Friday, August 30, 2019

August! and Guiding the Future


As I tell my staff, this is the most wonderful time of the year!  I know we are all very busy and I want to wish you a smooth start to the year.  Stay strong, and remember, what we are doing is making dreams come true!

I have one quick update I need to share with you.  As are result of obligations on her job, Sandy Neel has had to step off the Board.  Sandy was working on the LRP and governance issues.  While we hate to lose Sandy, our first responsibility is to the organization that signs our checks.  Sandy is on this email and I want to take this opportunity to thank her for her work and support of SASFAA, and for me personally.  She will be missed.

Stepping in to work on LRP and governance is another outstanding member of SASFAA – Keith Reeves.   Keith is good friend and will work hard to carry this project forward. Keith, I personally thank you for your willingness to step up and take over this task.  Keith and I served on the last long range plan and I know he is going to do an outstanding job for SASFAA.

Keep an eye on the Legal Issues Workshop.  It is really coming together.  You will want to attend and encourage others to do the same.  I am looking forward to this event.

This week, call a colleague who is not a member of SASFAA and encourage them to join.  Wayne Kruger tells me we are off to a good start with membership, but we want to see SASFAA grow.  Working together we can make that happen.

Thank you for all you do for students and SASFAA.  With all of us working together it is going to be a great year!

Bill Spiers
SASFAA President 2019-2020

Friday, July 19, 2019

It's July - Let's Get Started!

Greetings from Virginia, SASFAA!

Hello, from the Commonwealth of Virginia!  As VASFAA President, I have the privilege of addressing the SASFAA membership this July.  VASFAA concluded our transition meeting a few weeks ago.  I am humbled by the talented folks we have serving this year.  They are sure to have an impact on the “places” VASFAA goes, which brings me to our theme – “Oh, the places we’ll go!”

I chose this theme to pay homage to Dr. Seuss, who sparked intellectual curiosity in many of us at an early age.  Reading was fun because of him and his wacky characters.  Additionally, the theme speaks to many of our careers.  Did you really ever see yourself as a financial aid administrator?  I sure didn’t.  Cop was my first choice. (Really!)  Believe it or not, the appeal of these two seemingly divergent careers – law enforcement and student financial aid – share a common thread.  For me, the appeal was the desire to help and have a positive impact on our society.  Funny, I find I’m much more successful in doing that in financial aid and through my involvement in our professional organizations.

The topic of involvement brings me to a few questions about our profession that I’ve been pondering for a while.  Why do we get involved?  I do because this is a profession, not an easy job; getting involved has provided the support network I need to re-center and understand the impact we make.  The work is rewarding and we know that college makes a difference but, at this time of year the work can become quite daunting.  During this peak season while our friends are out enjoying the pool, beach, or substitute any summer activity you’d rather be taking part in, we are in the office.  We are worried about students that cannot pay their summer bill and how they will get registered for the fall.  Or, we are trying to figure out exactly how we reach all those students that still have not submitted their verification documents so we can have their aid in place by the first day of school.  Without the trusted colleagues, mentors, and friends I have made as a result of our professional organizations I doubt I would still be working in financial aid.  Being involved in VASFAA and SASFAA is just my small way of saying thanks to those people and trying to pay it forward. 

So, how do we energize those within our profession to get involved?  How do we get them to recognize the difference between a job and a profession, and invest themselves in it?  We need to encourage folks to stay and grow their skillset so they can take leadership roles.    We hear every day about So-and-So’s retirement.  We all have vacancies that we need to fill.  Financial aid needs qualified folks ready to fill the voids.

I haven’t figured out how to tackle this issue – but it’s one I’ll keep mulling.  I’ll be checking back here to see what you suggest.  

That’s the beauty of our work; we have each other.

Brad Scaggs

VASFAA President 2019-20

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

What is Service?


Over the last number of years the buzz word has been servant leadership which embraces the concept that we should serve not for what we can get, but rather what we can give.  This concept is often counter to what we are looking for when we volunteer our time and efforts, but it is the purest form of service.
My first step as I prepared to write the blog was to consult the old Merriam Webster Dictionary to find the definition of service.  As I read the many definitions from military service to a religious service, the one that caught my attention was, “useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity.”  An easy way to state this is service should be for the good of those being served, not for the one who is serving.

A Presbyterian minister speaking on giving once said, “The joy of giving doesn’t always occur at the time you give, but rather when you see what your giving can accomplish.”  While he was focused on monetary giving to the church, the same is true of leadership to an association like SASFAA.  Many times those who serve SASFAA have tasks that require time, talent, research, commitment.  It is easy to grow weary, but when you see your finished work, and the impact it has on SASFAA and your fellow members, you realize all your labor was worth the effort.

SASFAA needs you to serve!  Whether on a committee, in leadership, or at a conference, or training event you are needed.  SASFAA cannot run solely on the efforts of the Executive Board.  While the Executive Board is important, there is too much that needs to be accomplished.  Active involvement and service by the entire membership will strengthen SASFAA as an organization and provide the input we need to guarantee the needs of the membership are being addressed.
When you serve, know that your “useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity” does make a tangible difference.  

You are needed.  Can we count on you to serve?

Bill Spiers
2018-19 President-elect

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Conference Updates


Hello SASFAA, this is your 2018-2019 Sponsorship Chair, Chester Priest, with an update!  As of February 5, 2019 we have 31 sponsors/contributors for conference support!

There are 5 “Lunch and Learn” sessions on Monday the 18th at 11:30 that our sponsors are presenting:

  • Introduction to Oracle Student Financial Planning Cloud Service
  • For Low-Income Students, Success Depends on More Than Just Financial Aid
  • Innovations in Financial Aid Management Solutions: What's Inceptia Uncomplicating Now?
  • Engaging Students Using an Artificially Intelligent Chatbot
  • Student Consumer Credit
We will also have a game (with prizes) for the you, the attendees!  Just visit each sponsor table, and get your entry card marked.  Once you've visited all sponsors, and your card is complete, turn it in to yours truly, and be entered in the Wednesday morning drawing!

Chester Priest
2018-19 Sponsorship Chair

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Perspectives - Theirs, Yours, and How to Keep Them Relevant

I Wonder How It Felt….

When I was in elementary Sunday school, we would sing, “I Wonder How It Felt.”*  The lyrics refer to Bible stories that were familiar to me, even as a child.

I wonder how it felt to wake up in the belly of a whale.
I wonder how it felt to spend the night with Paul and Silas in the jail.
I wonder how it felt to meet big Goliath in the field.

The list goes on…, but the chorus is really what I want you to think about today.  The chorus, (paraphrased) I am just a child, my life is here before me, I just cannot wait to see what God has for me, and trusting Him in the wait to see what life will be for me.

You may be asking yourself…Why am I reading this?  Or thinking, I don’t have time for nonsense!  But, HOLD ON…Now that you know the background, stay with me for a couple more minutes.

The other day, this song unexpectedly popped into my head.  At first, I thought that there was absolutely no reason for me to think of this song.  Then, I realized that there was most definitely a reason.  As our office began to be busier and busier, I was so busy seeing student after student that I failed to ‘wonder how it felt’ to be that student.

Have you ever wondered how it feels to be a student sitting across the desk from you?
Have you ever wondered how it feels to wonder whom, or where, your parents are?
Have you ever wondered what that student has seen that you could not begin to imagine?
Have you ever wondered how it feels to have no running water, or indoor toilet?
Have you ever wondered how it feels to go hungry? **

I grew up in rural Alabama. Most of the kids at my school thought my family was rich.  We were low middle class at best, but we were rich in love.  I never had to worry that I would not have running water (well, except for that big snowstorm and frozen pipes).  I never had to worry about having parents that loved me unconditionally.  I never had to worry about leaving my house to go to an outhouse.  Believe it or not, in the 80s and 90s I had friends that used a well for water, and an outhouse. 

I say all of this to say:  the chair that is currently sitting empty in your office is filled with the ‘feels and felts’ of many students.

The question is – When a student leaves your office, does s/he know that s/he
     is a student and life is just before her/him?
     can put her/his trust in you, self, and the institution?
     can’t wait to walk across that stage with degree in hand, knowing that success knows no bounds?

Today, I challenge you to ‘wonder how it feels’ to be the people that encounter you.  Remind them, and yourself:

“If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don't,
If you like to win, but you think you can't
It is almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”

“Thinking” or “The Man Who Thinks He Can” by Walter Wintle

*I did not recall who wrote this song, so I ‘Googled’ it.  “I Wonder How it Felt” by the Gaither Vocal Band. 
I have never heard them actually sing this song.  My mom would just play this on the piano out of her children’s book.

**During the SASFAA Conference, the 2019 SASFAA Charities are Mimi’s Pantry, Coastal Carolina University Food Pantry, and the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Food Pantry, let’s all come together to support these food pantries so that others don’t have to know how it feels to go hungry. https://www.sasfaa.org/charity2019

Stephanie Miller
2018-19 AASFAA President

Friday, January 18, 2019

New Year, New Slate, New Directions, New Dreams - - NEW for YOU!


The Nominations and Elections Committee is pleased to present the slate of candidates for 2019. 

Election Candidates
         President-Elect         Nancy Tate and Celena Tulloss
        Vice President           Joan Bailey and April Tretter

Information regarding the election and candidates are available at https://www.sasfaa.org/elections2019/.  Please take a moment to review the statements of candidacy, professional involvement and other pertinent information regarding the candidates.  The Nominations and Election Committee would like to thank each of the candidates for their willingness to run for office and serve this great association if elected.  In accordance with the policies and procedures, the election process will be conducted as indicated below. 


Nominations from the floor will begin on January 18, 2019.  This will give any new candidates a chance to submit required candidacy information and a chance for members to consider the new candidate.
Election polls will open on February 9, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EST.  Please plan to cast your vote before the polls close on February 19, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EST. Voting is open to current active, paid, and qualified SASFAA members.  
A link to vote will be sent via email to eligible members at the opening of the polls. The email ballot will contain a unique voter key link directing voters to the election host site, Electionbuddy. 
Questions about the voting process may be directed to Angie Black, SASFAA Electronic Services Committee, at a.black@louisville.edu.

Sharon J. Oliver, Ed. D.
2018-19 SASFAA Past-President

New Directions

Happy New Year!

Hello SASFAA Family,

Happy New Year! I hope your 2019 is off to a great start! 

FASFAA’s theme for this year is “Road Map to Success.”  Our most recent pit stops have been the Clock Hour and New Aid Officer Workshops!  We hope that you were able to attend and enjoy.  As we make our way through this year’s map, you’re invited to attend our Annual Conference, Regional workshops, and more.

FASFAA encourages you to get involved in your State and Regional Association (SASFAA). With so many talents and virtues that you all have, it would be a pleasure to have that shared with your industry partners.  I look forward to seeing you at the SASFAA conference, and wish you a prosperous 2019!

David Alexander, MBA
2018-19 FASFAA President

New Dreams

As we all get through the busiest times of our year such as Fall and Spring, we should remember that our students come from all walks of life, and each has a unique story. To help me keep a fresh perspective in these busy times. I keep this definition hanging on the wall in my office.  

Dream - “a cherished hope; aspiration; ambition”

Working with students during this time can be stressful, challenging, and rewarding, all at the same time.  It’s important for us to remind ourselves that despite their procrastination and negligence towards our processes, they are still working toward achieving their dreams. 

Tarik J. Boyd
2018-19 SASFAA Secretary

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Opportunities and Challenges



Please share the following resources to your Military Connected Students:

Set your Sights on Success Visit Tutor.Com https://military.tutor.com/home

Mentoring Program: American Corporate Partners (ACP) Free Mentoring Program: For Veterans and Spouses https://www.acp-usa.org/mentoring-program/program-overview


Army Emergency Relief Dependent Childrenhttps://www.aerhq.org/Apply-for-Scholarship/Dependent-Children
Army Emergency Relief Spouse Education Assistance Program:

Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA):

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Scholarships:  https://www.vfw.org/assistance/student-veterans-support   

Accenture Student Veterans Scholarship

Pat Tillman Scholar: http://pattillmanfoundation.org/apply-to-be-a-scholar/ Open to veteran and active-duty military members in all branches of service, including the Coast Guard, as well as their spouses

Open to all current and former service members who wish to become teachers in a K-12 setting

Field of Honor Scholarship: https://www.foldsofhonor.org/resources/scholarships/

Wings Over America: https://wingsoveramerica.us/scholarships For children and spouses of all U.S. Navy personnel

SVAs Leadership Institute, sponsored by Prudential, is the premier training for student veterans who are emerging leaders in their chapter, on their campus, and in their community.

Kamesia M. House
2018-19 Global Issues Committee