Monday, September 12, 2016

Michigan All-Stars Win At NASFAA 2016

Michigan All-Stars Win at NASFAA 2016
Gold Star Award: Michigan State University
Regional Leadership Award (MASFAA):  Lori Vedder, University of Michigan Flint

Submitted by:
Krissy Bhaumik
MSFAA President

Michigan’s financial aid community could not be more proud of our colleagues who won national recognition at the 2016 NASFAA Conference for their outstanding and innovative work.  We enthusiastically congratulate them for these achievements and want to share this with our MASFAA friends and colleagues.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) recognizes innovative ideas in the world of financial aid through their Gold Star Award each year.  This year, Michigan State University’s Office of Financial Aid was recognized with this award.  MSU’s Gold Star Award winning program, “Utilizing Learning Management Systems for Financial Aid Training,” is an online training program “that offers many benefits including reaching learners from various geographical locations, allowing self-paced learning, and the ability to review training materials at any time.”  Congratulations to MSU’s Office of Financial Aid staff for this great achievement!

Also being recognized for her achievements and leadership in the financial aid profession was Lori Vedder, Director of Financial Aid at University of Michigan – Flint.  Lori has long provided leadership and guidance for the Michigan association and is a former president of MSFAA.  She is a former MASFAA VP and, in 2013, brought her passion, dedication and witty sense of humor to MASFAA’s president position.  Lori has led strategic planning committees, been an active mentor to young professionals and is frequently sought for her expertise on compliance and advocacy.  While still being active at the state and regional leadership levels, Lori has also served NASFAA on their Board of Directors and as their treasurer.   She is a 2015 NASFAA MVP (Most Valuable Professional) and a long-time shining star in MSFAA and MASFAA.  Lori, you are deserving of the NASFAA Regional Leadership Award for the Midwest Region and MSFAA and MASFAA share in celebrating this recognition with you!  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

MSFAA Early Awareness and Multicultural Outreach Activites

Michigan’s Early Awareness and Multicultural Outreach (EAMO) Committee –
Our Financial Literacy Warriors

Submitted on behalf of and with special thanks to:
Julia Delagarza and Ingrid Clover
MSFAA EAMO Committee Co-Chairs

Submitted by:
Krissy Bhaumik
MSFAA President

This is just a short note to update you on the Spring 2016 EAMO workshops at the Ojibwe Charter School (OCS).  Monday, April 11 was the kick-off day for the five workshop series that ran through May 20.  The series of workshops, conducted in partnership with Lake Superior State University (LSSU) GEAR UP program, addressed college financing and college success strategies as well as incorporating a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) component.  The workshops also included The Tiny Warrior: A Path to Personal Discovery, by DJ Eagle Bear Vanas.  The OCS students were familiar with Mr. Vanas and his work, as he has previously conducted workshops at their school.   The students were very excited to hear that Mr. Vanas would be evaluating their scholarship essays.  The Guardian of the Fire Scholarship recipient, Kara Pennington, was invited to MSFAA’s Summer Training Conference on beautiful Mackinac Island and recognized at a lunch session.

During the kick-off, students participated in a new, STEM-specific version of Extreme Reality, a financial literacy activity in which students are assigned a profession (in a STEM field), and then challenged to create budget strategies and balance a checkbook.  This activity was a great lead into an activity a few weeks later at LSSU’s  Exploration Sensation featuring the Michigan Technological University (MTU) STEM roadshow, Mind Trekkers (for more information, see

While a commute up to Sault Ste Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula did pose challenges for some volunteers, MSFAA members from around the state were encouraged to attend the OCS workshops.   This is the first outreach initiative where MSFAA has partnered with our tribal communities in Michigan.  We are hopeful that what was started this year will grow thrive like a a “Three Sisters Garden serving our tribal students and families for years to come.  (Hint: If you don’t know about the Three Sisters Garden, look it up! It’s a transformative metaphor for us all!)

Conference is Soon - Register & Reserve your Room NOW!

The clock is ticking on the room block for the MASFAA conference.  The reservation cutoff HAS BEEN EXTENDED to Thursday, September 15h.  Register and book your room before it is too late. 

Plans are being finalized for the MASFAA 2016 fall conference.  Things you will not want to miss:

MASFAA training 100 high school counselors on the FAFSA application and eligibility. 

MASFAA Lip-sync battle and The College Basketball Experience (with BBQ)

Federal Update with Jeff Baker

NASFAA Updates from Justin Draeger and Lisa Blazer, our National Chair

The Wisconsin Hope Lab, the nation’s first laboratory for translational research aimed at improving equitable outcomes in postsecondary education. Visit for more information!

An out-of-the-ordinary look at the importance of the work we do with Brooke Haycock from EdTrust. See sneak peeks here:

A riveting talk from the visionary behind Broke, Busted & Disgusted documentarian, Adam Carroll.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Access Committee recognizes University of Michigan: College Wallet Workshop Third Place Access Award Recipient – 2015

Written by Virginia Washington

The Access Committee would like to recognize one of the MASFAA 2015 Award winners in today’s blog. We are featuring the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and their program “College Wallet Workshop”!

Overview: The “College Wallet Workshop” was successful because the program allowed students to have the opportunity to connect the dots and see in black & white, on paper, a visual reviewing all the expenses they will incur as a college student. Adding to the experience of the event, students could view their college financial aid budget and pay for all their various required college expenses.

Target Group served:  The event targeted students who were admitted as freshman for the fall and came to campus to participate in a summer student support service initiative called “Bridge”. This program helps these students make the transition from high school to higher education.  More often than not, these students are the first in their families to attend college. Participating in the “College Wallet Workshop” provided them with the hands on experience to learn how to manage their finances.

Financial education content covered: The “College Wallet Workshop” taught students the basics of spending money wisely and to make good budgeting choice during their college career.  Students participated in real life college experiences like:

- Purchasing books                                - How to select housing
- Transportation                                     - Getting a job
- Paying Tuition                                     - Covering personal expenses
- Learning to balance your checking account

The event also included life’s “Temptations Station” for the lesson on “wants” vs. “needs” like:

- Starbucks                                - M-Den (apparel)
- Latest/greatest iPhone            - Cable TV –Internet

Interesting highlight:  Students gave some feedback saying the experience was “eye-opening” for them and it really helped.  Some also commented how they should not live the life of luxury now, but spend less and have money for other things that are important for the future. The idea of being frugal is not just to survive college, but it’s also being financially prepared for the road ahead. 

So as the saying goes:  What’s in your “College Wallet”?

Other Ideas:   While the students learned a lot from the event, so did the staff. Session leaders and experts came away with suggestions for working with the Comprehensive Studies program and plan to continue encouraging students to work with the financial aid staff to develop a college budget, talk through wise borrowing habits and persuade students to consider taking a one credit hour financial literacy course to further enhance their knowledge.  

Congratulations to the University of Michigan on winning the Third Place Access Award for 2015. U of Michigan won $250 to continue to grow and develop the College Wallet program.

To learn more about the College Wallet – Check the U of Michigan webpage at

Interested in nominating your financial education program for the 2016 Access Award?
Check out the Access Award application at MASFAA website and apply by September 9, 2016. Winners will for the 2016 Access Award will be announced at the MASFAA Conference in Kansas City, MO – October 2-5, 2016. 

If you have questions, contact Angela Johnson, Access Chair at or (216) 987-4213.