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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Choosing to Serve

Serving as Leaders

The Nominations and Elections Committee is pleased to present the slate of candidates for SASFAA’s upcoming election.  Special thanks to members who submitted nominations and to those who are willing to serve in a leadership capacity.  SASFAA continues leading as a vibrant organization due to the dedication and involvement of wonderful volunteers.

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

Additional information, including resumes and candidacy statements, will be provided at a later date.  Voting opens Saturday, February 9, 2019, and closes Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at 3 pm eastern time.

Thank you again to everyone who volunteered.

Sharon Oliver
2018-19 Nominations and Election Chair

Serving as Community

- helping, doing something for others, kindness

Hospitality - warm reception, helpful, welcoming to visitors, guests & strangers alike

As we embrace the beauty of fall and reminisce on memorable moments of summer, I hope each of you will remember to take a moment to enjoy the little things in life that evolve into something beautiful.  Our daily encounters with with people from different walks of life really takes special people like YOU to perform the duties of our profession.  We are "game changers" who bridge many gaps in making College a reality... that's who we are!

Our lives are filled with opportunities for Service & Hospitality.  I hope each of you will take time to share these unique qualities with colleagues in your office or campus.  Choose a day(s) to do your "Random Acts of Kindness & Love."  Here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing!  Have fun!!
  • Share a small bag of candy, or a candy bar with someone who may be in need or doesn't have access to the simple things in life
  • Make a donation, or do something helpful to make life a little easier for a cancer patient, or caregiver
  • Stand up for victims of domestic violence by volunteering at a shelter, or spreading the word of resources available to victims
  • Bake cookies, and give to random people who cross your path, or workers in a business that you frequent
  • Adopt a shelter pet, or coordinate a food or blanket and towel drive
We're unique & special in our own way but the work we do makes us all ONE.
Let's "Celebrate You, Celebrate Me, Celebrate US and SMILE
(See Me In Love Embrace me for who I am)."

Regina Gilbert
2018-19 Global Issues Committee
(TASFAA Global Issues Chair)

Serving in Difficult Times

A View from the Storm

To say October was a blur is an understatement!

On Sunday, September 30 I left for our computer conference.  On October 5, I flew from there to the SASFAA Executive Board Meeting in Knoxville.  Saturday night, October 6 I flew back to Tallahassee, FL around 11:30 p.m.  The next day we went to church, there was no mention of a storm.  Sunday night we went to our local Publix only to find that the shelves were nearly empty of basic items such as bread, water, canned goods.  As we approached the checkout counter the person in front of us said “Isn’t it amazing how fast the storm has grown?”  My wife and I responded by saying “What storm?”  Only then did we learn that a hurricane was forming in the Gulf.

On Monday, I listened to the weather projections.  The storm would hit the Florida Gulf Coast as a category 1 storm.  No big deal.  We have seen those before.  By mid-morning we were looking at the possibility of a category 3 storm with a projected path over Tallahassee.  Now I am begging to pay attention! 

About the same time I learned that our College emergency team was meeting.  We waited to see what action they would take before the storm.  To our surprise, they closed the College for the rest of the week and asked that no one return to campus until the following Monday. Hearing this only heightened my concern.  What did they know that had not been made public?  Were there anticipated issues we didn’t know about?

By Monday night it was projected that the storm would reach category 3 or higher.  Now I am really concerned!  I spent Tuesday making preparations for the storm.  All items outside had to be brought inside, and those that couldn’t be had to be fastened down.  The day was filled with activity.

Wednesday morning brought more bad news.  Now the storm was predicted to be category 4, or higher.  Regardless of where the storm came ashore we were in for a rough time.  By noon Tallahassee was a ghost town.  The winds were picking up, and with them, rumors of a category 5 storm swirled.  While we had light rain earlier in the day,  around 3:00 the real storm bands arrived.  We lost electricity about 4:30.  The winds were howling, and all we could do was sit and ride out the storm.  Around 5:00 I stepped out on my front porch to see what damage had occurred in my neighborhood.  As I looked around I heard a loud thud, a large hickory tree in our yard had fallen.  It missed our house, but crushed our neighbor's fence and missed his house by only inches.  Around 6:00 the storm passed.  We sat quietly in the dark.

Thursday morning I was up early, dressed, and outside to fully reviewing the storm damage.  Fortunately, our damage was limited to the tree, but the yard was a mess.  Around 8:30, I drove around downed trees and debris, in an attempt to find breakfast.  As I reached the main road I saw unbelievable damage.  Trees down, power lines down, trees across power lines, roads closed, buildings damaged.  Wow!  My heart broke for those who experienced the catastrophic damage. 

By afternoon we were out looking for a generator.  Only stores with generators were open, but we found one at Lowes.  Now, the quest for gas started, and we were fortunate enough to find all the gas we needed. Others were not so fortunate.

On Friday, cleanup started.  My wife, Terrie, and I worked in the yard all day and had to hire a tree service to remove the downed tree.  The day seemed to never end.  Still no power!! 

At this point I had to make a decision.  I was scheduled to attend the Mid-Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators as part of the regional exchange as President-Elect of SASFAA.  No power, limited cell phone service, debris all over my yard.  I had to make a decision I never wanted to make – I could not attend MASFAA.  I was truly disappointed as it was an event I had looked forward to for weeks.  At that point I informed President Erslan I could not attend.  In addition I had to call Delta as I wouldn’t use my ticket.  Delta was gracious and gave me full credit for the ticket.

After a couple weeks, Tallahassee Community College returned to normal operations.  The same is not true for our schools to the west inclusive of Chipola State College, Gulf Coast State College, and FSU Panama City.  All received significant damage.

By now many of you are asking “What does this have to do with SASFAA?”  Well, I am glad you asked.  Below are some of the things I learned.

One of the hallmarks of SASFAA is our collegiality.  Through the storm and into this week I have received multiple text messages, calls, and emails inquiring about my safety and asking if I needed anything.  The offers included lodging as needed. In crisis your SASFAA friends stand with you through the storm.

Another lesson I learned is that in difficult times hard decisions have to be made.  I didn’t want to abandon my trip to MASFAA, but it was necessary.  There will be times for SASFAA when we will have to make hard to decisions to keep the association strong.  Our leaders and members must be willing to make those hard decisions.

Finally, and I think the most important thing, I learned that it isn’t about things, it is about people.  In SASFAA our greatest strength is our membership.  You are why we exist, and where our focus must continually strive to make sure what we do serves the membership. 

I am so proud of our profession and our SASFAA membership.  Because of you our view from the storm is truly one of hope.

Those of us who have lived through Hurricane Michael thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and support.

Bill Spiers
2018-19SASFAA President-Elect

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Members, with benefits!


It is a pleasure to serve this year as 2018-2019 Membership Chair!  

I'm Wayne Kruger, Executive Director of Financial Aid Operations at St. Petersburg College.  I most recently served SASFAA on the Executive Board as Secretary.    In this blog post I want to give you some ideas of how you can enjoy some of the many benefits of your SASFAA membership.
As your Membership Chair, I am here to help you with the following membership benefits: 
  • ·         Would you like a membership certificate sent to you for this year?
  • ·         Are you are locked out of the SASFAA site and the unlock features are not working.
  • ·         Having issues with your Membership Renewal or have multiple accounts that need to be combined?
  • ·         Having an issue registering for an event?
  • ·         Hoping to get in touch with someone on our SASFAA Board about volunteer opportunities or need answers to other general questions you’re not finding the answer for.

For help with any of these areas, please feel free to email me at kruger.wayne@spcollege.edu and I will be happy to help you!

There are many benefits of being a SASFAA member.  While many of our website benefits are currently open to all SASFAA members (past and current), as the year goes on some website benefits may be available to paid members only. 

Being a SASFAA member allows you to get our Federal updates, Federal trainer, Dave Bartnicki's popular Bartnicki Bulletins, access to Training Webinars (we plan to offer more this year), and  SASFAA job postings and forums.  We are very proud of our in person trainings like the New Aid Officer Worship, the Management Symposium, Pre-conference workshops, and our Annual Conference.  

Please help support professional development for yourself and others be renewing your SASFAA membership today.

*Does your office want to renew everyone at once, or pay with one check? 

I am happy to help facilitate one group payment for your institution and we can email all your schools individual invoices to your billing/accounts person.  They can then list all the invoice numbers on one check for payment of all those in your office.

NOTE: If you are paying online via Credit Card or PayPal,  you will only be able to pay for one individual membership at a time. 

Looking forward to having a wonderful and successful year, and seeing you at upcoming events.  

Wayne Kruger
2018-2019 Membership Chair