Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Reflecting on the Past, Preparing for the Future

Submitted by Marvin Smith, Executive Director of Student Financial Services at IUPUI and 2018-2019 MASFAA President

This picture is from a MASFAA planning retreat held at IUPUI on July 31, 2018. I’m reflecting on some great work that has occurred over the past year by our volunteer organization—and is still occurring as we head toward our annual conference in Chicago October 6-9, 2019. 

As I look at the group I’m struck by how much change occurred over the past year. Some of the MASFAA leaders in our group have left the profession (Chandra Owen), left the region (Gena Boling), left for other career opportunities (Crystal Bruntz, Sara Beth Holman, Nick Prewett), changed schools (Laura Rogers, Emily Haynam, Heidi Carl, Alex DeLonis, Dick Battig), and even changed names (Marcus Szymanoski is now Marcus San Marino). That’s 11 changes, not even counting promotions for Michelle Trame, Nathan Lohr, Marcus San Marino, and maybe some folks I’m forgetting. Whew!

But we kept up with change because that’s what financial aid professionals are good at! I am so thankful for folks that stepped up and filled roles when asked. Roberta Johnson took over Advocacy and Legislative Affairs, Keyimani Alford and Chad Olson took on Delegate-at-Large roles, Dena Norris became Missouri state representative. Not to mention Sue Swisher is now in the past president role for the third time! We also had some late committee chair assignments. Ginny Washington agreed to co-chair the Access Committee; Stephanie Petsch and Jennifer Schroeder agreed to co-chair Summer Institute and Leadership Symposium.

Given all the changes that have occurred, our group of dedicated volunteers have accomplished so much. A few highlights…

  • Stephanie Petsch and Jen Schroeder and an experienced group of outstanding faculty conducted a well-attended and well-received Summer Institute and Leadership Symposium at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI; special thanks to the state of Michigan for great attendance and Shashanta James for her work coordinating some logistics at her wonderful university. 
  • Nick Prewett put together a strong ballot of volunteers and we held a successful election for our 2019-20. 
  • Heidi Carl, Kathy Bialk, Kerry Gilbert, and Laura Rogers made sure our bills were paid, contracts reviewed and signed, and minutes and records were kept in order—no small task in a volunteer organization. 
  • Nathan Lohr and Emily Haynam have helped deliver timely MASFAA communications via our website and various social media channels all year long. 
  • Michelle Trame worked with membership chair Matthew Kearney to develop some membership change ideas to be discussed at the Chicago conference. 
  • Keyimani Alford and Karla Weber put together an outstanding series of professional development webinars while overseeing our taskforce efforts; many of these taskforce leaders will be involved in Chicago conference interest sessions.
  • Dick Battig helped coordinate a review of Michigan conference sites and the Board selected The Henry in Dearborn, Michigan for our 2020 conference location. In addition, Dick co-chaired a MASFAA strategic plan committee with Sara Beth Holman; a new MASFAA Strategic Plan will be rolled out at the Chicago conference. 
  • Chad Olson worked with webmaster Nathan Lohr to enhance our online vendor support options; we are expecting strong vendor support at the Chicago conference. 
  • Roberta Johnson and a team of MASFAA leaders helped put together a MASFAA Advocacy Toolkit (now available on the MASFAA website) that will be highlighted at the Chicago conference. 
  • Jackie Kennedy-Fletcher and Derek Kindle have put together the first-ever Diversity and Inclusion statement to be adopted by MASFAA and will be discussing the potential implementation of NASFAA Diversity Toolkit initiatives for states and our region at the Chicago conference. 
  • The state presidents continued to filter important MASFAA messages to our nine states and support MASFAA initiatives.
  • Finally, Betsy Johnson, Susan Teerink, Sue Swisher, Amanda Fijal, and teams of MASFAA’s finest have put together an outstanding conference program, speakers, and activities that are sure to make the 2019 MASFAA Conference in Chicago an event folks will not want to miss!

This is just a short list of MASFAA activities this past year. I know I’ve left out some names and accomplishments, but I look forward to celebrating all that is MASFAA with my fellow Champions of Tomorrow at the Chicago conference. Register now at
Marvin Smith
MASFAA President 2018-19 and Executive Director of Student Financial Services, IUPUI

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Time Is Now!

Submitted by the Awards Committee

It’s time to reward MASFAA colleagues who have done a great job – for students, for colleagues, for the financial aid profession – by nominating them for a MASFAA Award.

It’s time to highlight innovative ideas and outreach in financial literacy targeting K-12 or college students, whether from a state association, a school’s aid office, or an individual – by nominating them for the MASFAA Access Award.

It’s time to recognize retirees and colleagues celebrating milestone anniversaries in the profession – by nominating them for a MASFAA Recognition Certificate.

It’s time to celebrate an individual student who used financial aid to pursue and earn a credential from an institution of higher education -- by telling us about a Student Success Story from the state of Illinois.

The time is now!  The link is here!  Nominations will be accepted for the next two weeks.

Thank you for helping us laud, applaud, acknowledge and praise our MASFAA Colleagues!!!

Submit your nominations now at

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Pre-Conference Sessions at the 2019 Annual Conference

Submitted by the Conference Program Committee


The MASFAA Conference Program committee is looking forward to a great MASFAA Conference in October 2019 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. Our committee has worked hard to build a conference program that offers the training you need to keep up on financial aid regulations and more.

This year we have a couple of great pre-conference sessions that we know you will enjoy.

“Financial Wellness Programs” is one of our sessions. This session is presented by our MASFAA Financial Literacy Task Force and will provide not only resources and advice for those looking to start a financial literacy program on their campus but will also discuss current research that can be used to solicit support for this initiative on your campus.

The other pre-conference session is “Women Leadership in the Financial Aid Profession: Success in the Face of Resistance and Challenge.” Come to this session to hear a panel of female Chief Financial Aid Officers from diverse backgrounds and institutions talk about how they have worked toward overcoming obstacles and used their leadership and management styles to succeed.

Registration will be open soon! Please check your email and the MASFAA website for updates on registration.

We hope that each of you will attend the conference and walk away with newly acquired knowledge to perform your jobs. But more importantly, we hope that each of you will meet a new MASFAA colleague.

MASFAA Conference Program Committee:

Betsy Johnson (Chair),  Bowling Green State University
Susan Teerink (Chair), Marquette University
Terri Hare, Western Illinois
Donette Cassman, Sallie Mae
Renae Armentrout, Southeastern Community College
Antonio Junior-Robins, University of Michigan
Anne Dahlen, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science
Charles "Buddy" Mayfield, Northwest Missouri State
Melissa Van Meter, Ohio University
James Buchanan, West Virginia State
Sue Minzlaff, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee