Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Institute 2017 Reflections

by Rachel Henry, Assistant Director, Cornell College

MASFAA Summer Institute--12 financial aid topics, 5 days, and 1 dynamic community of financial aid professionals! I attended the Summer Institute this past June and am so glad I did! As a newer financial aid professional, this experience was the boot camp that I needed to understand the essential components of financial aid as well as identify resources to dive deep into topics that apply directly to my work at Cornell College. My favorite part of the Summer Institute was the fast-paced, information packed content sessions. Our knowledgeable and fun Institute faculty provided core information on each financial aid topic, time to work through real-world examples, and space to discuss how the topics played out on our campuses. My only regret was wishing I had brought a print out of the NASFAA workbook on each topic (along with the slides I printed out) so that I could more easily have marked up the examples to include with my notes. 

After the Summer Institute was over, the learning and application didn’t stop there! I solidified my Institute knowledge by taking the NASFAA credential exams on the presented topics. I earned 9 of the credential exams after Institute, having already earned 2 previously. Taking the credential exams encouraged me to reflect back on my learning and to continue to identify how to apply these concepts in my role as an Assistant Director. Specifically, combining information I learned from the Needs Analysis session and reworking EFC hand calculations before the exam reinforced my understanding of the different factors that play into a student’s EFC figure—a helpful skill when speaking with students and families about the FAFSA and reviewing FAFSAs. 

Overall, it was a valuable professional experience and I would recommend it to anyone in the field, both newcomers and seasoned financial aid professionals alike—there is something for everyone at MASFAA Summer Institute!

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