Monday, November 30, 2015

Interest Session Submission for MASFAA 2016

Submit Interest Session Proposals For The 2016 MASFAA Conference By January 15

Help us gear up for our 2016 MASFAA Conference!  MASFAA’s 2016 Conference Program committee is requesting interest session proposals for the 2016 conference, set for October 2-5, 2016 at the Marriott Downtown hotel in Kansas City, MO.
Please click on the attached Session Proposal Form to fill out an submit your or a session.  Help us tailor your conference to your own unique needs; we appreciate your input!
Thank you

2016 MASFAA Program Committee
Email Anne Kaluza for more information.

Use This Blueprint for Default Prevention Success

Submitted by: Angela Henry, USA Funds Account Executive 

What actions should your school take to prevent student loan default and lower your cohort default rate? While the specifics may vary according to school, there is a set of tried-and-true general approaches that should serve as a blueprint for any default prevention action plan. 

Communicate with your borrowers. Communicate early and often to share default prevention information with students and borrowers. Give them a steady diet of messages that help them stay out of trouble in repaying their student loans — and educate them about how to get help if they do encounter problems in repayment. Work with others at your school to decide how and when you’ll share these messages, and who’s responsible for the communications. 

Focus on retention and student success. Since failure to complete a degree or certificate still is the highest overall risk factor for default, help your school to develop ideas and initiatives for retaining students and seeing them through to graduation. Then, once students have graduated, let students know you’re there to support them and help connect them with resources if they need repayment help. 

Target your default prevention at high-risk students. Your time and your resources are limited. Find ways to target your default prevention efforts to achieve maximum benefit and the best possible outcome for your borrowers. The best way to target your efforts is to identify your borrowers most at risk of defaulting and focus on the borrowers you’re most likely to be able to help.   

Make data-driven decisions. To figure out where to focus your default prevention efforts, you’ll need more than guesswork. You need data so you can make good decisions about where to put that limited time and resources to best use.  

Analyze borrower records. You have myriad types of student and loan data at your disposal, so analyze that dataDig deeply into the information to look for trends and correlations in student loan default at your schoolIt’s only after you identify the problems that you can begin to identify the best default prevention solutions for your borrowers. 

Assess the effectiveness of your efforts. This last step in the action plan is one many schools overlook. Make sure to review what you’ve done in your default prevention efforts, and when. Use data to determine if what you’re doing is working. If it is, keep doing it. If it isn’t, make some changes and then, as always, let the data tell you what is — and isn’t — working. 

If you need help developing your default prevention action plan, visit There you’ll learn more about USA Funds’ default prevention tools and solutions for borrower communication and financial literacy training. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Leadership Spotlight: Heidi Carl

Heidi Carl, Director of Financial Aid, Wabash College, Indiana, Delegate-at-Large position on MASFAA Board. The Delegate-at-Large position serves as a representative of the membership and helps to oversee certain committees of the board, as assigned by the president. 

How did you get started in financial aid?  I started in financial aid at the University of Indianapolis (UIndy). It was my first job in higher education after earning my Masters in Higher Education Administration. 

How did you first become involved in your state and regional associations?  It only took a couple of months of working at UIndy for me to get involved in our state association. I went to my first state conference and a number of my colleagues were friends with JoAnn Laugel (recently retired Director of Financial Aid at Evansville University), who was the incoming president of the Indiana state association. JoAnn asked me if I was interested in serving on a committee that year and the rest is history. I have served our state association every year since then in some capacity, and was our state president in 2011-12. I started serving MASFAA when I was our state representative as president and fell in love with serving at that level as well. I have continued to serve MASFAA as the Professional Development committee chair and now as Delegate-at-Large.  

Why were you interested in a MASFAA leadership role?  I love all of my colleagues in financial aid. They have really become by extended family and I was excited about the opportunity to represent them on our current governing board.  

What advice do you have for someone new to financial aid?  Meet people and get involved. I try to mentor new professionals and encourage them to serve as early as they can in their career. I really think it is the key to my success in financial aid. Learning from others and being able to reach out to them whenever I have a question is really why I think our network of professionals is so important.  

What advice do you have for someone interested in becoming more involved in MASFAA?  I would recommend they take the leap and sign up to get involved. The benefits you get from serving the association far outweigh the time it takes for you to get involved. You will grow personally and professionally.  

What are you looking forward to learning during your leadership term?  I hope to learn more about the operations of the MASFAA board. I have been involved as a committee chair but I think being a Delegate-at-Large will give me a closer inside look to understand all of the details of managing the board and all of the work those individuals do for our association.  

What do you enjoy doing when you are outside the aid office?  When I’m not at work I love to hang out with friends and typically enjoy some type of delicious cuisine. I have to admit I have been referred to as a “foodie.” I love to cook and bake and I also love to go out and enjoy delicious drinks and food. I’m so fortunate to live in a great location that allows me to try many different wonderful restaurants. I also love to read, garden and of course shop for SHOES! 

Any final thoughts?  I am so thankful that I have been elected by my peers for this wonderful opportunity. I encourage the MASFAA members to reach out to me if they have an issue or an idea that they would like to present to the MASFAA board. I truly want to be a voice for the membership.