NASFAA 2017 – San Diego
San Diego – what a beautiful place to hold NASFAA 2017. The conference was a huge success, drawing close to 2,400 of our closest financial aid colleagues to discuss all things related to providing access and affordability to higher education. The conference was held at the San Diego Convention center (middle of the photo above, just above Coronado Island). A few themes emerged from the conference, with the hot topic of Year Round Pell, Are you doing it? How? Can I see your drawings of how you worked out the technical issues? Arguably the one topic that caused a few standing ovations and a few tears was retirement of Jeff Baker.
Now, what better way to recognize the retirement of the Director of Policy, than with a cake, with a copy of the DCL that announced his hire (of course, an FAA saved that). That’s how the NASFAA board chose to celebrate Jeff’s last board visit.
A common theme of the NASFAA conference was #Fight4FinAid, complete with a ralley led by Megan Coval. President Trump’s budget proposal calls for significant reductions in financial aid, with NASFAA developing a tool to determine the impact on your campus. I’d encourage you to calculate your number and share it with your campus adminstrators. As Megan noted “budget cuts sting like a bee” hence the catchy web address. https://www.nasfaa.org/bee
For those of you that haven’t attended a national conference, it is reminiscent of your state and regional conference, but on a grand scale. I’ve found it easy to know if I’m in the hot topic session based on who is there and how full the room might be. Many sessions are standing room only and push some serious firecode limits. Sessions were so packed with info that some presenters dominated the discussion and didn’t share with their panel, so work out those logistics before you hit the big stage. For those number gurus, 20% of NASFAA attendees were first timers and 20% were also from California. I met a number of people through the conference app, which encouraged you to scan other people’s badges. It’s hard not to sound like a pick-up cliché when you say, “Hi, I’m Nick from Missouri, mind if I scan your badge?”
At the conclusion of the conference is the passing of the gavel. Dr. Lisa Blazer passed leadership to Billie Jo Hamilton of the University of South Florida. Billie Jo got her start in financial aid at Pittsburg State University as a FWS student and has had stops at KU Med, Mizzou, and Missouri State, meaning she has deep ties to MASFAA and MASFAP. I am sure you will also notice a familiar face on the board, as the Past MASFAA President Lori Vedder moves on to the board as National Chair Elect.
One of the things that makes me proud is the continued presence of MASFAA on the NASFAA Board of Directors. For the 2017-18 year MASFAA will be represented by: Lori Vedder, Angela Johnson, Jackie Kennedy-Fletcher, Kim Jenerette, Doug Levy, Thomas Ratliff, and myself. If you have questions or concerns about NASFAA, feel free to reach out to our MASFAA members, and remember they are here to listen and pass along any concerns you may have.Up next for your MASFAA board is the President Elect retreat at the end of July. If you have any concerns or causes you would like your MASFAA leaders to undertake for the next year, please let any board member know.
This post submitted by Nick Prewett, MASFAA President-Elect.