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Leadership

American Student Assistance’s Board of Directors is an integral part of our management team, actively engaged in the oversight and strategic guidance of the organization. Board members possess specialized knowledge and expertise in an array of areas such as higher education finance and lending, financial literacy education, financial counseling, student life, credit, information technology, law, accounting, and management.  

Our Senior Staff team has nearly 200 years’ combined experience in higher education financing and financial aid.

Jean Eddy

Jean Eddy

Interim CEO

Jean Eddy is currently serving as interim CEO of American Student Assistance. She most recently held the position of Chief Operating Officer at Rhode Island School of Design. Initially recruited to RISD as a result of her 25 years of demonstrated success in the higher education environment, Eddy became RISD’s first Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment in 2010 before being tapped as COO in 2013. Jean’s career encompasses roles in academic affairs, finance and administration, and student affairs at Johnson and Wales University, Brandeis University and Northeastern University. An accomplished enrollment manager known for her ability to create and execute successful recruitment and retention strategies, she also enjoys a reputation for building significant organizations at leading institutions.

A native Rhode Islander, Jean held various positions at Johnson and Wales University where her love of systems originated as she designed and implemented more effective ways to award and disburse financial aid. She was subsequently recruited by Northeastern University to run their financial aid office and to modernize and automate their financial aid delivery systems. During her twelve year tenure at Northeastern, Jean served as Dean of Student Financial Services, Dean of Enrollment, and Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. Her most notable accomplishments were a data driven approach to increasing the quality, diversity, and selectivity measures for admission, establishing Northeastern’s national reach as a leader in practicum based education, the strategic use of financial aid, and the creation of effective financial models to impact net tuition revenue. She was particularly well known for her successful partnerships with academic, financial, and operational leadership as they implemented campus master plans, aligned student interests with academic programs, and reinvigorated University wide computer systems. Ms. Eddy is credited as being one of the senior leaders who changed the profile of the University from a regional commuter school to a top 100 national university.

In 2000 Jean became the first Senior Vice President of Students and Enrollment at Brandeis University, where she had oversight of all departments outside of the classroom. Here Jean continued her prior success in increasing applications and student quality measures as she maximized net tuition revenue, but additionally was able to create support systems for student life that improved already outstanding retention rates. Jean served as a senior leader and partner with the CFO and Provost to implement a campus master plan, design and implement significant capital projects, and craft and execute a strategic plan.

Nationally Jean is a recognized speaker and expert on creating and optimizing solutions that impact net tuition revenue focusing on recruitment and retention issues. She has held memberships on the College Board, NASFAA, EASFAA, and NACAC and has served on advisory boards for TERI and MEFA. She has served as president for both the Rhode Island Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Currently Jean serves as a director on the Board of American Student Assistance. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and a Master’s in Computer Science

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Barbara F. Matez

Barbara F. Matez

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Barbara is responsible for the management of ASA’s financial activities. She has over 25 years of experience in finance and operations. Prior to joining ASA in 2007, Barbara was CFO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a unique national not-for-profit founded by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter to promote a market-based approach and cutting-edge solutions for urban revitalization. 

She also served as VP of Finance for NMS Communications, a $130M company focused on leading edge mobile telecom applications, as well as held corporate and “line” positions of increasing scope and responsibility at Digital Equipment Corporation. Barbara is treasurer and member of the board of directors for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, as well as a member of Financial Executives International. She holds an MBA from Babson College and a bachelor’s in economics from Clark University.

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Susan J. Nathan

Susan J. Nathan

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Susan is responsible for the long-term product strategy for ASA’s educational program Salt, the overall user experience, management of the day-to-day delivery of service to both institutional customers and consumers, and the management of relationships with our partners. Susan joined ASA in 1987 as supervisor of the external program review unit and over the years has held roles of increasing responsibility in product development, operations, client management, customer service, business development and marketing. 

She has been a member of the design teams for a number of ASA’s signature products, and most recently has played a leadership role in the development and advancement of Salt. Prior to joining ASA, she was a Financial Aid Officer for Lesley University. Susan is a member of various state, regional, and national financial aid associations. She is a graduate of Brown University and a fellow of the Institute for Educational Leadership.

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Brian Curtis

Brian Curtis

Vice President of Information Services and CIO

Brian Curtis is Vice President of Information Services and Chief Information Officer as American Student Assistance. Prior to coming to ASA in 2007, Brian worked at Edgewater Technology where he was primarily responsible for growing the Infrastructure Services Practice. Prior to Edgewater, Brian was CIO of DEKA R&D (inventors of the Segway), Director at Nervewire, Principal Consultant at Computer Sciences Corp, and Principal Software Specialist at Digital Equipment Corp.

Brian’s interest in IT started back in high school where he developed an online grading system. He obtained both a bachelor’s degree (with a double concentration in Information Systems and Finance) and an MBA (with a concentration in International Business) from Drexel University.

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Michael T. Ryan

Michael T. Ryan

Vice President of Borrower Services

Michael directs all aspects of the management and delivery of service to borrowers in ASA’s education loan portfolio, including all default prevention and recovery efforts. Michael joined ASA in 2003. In his 20-plus-year career in higher education financing, he previously served as associate director for programs and operations at the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, where he facilitated MEFA’s entry as a Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) provider.

Michael also played an instrumental role in the introduction of the U. Fund, (MEFA’s Section 529 College Investing Plan); managed MEFA’s U. Plan (Prepaid Tuition Program); and was responsible for the operation of MEFA’s loan programs. Additionally, he held progressively responsible management positions, from Account Manager to Senior Vice President, at Key Education Resources (formerly Knight Tuition Payment Plans).

Michael is a graduate of Merrimack College.

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Christopher Sheehan

Christopher Sheehan

Vice President and General Counsel

As head of ASA’s corporate legal team, Christopher works with the organization’s senior staff to execute the strategic vision of the corporation. He also works closely with the Board of Directors on legal, regulatory, and corporate governance matters. Much of his work involves negotiating and drafting corporate transactions, advising on human resources matters, drafting policy, and advising on intellectual property matters.

Christopher Sheehan became Vice President and General Counsel in 2009, after serving as Acting VP & General Counsel since 2008 and working in various departments of the organization for 15 years, having worked in both the pre- and post-default areas before joining the Corporate Counsel team.

Christopher is a Certified Information Privacy Professional and has served on both the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council of Higher Education Loan Providers and the Consumer Bankers Association Privacy Subcommittee. He earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his law degree from Western New England College School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review. He has also attended the University of Oregon in Eugene and holds a graduate certificate in Knowledge Management from Northeastern University.

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