Henry Fernandez

Vice President of Strategy, Development and Finance

Complete College America

Henry Fernandez

Vice President of Strategy, Development and Finance

Complete College America

Since January 1, 2015, Henry L. Fernandez has been employed by Complete College America, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit corporation with a single mission: to work with states to significantly increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. As Vice President for state strategy and development, Fernandez enhances college-student persistence and degree completion by facilitating the adoption of state policies and proven-effective institutional practices, and manages and coordinates relationships with the organization’s sponsors.

Fernandez brings to Complete College America more than 30 years of experience in education. Prior to his current position, Fernandez administered grants and scholarship programs for nearly 20 years for a foundation and for two corporate-affairs departments, enhancing opportunities for tens of thousands of students to enter and complete postsecondary education institutions. In addition to planning, awarding, and managing grants to postsecondary institutions and non-profit organizations, Fernandez built and strengthened partnerships with policymakers and their associations to expand college opportunities for students, especially low-income and under-represented groups.

His previous experience also includes service as director of the Peace Corps Fellows Program, as well as work as program administrator for Teachers College, Columbia University. Earlier in his career, he served as an elementary-school principal and teacher. Fernandez received a doctoral degree in education and three master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Queens College of the City University of New York. Fernandez has been on the Hispanic Business magazine’s list of 100 most influential Latinos and has been recognized by the National Football League and the Indiana Latino Institute for his work with the Latino community. Fernandez has served on a number of boards, including those for the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Advocates for Youth, Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township (Indianapolis), Grantmakers for Education, National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials Educational Fund, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. He is an alumnus of the CHCI Fellowship program.

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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

Math Pathways

Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

Corequisite Support

Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

Momentum Year

Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

Academic Maps with Proactive Advising

Default students onto highly-structured academic maps that include 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year), indicate milestone and pre-requisite courses, and empower advisors to effectively monitor progress and provide intervention as needed.

A Better Deal for Returning Adults

Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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