Monday, March 28, 2016


While we may have to wait until November to elect the next President of the United States, we will only need to wait one day to begin electing the next set of MASFAA officers.  This Tuesday, March 29, online voting will become available to all current MASFAA members.  The membership will have until 11:59 PM on Monday, April 11, to cast their ballots.  An e-mail will be sent to all current members this Tuesday with a link to the ballot.  If you do not receive this e-mail, you will want to check to make sure that your membership is current.

Members will be electing a President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer-Elect and two Delegates-At-Large during this election cycle.  These officers will begin their terms at the conclusion of this fall’s conference in Kansas City, Mo.  Please take a few moments in the next two weeks and exercise your right and duty as a MASFAA member by voting for our future leaders!

Monday, March 21, 2016


Preparing for Summer Institute: First-Time Faculty

by Val Meyers, Michigan State University

After 30 years in the financial aid profession, I am actually nervous about my role as a faculty member at MASFAA Summer Institute, even though I have been looking forward to the opportunity for a long time.  Actually, the chance to take on a role as a faculty member at SI has been on my professional “bucket list” for the last five years.

Now, why am I nervous?

It isn’t because I am afraid of talking in front of a group.  I have done a large number of financial aid presentations over the course of my career, at every level (state, regional, national).  I have been a media spokesperson for the Office of Financial Aid at Michigan State University for many years, so have been on local TV news programs and quoted in local media.  I have presented to parents and students on campus in groups of every size, from a handful of participants all the way up to 750-800 people (which I admit was a bit intimidating the first time around).  So, most people who know me understand that I love presenting and am actually kind of a ham.

And, after 30 years in the profession, with ten years as the Compliance Officer as one of my roles, I know a lot about rules and regulations and policies and procedures.  So that isn’t a worry.

Finally, with all the networking I have done with my wonderful colleagues within the state of Michigan, the MASFAA region, the Big Ten financial aid group, and NASFAA, I have some of the best stories to share about how the rules work (or don’t work) in financial aid.

But the reason I am nervous is that it has been 17 years since I have had to take a test.  And to teach SI, I have to take (and pass) at least four NASFAA credentials tests in the next three months.

Most of us learned during our college days that knowing the material may or may not matter as much as knowing how to take the test.  In some cases, the information that your instructor focuses on may not be the same information that you have decided is important – and you may end up finding that out only after you have blown out the first exam.

So to learn how NASFAA does exams, I am going to do a couple of things first – take the practice tests, read and re-read the core materials and instructors guides that we will use to teach, and most of all, to try to recapture the student in me that used to know how to take tests.

I am so grateful, in many ways, that I have to do this in order to teach, because everything I learn in this process is going to help me teach the Summer Institute students exactly what they are going to need in order to pass the tests themselves and become certified.

It’s a great profession and I am looking forward to giving back to it with Summer Institute.  For those who will attend – I look forward to seeing  you there – and don’t forget to ask me how many tests I actually passed!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Where will you be October 2nd through 5th in 2016?  Take a second, think about it………..hmmmmm???? 
Oh Yes!!!!  KANSAS CITY!!!  If that isn’t your answer yet it should be!  MASFAA 2016 will be held in the 29th largest metropolitan area in the U.S., in the city with the most barbecue restaurants per capita, in the Home of the World Series Champion Royals, in “The Paris of the Plains” according to one journalist, in my home town, KANSAS CITY! 
The program committee is hard at work gathering session topics, planning for presentations and lining up some great speakers.  The site committee is starting to figure out where we will eat and where we will play and all the fun things in between.  Now it’s your turn.  Open your calendar, mark it with an out of office for early October and come join us in Kansas City for what is sure to be an educational, motivational and memorable time! 
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, KC is home to the largest maker of boxed chocolates in the world…….Russell Stover Candies! 
See you in October! 
Crystal Bruntz 
2016 Local Arrangement Co-Chair