Jonathan Fansmith Named ACE Senior Vice President of Government Relations
January 11, 2023

Jonathan S. Fansmith, who has been leading ACE's advocacy efforts in areas such as congressional spending and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, has been named ACE’s senior vice president of Government Relations.

Jon Fansmith headshot

Jon Fansmith

Fansmith is currently an assistant vice president of Government Relations. He will assume his new role on Feb. 1, taking over the senior vice president position from Terry W. Hartle, who announced in September that he would be retiring after nearly three decades of matchless service to ACE and the entire higher education community.

Fansmith will direct ACE’s comprehensive efforts to engage federal policymakers on a broad range of policy issues, from student aid and tax policy to regulation and immigration. In this capacity, he will be responsible for providing policy and advocacy leadership for the Washington Higher Education Secretariat, a forum for the chief executives of about 50 national higher education associations, in its efforts to identify and respond to public policy challenges and opportunities that could affect colleges and universities and their students.

“We launched a national search for the best candidate to assume this role of such vital importance to ACE and all of American higher education, but it soon became apparent that we did not have to look outside One Dupont Circle to find that person,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “Jon’s vast knowledge, wealth of experience, and considerable strategic savvy will provide ACE and the higher education community with the expertise needed to navigate in a proactive manner the maze of federal higher education policy. And it is a testament to Terry’s leadership and service that Jon is so well prepared to step into this critical position.”

Fansmith has represented ACE and its members on a wide array of matters related to higher education policy, including the federal budget and appropriations process, institutional accountability, technology, privacy, accessibility, and disability. His work has had a particular focus on student aid policy, and in this capacity he led the higher education community’s successful efforts to obtain roughly $78 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding for students and institutions.

Fansmith is a former president and member of the executive committee of the Committee for Education Funding, and he coordinates the efforts of the Student Aid Alliance, a coalition of over 90 higher education organizations. His writing has appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post to The Journal of College and University Law, and he has appeared in The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Politico, Roll Call, Bloomberg, The Chronicle of Higher Education, National Public Radio, USA Today, National Journal, and Inside Higher Ed, among other media outlets. In addition, he hosts ACE's dotEDU podcast and monthly Public Policy Pop-Ups and is a regular contributor to other higher education podcasts and webinars, as well as regularly speaking before association, academic, and corporate audiences.

“Jon has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the wide array of policy issues impacting the diverse landscape of colleges and universities across this country, and he has deep-seated relationships with our colleagues across the higher education association community as well as the respect of congressional and executive branch policymakers,” Hartle said. “Jon has been an invaluable member of the ACE Government Relations team, and I could not be happier for him and the team that Jon is assuming this role.”

“I am excited to take on this new challenge, and grateful for the confidence that Ted, the ACE Board of Directors, and the entire ACE team has shown in me,” Fansmith said. “I am looking forward to working with our exceptional Government Relations and Public Affairs teams, our member institutions, and our colleagues across the higher education community. Together, I am confident that we can advance public policy that will truly serve students, institutions, and the country. As I step into these new responsibilities, I will always owe a debt of gratitude to Terry, who has been both an inspiring leader, a trusted mentor, and a good friend.”

Fansmith earned a BA in history from Georgetown University and an MA in government from Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two children.

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