Who Am I

tom-meleckiHi! My name is Tom Melecki. In 2015 I founded College Affordability Solutions after completing a 39 year career in higher education, financial aid, and student loans. My goal is to provide families with ways to help improve higher education affordability.

I worked in UT Austin’s financial aid office for 10 years, including seven years as that office’s director. I also served 26 years in the student loan industry, where I specialized in helping others understand and use the nation’s college student financial aid programs.

I co-authored College “Credit”: Reducing Unmanageable Student Debt and Maximizing Return on Education. In the last few years I’ve also developed and delivered presentations such as Deciphering the Mysteries of the FAFSA; Sending Johnny to (and Keeping Him In) College: The Role of Financial Counseling, Planning, and Education; and Seven Ways to Minimize Student Debt.

Throughout my career I was fortunate to hold leadership positions with the Coalition of State University Aid Administrators, and the National Council of Higher Education Resources, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Financial Aid Advisory Committee, and the Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

I was also privileged to serve on the UT System’s Student Debt Reduction Task Force, the College Board’s Southwest Regional Council, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ consumer information and research committees, and to co-author a NASFAA monograph entitled A Primer on the Federal Budget Process.

Twice I was a member of teams that negotiated with the U.S. Department of Education about new and revised student aid rules. In 1995, I helped initiate, develop, and manage The Common Manual, then the nation’s single most comprehensive set of student loan policies.

My wife Sherry and I put two now-grown daughters through college. We live in Austin with our Chinese Pugs, Maggie and Willow. I worked my way through UT Austin, from which I hold a PhD in higher education, and Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where I earned my master’s and bachelor’s degrees.

You can contact me at (512) 366-5354 or collegeafford@gmail.com.