by Faith Phillips
Director of Financial Aid, Centrail Ohio Technical College - OSU Newark
The theme “It All Starts with Us: Opportunity, Access, Success” was a great message for all that attended the conference at the Bertram, Inn in Aurora, Ohio May 4 – 6, 2016. We had 206 attendees and welcomed 31 New Members/ first time OASFAA conference attendees. They were invited to join us for the New Member Welcome/Introduction to OASFAA session just for them!
For the first time in a long time the OASFAA conference began with a Pre-Conference offering NASFAA Credentialing on Student eligibility. Lindsay Walton of the University of Mount Union and Emily Haynam-Janero of The Ohio State University did an excellent job as presenters conveying not only general eligibility requirements but shared great detail about how database matches and NSLDS information are used to determine and monitor student eligibility. We had over 50 registrants and the feedback from this training was very positive. We hope to offer more NASFAA Credentialing over the next year.
The conference opened with a MASFAA update from MASFAA President-Elect and Associate Vice President for Financial Aid at Indian Wesleyan University, Thomas Ratliff. Thomas provided great information about the state of MASFAA, promoted the upcoming MASFAA Summer Institute and Leadership Symposium as well as the fall conference in Kansas City. Thomas was not only informative but quite witty. In addition to kicking off our conference, Thomas also presented an interest session on Required Eligibility Updates to the Department of ED (PPA and ECAR). His knowledge and humor were welcomed!
Also joining was the MASFAA State Representative Exchange, Amy Hagar from Moberly Area Community College and MASFAP President-Elect. Amy graciously presented on Consumer Information and Disclosure Requirements. It was a pleasure to host both Thomas and Amy.
We were honored to have Justin Draeger, President and CEO of NASFAA provide a NASFAA update as well as the status on The Hill at our general session on Thursday. Given the upcoming presidential election, it was not surprising that Justin provided a few laughs during his update. We had the pleasure of meeting Justin’s son, Truman, who like his dad, arrived in a shirt, tie and slacks looking very much like a mini-Justin.
During the OASFAA Business Meeting, Amanda Reisinger, OASFAA President presented Phillips, Director of Financial Aid at COTC/Ohio State Newark with the prestigious James W. White Award. This award is given annually to a member who exemplifies the dedication to students, to the aid community, and to the recipient’s local community-qualities that were so evident in Jim’s career as Director of Financial Aid at Oberlin College.
The Support Professional Award that recognizes an individual or team of support/clerical professionals reporting to an OASFAA member was awarded to Lisa Jackson, Administrative Clerk at Kent State-Ashtabula. Lisa was nominated by her supervisor Kristina Call and was not only very surprised to win the award but also to see that her mother and Dean came to see the presentation of her award.
Thanks to our entertainment chairs we celebrated in the evening and tapped into our inner Picasso with Canvas and Wine! A good time was had by all doesn’t even being to describe the fun we had!
Attending OASFAA for the first time was FSA Training Officer Zack Goodwin. Zack provided interest sessions on Perkins Loan Issues, Academic Calendars (Modules), Unusual Enrollment History, and FAFSA Updates and PPY. He closed our conference with a Federal Update. The OASFAA Gavel was passed by President Amanda Reisinger to President-Elect Faith Phillips. It was a fulfilled informative week with our colleagues and friends.