NCAN Presents 2014 Champion of College Access Award

September 16, 2014
By Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations

At its national conference in Phoenix today, NCAN's board of directors presented its Champion of College Access Award to Vince Roig, the founding chairman of the board of Helios Education Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. Under Mr. Roig’s leadership, the Foundation has invested more than $155 million into communities in Arizona and Florida.

“I truly cannot think of one other person who more deserves to be honored for their work in promoting college access and success," Rich Nickel, president and CEO of College Success Arizona, said. "Vince walks the walk every single day in his personal quest to help more students enter college and succeed once they get there. Vince’s higher education attainment goals are big and inclusive, and he challenges those around him to be transformative. His optimism and passion instill confidence in others to affect positive change for those that need it most.”

Mr. Roig has a long history of creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education. His commitment to college access for all started with his own experience as a first-generation college student. Upon completion of his degree in secondary education, he started his career in financial aid at Brooklyn College where he worked to find ways to help more students afford a college education. He then moved to Arizona State University where he worked in financial aid and served as president of the Student Financial Aid Association.  

In 1981, Mr. Roig became executive director of the Arizona Educational Loan Marketing Corporation, which provided loans for students to attend college, making postsecondary education more accessible to students. In 1992, he formed Southwest Student Services Corporation and served as chairman of the board, president and CEO. Within 10 years, Southwest Student Services Corporation became the eighth largest holder of federally insured student loans in the country.

In 2004, Southwest Student Services Corporation was converted and sold to SLM Corporation for just over $500 million. The net proceeds of that sale funded the creation of Helios Education Foundation with an initial endowment of $525 million.
Mr. Roig serves or has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Teach for America National, Arizona College Scholarship Foundation, Chair; Greater Phoenix Leadership, Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board, Stand for Children Advisory Committee, Take Stock in Children, Valley of the Sun United Way and the Phoenix Art Museum.

NCAN's Champion of College Access Award recognizes an individual, organization, or corporation that has made remarkable contributions to increasing college access and success for underrepresented students. Award recipients have demonstrated a long-term commitment through direct work with students, an access organization, or the greater community of college access and higher education.

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