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Chuck Knepfle

Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Clemson University

Focus Area: Transparency

Clemson, South Carolina
Office Representing: Enrollment Management

As Clemson's associate vice president for enrollment management, Chuck Knepfle oversees the university's Admissions, Financial Aid, and Registrar's Offices. However, financial aid has been his primary career. Knepfle served as the director of financial aid at both Clemson and at his alma mater, Miami University. Knepfle currently is responsible for recruiting, enrolling, and helping students afford school, and graduating the undergraduate population at Clemson. He has frequent interactions with the president, provost, vice presidents and academic deans as they strategize about the right mix, size, and success of Clemson's undergraduate student body. Knepfle is also pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with an anticipated completion in 2019. Knepfle has focused his dissertation on middle school parent attitudes about college affordability.  

How did you first get interested in or involved in higher education issues?

"Like many university administrators, I started as a student worker when I was in college and never left! For many years, the work was simply a job at my alma mater, but as I learned more about the struggles of low and middle-income students to afford public college and university educations I became more and more interested in what I might offer to the discussion," Knepfle said. "My first foray into the national higher education space was the creation of a low-income free-tuition guarantee at my last institution, and my passion has only become stronger. In 2005 I was invited to join the Board of Directors for the Direct Loan Coalition (now called the Higher Education Loan Coalition), which has become a life-changing endeavor. Being able to work directly with the Department of Education to make college more affordable, and especially helping members of Congress create legislation to open that door for more students has lit my college affordability fire. While not every person may want to, or have to, attend college, every person should have the opportunity."

Why did you apply to be a part of the Higher Education Committee of 50? What drew you to this opportunity?

"There are many groups who are trying to reduce the barriers to post-secondary education, and they all seem to have their niche and ideas on how to accomplish that. My interest in this effort is two-fold," Knepfle said. "First, I have confidence that Congress will hear what this group brings forward. Second, I believe my experience with financial aid, with large boards, and knowledge of the inner workings of Washington, DC will allow me to help coalesce the contributions of this varied group of people. And selfishly, I plan to learn more from this group about the affordability landscape. I believe in lifetime learning and this is a fantastic opportunity to add to my knowledge base."

Leadership roles with professional associations:

  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA): Current Standards of Excellence Team Lead, Past Chair of Federal Issues Committee, Past Chair of NASFAA Student Debt Task Force
  • Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA): Past Chair of Federal Issues Committee
  • Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools  (SACSCOC): Board of Trustees
  • Higher Education Loan Coalition: Executive Board Member, Past Chair
  • Western Golf Association, Evans Scholars: Past Chapter Faculty Advisor 

Membership(s) held with other professional associations:

  • Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA)
  • Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA)
  • South Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SCASFAA)
  • National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC)
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)