Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Making the Most of the FSA Conference, Even if You Can’t Attend

(by the Communications and Electronic Initiatives Committee)

As most of you already know, the annual U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid (FSA) Conference is currently underway in Atlanta, Georgia! This conference is a valuable resource for financial aid administrators at all experience levels. There are many sessions (download an easily printable Word document of all sessions or the 2014 Agenda spreadsheet) covering a variety of training topics. In addition, attendees have the opportunity to visit the Resource Center for individual help with a variety of FSA products, including NSLDS, COD, E-App, and IFAP. There is also the opportunity to visit the Ask-a-Fed booth to get one-on-one guidance on those sticky financial aid issues.

But what happens if you weren't able to attend the conference? Whether the timing isn’t right or budget constraints have limited your ability to travel, not everyone can make it to Atlanta this year for the FSA Conference. You can follow the conference from afar through conference social media back channels.

Federal Student Aid as a Twitter account for the conference: @FSAconf. You don’t need a Twitter account to see their tweets. However, most of the updates you would find helpful would be other financial aid administrators tweeting from the conference. You can see this by searching the conference hashtag (#FSATC2014) on Twitter’s website or click here. This is a live updating feed of all of the tweets using that hashtag. Most people tweeting are in attendance at the conference. The embedded Twitter timeline below also shows the tweets as they’re being posted by Twitter users. You can come back to this blog post as often as you like and see the tweets as they're being posted! As you can see, you do not need a Twitter account to see this information.

Now you can read what people are saying about the conference. If you have a Twitter account, you can ask question about what they share or retweet their content. Most importantly, you can connect with other financial aid administrators. That connection lasts beyond the conference. The folks you meet on the back channel can become resources, colleagues, and friends.

You can also download FSA Conference presentations here as many are already posted.

This post was repurposed from the Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA) blog at with permission, originally authored by Susan Johnson of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Melissa Haberman, now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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