Monday, April 27, 2015

MASFAA Election Results!

(by Sara Beth Holman, MASFAA Nominations & Elections Chair)

It is with great pleasure that I announce to you the newly elected 2015-2016 MASFAA Board Members.

President-Elect: Thomas Ratliff, Indiana Wesleyan University

Vice-President: Justin Chase Brown, University of Missouri
Treasurer-Elect: Debbie Schumm, University of St. Francis 
Delegate-at-Large: Heidi Carl, Wabash College

Delegate-at-Large: Steven Foster, University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Please join me in congratulating each of these individuals for volunteering to serve you, the MASFAA Membership, as elected officers on the 2015-2016 MASFAA Board.

On behalf of the Nominations and Elections Committee, I would like to thank all members who agreed to run on this year’s MASFAA ballot. We received comments from a number of members sharing they were impressed with the ballot and some even commented that they had a hard time voting because the ballot was so good. That speaks very highly of the talent and dedication within our membership!!!

I’d also like to give a huge shout out to the Nominations and Elections Committee for their hard work!

Visiting Iowa

(by Val Meyers, Michigan Representative)

What a great welcome I had to the IASFAA Conference in central Iowa on April 16-17, 2015. Held at the Stoney Creek Inn in a suburb of Des Moines, I was greeted at the door by a wooden bear holding a WELCOME sign, and it definitely was a good omen of things to come, as I was treated to wonderful Iowa hospitality on my visit there, representing Michigan.

The theme of the Iowa conference was “Planting Seeds for Success” – a clever precursor to the theme of the MASFAA Conference to be held in Iowa later in the year (“Growing Connections for Success”). The conference committee chairs were helpful and welcoming, and the session they asked me to present fit in well with the overall emphasis of the conference.

I was able to teach as well as learn, showing the people I spoke with how Michiganders carry their home state maps with them everywhere they go. If you have never lived in Michigan, or known someone from the state, this will be your introduction to the concept of the Michigan Hand Map.

There are several goals inherent in the MASFAA President’s Exchange program, from meeting and networking with new people within the MASFAA region, to sharing ideas by attending and presenting interest sessions, to experiencing how the program and site committees organize their conference. I posted to the MSFAA Facebook page the IASFAA twist on the charity silent auction – the mystery gift! Bidders know only the donor and the minimum bid, so whatever they win will be a surprise. 

I also enjoyed the “speed dating” Town Hall – a number of hot topics are announced before the conference, and attendees are asked to bring their questions and best practices. The sessions are moderated but move quickly while giving everyone the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. I will definitely ask my conference committee to consider adopting this as a session at future conferences in Michigan.

I need to thank the Presidents (Julie Haack, outgoing president, and Kristi Fuller, incoming president) and past-president Jen Sassman, for their help and support. Julie Dunn and Gary Adams from Program and Site were also gracious and helpful as I prepared my presentation. I am looking forward to returning to Iowa in October for the MASFAA conference and hoping to see some of these wonderful people yet again. Thank you Iowa for your warm welcome!

Val Meyers
Michigan State University
MSFAA (Michigan) President

Monday, April 20, 2015

Summer Institute - Meet Our Faculty!

Have you registered for Summer Institute yet? Or actively encouraged your staff to do so? Registration is still open through May 1st! Check out our blog post from a few weeks ago that includes highlights and the agenda. Today, we're highlighting the faculty and frequently asked questions.

Ryan Gebler, Associate Director of Financial Aid at Lawrence University. He’s responsible for packaging, verification, professional judgment, private and federal loans, state grant programs, and good old fashioned financial aid counseling. It’s a small office, so he gets the opportunity to do a variety of things. He’s also currently the treasurer for the Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA).

“I’m a math teacher trapped in a financial aid administrator’s body. Sort of… My mom was a teacher for over 30 years, and my 18-year-old self decided to rebel from the profession that was (probably) my real calling: teaching. I’m excited for the opportunity to be in the 'classroom' and teach. Plus, I’ve got some great jokes I want to try out during the sessions.”
Emily Janero, Assistant Director for Compliance in the Office of Financial Aid at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). Prior to starting at IPFW, Emily spent eight years working on the NCAA Division I compliance side of higher education as an Assistant Director of Athletics for Youngstown State University and Saint Peters’ University. Emily holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism from The Ohio State University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Saint Peter’s University.

“I’m very excited to serve as SI faculty so I can give back to my profession and hopefully inspire other new professionals to get more involved like I was inspired last year when I was a SI attendee.”
Brandon Huiner, Senior Assistant Director at the University of Chicago. A Packers and Brewers fanatic, Brandon has been working in financial aid since shortly after birth – a true child prodigy. This has allowed him to build up an incredible tolerance to ever-changing regulations, every type of parent, and Return to Title IV Funds calculations. Outside of financial aid, his hobbies include collecting peach pits, gum found under tables, and other useless trinkets.

“Financial aid has encompassed my entire life…literally – so who better than to teach others?”

Angela Johnson, Executive Director of Enrollment Operations & Financial Aid at Cuyahoga Community College. Although Angela’s been at Cuyahoga for the last 15 years, she started in financial aid 25 years ago as a work-study student at The Ohio State University. As a long-time financial aid professional, she is eager to work with financial aid professionals.

“As a faculty member for Summer Institute, I appreciate sharing my early experiences as an FAA and hopefully encourage new professionals to learn and grow as a financial aid expert. The new advanced track this year is sure to be a great addition and conversation starter about best practices in financial aid.”
Chad Olsen, Assistant Director in the Office of Student Financial Aid at Iowa State University. Chad supervises the Loan and Client Services units and has worked in the financial aid profession for 15 years.

“I’m excited to serve on the faculty for SI so I can help facilitate discussions on various financial aid topics and best practices. I look forward to learning from the participants!”
Christine Passer, Director of Financial Aid at Southwestern Michigan College. A native of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Yooper), Chris is currently working toward a doctorate in Community College Leadership at Ferris State University.

“It is my lifelong love of learning and teaching that fuels my excitement for being faculty for the MASFAA Summer Institute.”

Summer Institute - FAQ:
What does it mean to earn a NASFAA Credential?
Using the NASFAA CORE, a fundamentals curriculum for financial aid professionals, our faculty members will teach and discuss each of eleven subject modules ranging in topics from Student Eligibility to Return to Title IV Funds. Each subject module corresponds to a subject credential test and participants of the Summer Institute will have the cost of these tests included in our program fee. For every test passed – participants will be listed on NASFAA’s Credential Honor Roll and will improve professional resumes.

Why are you offering two tracks?
Summer Institute is no longer a “Newbies Only” program. Learning from a nationally-recognized program to solidify your professional knowledge is good for all financial aid administrators, but we still acknowledge that the learning needs of a newcomer are very different from our seasoned participants. This means that although both tracks will be on the same schedule, learning the same subjects, the discussions and focus will be set appropriately.

What is included in the $700 registration fee?
  • 2014/15 MASFAA Membership (so you don’t have to be a member to attend!)
  • NASFAA CORE materials and instruction
  • NASFAA Credentialing Tests
  • 4 nights of accommodations
  • All meals and evening activities (except for Wednesday’s Free Night)
What does a suite-style room include?
Each suite in the University Tower includes contemporary furnishings with two un-lofted beds, a full attached bathroom, and wi-fi.

State Update: Missouri

(by Angela Karlin, Missouri Representative)

Happy Spring! The sun is shining and birds are singing and MASFAP is busy bringing professional development opportunities to our membership!

Professional Development, led by Co-Chairs, Chelsey Giles and Crystal Bruntz, have planned and hosted three events this semester with two more in the works before June. All three events had record setting attendance and filled our meeting rooms to capacity!

In late February, MASFAP hosted Business Officers and Registrars at two separate events. Zack Goodwin, from ED provided training specific to these important campus partners and how their offices and financial aid overlap in areas of compliance and the importance of campus teamwork. After the formal presentation, the afternoon session was a roundtable format for participants to share concerns and best practices.

On April 1st, MASFAP held the first in a series of six NASFAA credentialing events. Verification and Packaging were the featured topics and now 74 MASFAP members are eligible to take the exam for their NASFAA credentials in these areas! Besides the amazing work being done by our Professional Development committee, the spring semester has also been a busy time for our Leadership Symposium participants. On March 27th, the group met in Springfield, MO to discuss leadership topics and take part in a half-day team building activity. The team building activity was a “ropes” course for the mind, led by Tim Eberle from the Leadership Ranch. Participants worked as teams to solve problems that stretched our minds and made us realize how important each one of us is to the team regardless of title or status within the organization. This group will continue to work together throughout the year to build MASFAP leaders for the future. They say a picture is worth a thousand words…or in this case a thousand giggles!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Illinois Association Student Financial Aid Administrators Annual Conference 2015

(by Janet Ingargiola, 2014-15 ILASFAA President)

The theme “In Concert” of the ILASFAA Spring Conference was a wonderful experience for all in attendance in East Peoria’s Embassy Suites & Conference Center, on April 8-10, 2015. We had approximately 268 attendees this year. Considering the budget “issues” in Illinois we were thrilled to see so many colleagues in attendance. It was a joy to have the “Band back together”.

We had 40 “Newcomer’s” and over half were able to attend our Pre-Conference Newcomer’s Session to ensure they got the most out of this first time experience.

The live music of the University of Illinois Springfield Camerata Scholarship Ensemble welcomed members as they checked in and moved on to the opening session area. The Ensemble was marvelous and multi-talented, their music helped set the positive tone that followed the entire conference.

The conference opened with the Pulse of Peoria whose dynamic Drumline got our pulses racing and our hearts soaring when hearing about these impressive young people and some of the challenges they face on their road to college. They are all so talented and an example of what we wish all of our nation’s young people would follow. What a privilege it was to have them with us.

The “In Concert” music theme and real musical performers helped ILASFAA make beautiful music together. The observation of Justin Rosenstein, the Asana Co-Founder, that; “Working together in concert more smoothly not only helps us move more quickly; it changes the nature of what we undertake. When we have the confidence that we can orchestrate the group effort required to realize them, we dare bigger dreams.”

Our vocation as Financial Aid Professionals is to help others dare to pursue their bigger dream and in coming together to train, network and share experiences at our annual conference we make the difference for our students to end on a “high note” with resources to complete their educational goals and have the career they wanted.

I chose this theme for a number of reasons, my love of music and how I believe that music is the common language that all of us in one way or another relates to. Music inspires us, uplifts us, can console us and can just simply make us happy.

My hopes were that at the “ILASFAA In Concert” members could wash away the concerns of their everyday financial aid life for a brief time and would network with their colleagues. I hoped they would revisit with the “oldies” and make new tunes with folks they just met. I hoped they would head home content in knowing they learned new skills to add to their Songlist and they confirmed they are in harmony with current practices. I hoped that they further complemented their skills to orchestrate all their players on campus to make beautiful compliance music together.

We collected paper evaluation forms this year (as well as keeping the online option) and from reviewing them this morning it appears my hopes have been realized. Positive reviews and comments from members confirmed this.

Our guests:

  • Sara Beth Holman, MASFAA Past-President and Director of Financial Aid at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin provided a MASFAA update for our members as well as conducting the session; Positioning Yourself on Campus. Her advice that “building relationships with key colleagues on campus is critical in ensuring that your voice is heard before things happen . . . rather than being the person who has to figure out how to adapt after they have happened” was well received and of great benefit to attendees. Her knowledge as well as her humor was most welcomed.
  • Justin Draeger, President and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) joined us at our conference. Justin provided an update of what is taking place now and what might take place concerning Federal Student Aid programs. Justin was inspiring as well as ensuring us that NASFAA is singing our same songs and they do all in their power to ensure access, affordability and resources to those pursuing higher education. We appreciated Justin’s time considering what a tight schedule he had.
  • Angela Smith, Training Officer (Region V), Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education, was with us. She provided a general Federal Update session and several other sessions providing federal student aid training. We were fortunate to have her time and expertise and her session on “Ask a Fed” which was standing room only, truly was a “sold out” venue. 
  • Eric Zarnikow, Executive Director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) stated that they are able to provide their services with “A Little Help From My Friends” and he appreciated the partnership that ILASFAA and ISAC have had for many years. He provided an update on our state student aid programs as well as state budget and legislative activities. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated individual with an orchestra of liked minded staff working hard in such difficult financial times to represent the needs of all of our students but particularly the economically disadvantaged.

We were privileged to have many ISAC staff presenting our sessions in a variety of topics. An overview of the ISAC Audit Process was provided as a two-part session and while not always in two part harmony members concerns and questions were well received. I think members left with a better idea of the process and what is expected from the institution as well as from the ISAC auditing staff.

Ben Burton, President-Elect, Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (ISFAA) and Chief Student Financial Resources Officer, IVY TECH Community College was our MASFAA State-Exchange attendee. Ben presented his session, Consortium and Contractual Agreements whose description; “I’ve been everywhere” was on the spot in describing how to manage our “wandering” students' financial aid needs and remain in compliance.

Cyekeia Lee, Representative for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth presented the session; Being Their Advocate: Assisting Homeless Youth with Higher Education Access. This session provided us with valuable information and strategies to better serve this population of our nation’s most vulnerable youth who need us so much to help them achieve a better life through education.

Sessions were offered by many of our members who gave of their time to present on a variety of “Top 10 Hit List” topics. It is a bonus to have so many competent professionals wanting to give back to the membership. We could not conduct such a quality training conference without their generosity.

Our ILASFAA Support consisted of Academic Works, CEFCU, Charter One, Discover, First Marble Head, General Revenue Corp., Great Lakes, iHelp, Inceptia, ISAC, MOHELA, Navient, PNC, Sallie Mae, SALT, Toad Code Inc., USA Funds and Wells Fargo. Not only do these supporters help us keep conference costs manageable for our member’s but many of their representatives presented at sessions. We thanked them by hosting the ILASFAA Support reception with great food and live music performed by Scott Kaczinski, a singer/songwriter who performs original songs and a wide variety of music for various venues.

Scott also performed on Thursday morning as folks were heading in to first sessions. We had the music of The River City String Duo perform as we entered lunch and before we began the Business meeting. Members’ said they appreciated the halls filed with music and it created the right tone for a day that was fully packed with training and professional development. We ended that day with a dinner and then live music from a Peoria local band Jammsammich. Their formula of groove-driven funk, R&B, retro 80’s tunes, island jams, and liberal doses of comedy was welcomed by members who danced, laughed and sang-a long.

The ILASFAA Charity consisted of individual ILASFAA members donating amazing baskets to be raffled at the conference. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to our upcoming Reality Store. The 2014 Reality Store was very successful. FAAs throughout the state of Illinois gathered at Kershaw Elementary School in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood for our annual Reality Store held 11/21/14. 74 students, grades 6-8, took part in it. 94% of the students enrolled at the school are classified as low-income. The purpose of the Reality Store is to provide financial literacy education to young people through experiential learning by allowing students to make real-life decisions akin to those their parents make on a day-to-day basis. We were touched by one young student whose career goal is to become a financial aid administrator, how great is that!

As well as the basket raffle to support the Reality Store member Marchello Johnson, University of Illinois, asked us to bring dry goods and toiletries for the Seed of Hope Food Pantry. Members heeded his call; it took him several trips to load up his car with all the donations. Our vocation makes us a very giving group and in tune with the needs of our communities. We can sing John Lennon’s “Imagine All the People Sharing All the World” as a song that rings true.

One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to recognize and thank our own by presenting awards. Mary Shaw, Chair of Awards and Recognition (and ILASFAA Past-Present) and the committee worked at selecting and compiling data for this year’s recipients. These were presented to members for their years of service in the financial aid profession, their retirement announcements as well as several select awards:
  • Meritorious Service was presented to Sue Swisher, Saint Xavier University, Sue is also the MASFAA President-Elect.
  • Sustained Service was presented to Karen Belling, Wheaton College, Amanda Fijal, University of Chicago and Cheryl Howerton, Milikin University. 
  • New Professional was presented to Aesha Williams, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • President’s Award was presented to Sam Nelson, Director of Outreach Development, Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Committee of the Year was presented to ILASFAA/ISAC Rules & Operations, Cheryl Warman, Oakton Community College as Chair.
It was a fantastic conference and would not have been so without the devotion to detail, mindfulness of resources and talents that the Conference Executive VP, Michelle Cornell, Illinois State University, and her Conference Team made up of Program Chair Brandon Huiner, University of Chicago , Facilities Co-Chairs Tammy Garza, Lakeview College of Nursing and Becky Prather, University of Illinois Springfield, ILASFAA Support Chair Kathy Bangesser, Highland Community College, and Event Registration Chair Jenny Stout, Eastern Illinois University along with their committee members. They took to task the work required in creating and executing the “Concert”. Thank you is never enough to say for the amount of time and hard work these individuals donated to the membership. They truly “Rocked” us all!!!

My “Swan Song” at the end was in saying that, “I love our profession and the fact that we are a positive instrument in our student’s lives. We are unique in our vocation and thus many on our campus colleagues view us as beating by a different drummer. I see this as a good thing, we do have a key role in helping the individual in meeting their educational goal and in keeping our school in compliance with the seemingly endless supply of rules and regulations coming from an endless supply of entities (kind of like Jazz sessions). It is one of the most interesting and rewarding positions on our campus. Nobody gets us like us and that is why I have enjoyed our ILASFAA conferences through the years. What a wonderful opportunity to be with those who understand your joys and frustrations. When we support each other, grow in our profession and keep the “Songs” of our students in our heart we really do make beautiful music together.” The Gavel was passed to Amanda Fijal, University of Chicago, who is the 2015/16 ILASFAA President.

Being a MASFAA Leader

(by Heidi Carl, Professional Development Chair)

We all know what being a leader means. Or at least we think we do. Maybe you think of a leader as someone who guides or directs a group? Maybe you think of a leader as somebody who people follow? Maybe you think of a leader as someone with power or influence over others? Maybe you think of a leader as not just having power or influence but also having vision, values, intelligence, and personality?

We all have different ideas of what being a leader really means and I’m sure some of our ideas have come from people we admire for their leadership abilities. Their abilities to inspire us to do more, to do better, to inspire others, to believe in ourselves are what make us think about these leaders with admiration and respect. Our leadership mentors are the people in our lives who challenge us to stretch ourselves to reach our full potential as a financial aid professional and as a productive member of our community.

Some of those great leaders are the people serving our Midwest association as our executive council, delegates at large, state presidents and committee chairs. On top of the daily financial aid jobs they do, they have chosen to guide our membership toward a common mission. It isn’t a glamorous leadership position and it doesn’t come with much pay either. In all actuality the pay is really like the Mastercard commercial—PRICELESS. The leadership examples these individuals provide for the entire membership are just that—PRICELESS.

These leaders are doing more by giving beyond their daily job. They are doing better by helping us all to learn and communicate about the latest trends and information regarding financial aid. They are inspiring all of us to see our work as valuable to the students and families we serve. They are helping us believe in ourselves by offering workshops and training to build our confidence in our financial aid knowledge and skills. They are all truly mentoring the entire membership through their leadership examples.

If you want to be a MASFAA leader, then you need to attend the MASFAA Leadership Symposium. Every year MASFAA offers a Leadership Symposium, in the summer, to encourage individuals who are leaders or are aspiring leaders to develop or continue on their leadership development path. The Leadership Symposium is open to two individuals from each of the nine states in the MASFAA region. Participants are chosen by their state leaders as great representatives of that state, as well as individuals looking to do more by serving MASFAA in the future. The Leadership Symposium this year will be held on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis on June 2-5, 2015. If you are interested in growing more as a leader and serving MASFAA in the future please contact your state president for more information on the opportunity to attend the MASFAA Leadership Symposium 2015. The experience will challenge you and help you increase your leadership knowledge and it might even indeed be PRICELESS!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Reminder: Register for Summer Institute

(by Marvin Smith, IUPUI, and Karla Weber, UW-Madison)

In Indianapolis tonight, Duke or Wisconsin will be crowned as the NCAA Men's Division I Champion! What else is happening in Indianapolis? Summer Institute! Think about heading to Indy this summer, June 1st through 5th on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Registration for the annual MASFAA Summer Institute is now open through May 1, 2015.

  • Participants will learn from MASFAA experts and NASFAA Core training materials and be eligible to apply for NASFAA credentialing. 
  • Two tracks are now being offered for beginners and more seasoned financial aid professionals.
  • All instruction and accommodations at recently-converted four-star hotel and conference center. 
  • All-inclusive charges for as little as $700 for week includes four nights of accommodations, all but one meal, instruction, instructional materials, coordinated evening activities to facilitate learning and networking, and complimentary 14-15 MASFAA Membership.
  • Indianapolis offers a central location within driving distance of most of the Midwest; Indianapolis International Airport offers reasonable flight options.
We hope to see some of MASFAA’s best and brightest new stars in Indianapolis in June!

Check out the agenda:

2015 West Virginia Spring Conference

(by Kathy Bialk, WVASFAA Conference Program Co-Chair)

The theme “Marking a New Trail” of the WVASFAA Spring Conference precisely described the experience of all those who attended the conference at Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, WV, March 31 – April 2, 2015. This year’s spring conference hit record attendance having 108 registrants (typically 60 to 70 persons attend the WVASFAA conferences). Just before the conference opened, the 2014-15 and 2015-16 WVASFAA Executive Committee members greeted and became acquainted with 28 new members!

The conference opened with the session “Washington’s Trail: Update from the Capital” given by our guest keynote speaker, Megan McClean, Managing Director of Policy & Federal Relations, NASFAA. We were honored and pleased to have Megan join us at our conference, who in addition to providing the opening session, offered two additional outstanding sessions.

We were also fortunate to have Craig Rorie, Training Officer (Region II), Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education, participate heavily at the conference. Craig provided a general Federal Update session and several other sessions meeting the specific federal student aid training needs of our state. As always, we can count on our “own” WV colleague and leader, Brian Weingart, Senior Financial Aid Director, WV Higher Education Policy Commission, to contribute heavily in meeting the training needs of the WVASFAA membership. Brian presented the “Don’t Take the Wrong Path – Get Your State Update Here” session and two additional sessions.

We kindly welcomed Susan Teerink, Director of Financial Aid, Marquette University, as our MASFAA state-exchange guest from Wisconsin. Susan joined us at the WVASFAA Executive Committee meeting preceding the conference; she graciously presented the session, “Developing Effective Counselors to Meet the Needs of 21st Century Students;” and attended many of the session offerings. I heard many comments from individuals who said that Susan was “such a pleasure to meet and to get to know” and I couldn’t agree more.

Conference Co-chairs Kathy Bialk (Program), Marshall University, and Candi Frazier (Site), West Virginia University, thanked Megan, Craig, Brian, Susan, affiliate Veteran’s Affairs and Vocational Rehabilitation professionals, business partners, and all of the other WVASFAA members who presented and moderated sessions at the conference. We also expressed gratitude to our sponsors (Citizens One, EdFinancial Services, Great Lakes, KHEAA, Incpetia, PNC Bank Education Lending, SallieMae, and Wells Fargo), who not only contributed financially to the conference, but have given ongoing time and assistance to the members of WVASFAA. Finally, we expressed great appreciation to the entire WVASFAA Conference Committee and other WVASFAA chairs and committee members who worked so hard and collaboratively to put together a first-class conference that we believe met the training and professional development needs of our members.

Awards were presented to members for their years of service in the financial aid profession: Janet Ruge, WV Higher Education Policy Commission, was recognized for 45 years, Nadine Hamrick, Marshall University, for 40 years, Patricia Harmon, New River Community & Technical College, for 35 years, as well as several others, who served from 20 to 45 years (in increments of five years).

Karen Lay, Glenville State College, who is retiring, was acknowledged and recognized for her service in the profession. Sandra Oerly-Bennett, West Virginia University, was presented with the MASFAA Leadership Award that she was previously given at the 2014 MASFAA Fall Conference. Amanda Sites, WVASFAA President, presented the President’s Award, which recognizes service and leadership within the Association, to Carla Strawn, PNC Bank Education Lending, and the Neil E. Bolyard Meritorious Award, which recognizes service to the Association and the larger community, to Kathy Bialk, Marshall University.

2015 Fall Conference Co-chairs Katie Cooper, West Liberty University, and Sharon Howard, WV School of Osteopathic Medicine, announced the plans in place for the “Financial Aid Survivor WVASFAA Style” Conference, which will be held at The Resort at Glade Springs, Daniels, WV, October 28 – 30, 2015.

Candi Frazier also asked us to look forward to WVASFAA’s 50th Anniversary in 2017 and recommended we set a goal for ourselves to have at least one half of our membership to have at least one NASFAA Professional Credential by the year of our 50th Anniversary.

During the WVASFAA Business Meeting, Kathy Bialk, WVASFAA President-elect, presented Amanda Sites an award recognizing her service and dedication as WVASFAA President for the past year and half, and Amanda transitioned the WVASFAA presidency to Kathy. Kathy re-emphasized WVASFAA’s mission and the desire to widen her passion (vocational calling in the financial aid profession) by encouraging others to bring out their abilities, ideas, and skills to the financial aid profession collectively and collaboratively. Kathy stated that “if we help one another, we are going to be in a much greater positon to do what we want to do – that is, help our students achieve their higher education aspirations.”