances McCourt told Penn News. "His vast expertise in federal aid programs and managing a complex organizational structure will make him an invaluable member of our leadership team."