Thomas R. Graf | American Student Assistance

Leadership:

Who We Are

Leadership:

Who We Are

Thomas R. Graf

Thomas R. Graf

Thomas M. Graf, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), has been in state government for 21 years. He is a 1979 graduate of Merrimack College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Finance.

Mr. Graf has served as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) since December 1999. MEFA is a not-for-profit, self-financing state authority dedicated to increasing college access and affordability for students and families in Massachusetts through affordable college savings plans, community education programs and affordable college financing options.

MEFA offers the U.Plan, the Commonwealth’s prepaid tuition program that enables families to lock in tomorrow’s tuition at today’s rates at 80 Massachusetts public and private colleges and universities; the U.Fund, the Commonwealth’s College Investing Plan (offered in partnership with Fidelity Investments) that allows families to invest for qualified higher education expenses through a selected portfolio of professionally managed mutual funds; MEFA Counselor college admissions and financing services for high school families and school counselors; and the MEFA Loan, one of the nation’s most affordable education loan programs that assists families of undergraduate and graduate students from all states attending Massachusetts colleges and universities as well as Massachusetts residents attending college anywhere in the country. Since its founding in 1982, MEFA has issued approximately $3.5 billion in bonds and assisted hundreds of thousands of families in financing a college education.

Mr. Graf began his public service career in 1979 as a legislative aid. Within his first year of service, Mr. Graf became a research analyst for the Leader’s Office when Rep. Robinson became Minority Leader in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In this position, he increased his familiarity with the legislative and budgetary process through the drafting of legislation for the Minority Leader. In addition, he analyzed specific pieces of legislation prior to debate before the House.

In 1986, Mr. Graf was promoted to Research Director for the Office of the Minority Leader. In this capacity, he managed a staff of research analysts, worked with many Committee Members and key administration officials regarding pending legislation, including annual general appropriations bills to establish funding for the upcoming fiscal year. Budgetary analysis regarding both House and Senate budget recommendations were also under Mr. Graf’s purview.

From 1990–1993, Mr. Graf has served as Co-Director of the Governor’s Legislative Office. During his three year tenure, many landmark pieces of legislation were passed including a bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Bill which put the state’s fiscal status on a positive course; a Workers’ Compensation Reform Bill which saw worker’s compensation insurance rates reduced for the first time in several years of rising rate increases; several comprehensive tax cuts; and many criminal justice bills.

Mr. Graf served as Deputy Budget Director for the Fiscal Affairs Division for one year, at which time he was appointed Budget Director of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. During his six year tenure, the Commonwealth produced seven balanced budgets; saw its Wall Street credit rating improve; continued to invest in the Commonwealth’s Stabilization Fund ($1.2 billion); and for the first time, deposited over $230 million into the Commonwealth’s Tax Reduction Fund giving tax relief to citizens of the Commonwealth.

For nearly 10 years, Mr. Graf has led MEFA in expanding education financing services to the students and families in Massachusetts. The legislative, budgetary, and management skills that he acquired over the years have helped Mr. Graf to become a consensus-building manager who is respected among his peers.