Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union

NASFAA President Justin Draeger sent a summary to the NASFAA Board last night of President Obama's higher education/financial aid comments in his State of the Union address.  The summary below (bullet points) is from Justin.  This does not contain any opinions or policy points, but is a compilation of some of President Obama's comments in case you missed his speech.

·         Schools that don’t keep costs down will face punitive measures: So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can't be a luxury - it's an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.

·         Student Loan Interest Rate Hike:  When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.

·         Tuition Tax Credit: Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves middle-class families thousands of dollars.

·         Double Work-Study Jobs: Give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.
·         College/Business Partnerships: Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers - places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

·         Simplifying Labor Retraining Programs: And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need. It's time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.

·         Dream Act: Let's also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: The fact that they aren't yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else. That doesn't make sense. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now. But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let's at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SASFAA Announces Candidates for Secretary

Sandy Neel, Chair of the SASFAA Nominations and Elections Committee, has announced the candidates for SASFAA Secretary for 2012-2013.  The candidates are Sharon Oliver and Amanda Sharp.  Their statements of candidacy are below.  Watch for news for voting to begin.


Sharon Oliver Statement of Candidacy

I am honored to accept the nomination for SASFAA Secretary and is very committed to executing the duties and responsibilities of this role in an efficient, organized manner.  I stand fully prepared to work cooperatively with the President, Board Members and membership to ensure that the following functions of this position are accurately and promptly completed:

  • record meeting minutes
  • disseminate meeting agendas
  • plan and organize board meetings
  • communicate with members
  • update the policies and procedures manual
  • serve as the chair of the bylaws committee
  • maintain the seal
  • perform other duties as assigned by the President
The passion and dedication that I possess coupled with my professional experience will allow me to share the leadership and organizational skills that I have acquired with this association.    While serving as Secretary for the State of NC, I was honored with an award during my tenure for the high level of services rendered in this capacity.   The experience of serving as NCASFAA’s Secretary afforded me an opportunity to gain firsthand experience and knowledge which has prepared for the duties and responsibilities at the regional level. 
Please find highlighted below my professional experience which shows that I have been very involved with serving this association and if elected as SASFAA’s Secretary, I will be most grateful for the opportunity to render excellent services to this great association.
Current Position
·         Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Director of Financial Aid
North Carolina Central University

Years in Financial Aid:         19

Previous Positions
·         Director of Financial Aid, Shaw University
·         Bursar, Shaw University
·         Chief Accountant, Shaw University

·         Masters Business Administration, Webster University
·         Bachelor of Science,  Accounting, South Carolina State University

Professional Involvement

·         2020 (Diversity) Chair, 2011-12
·         Conference Committee Member, 2011-12
·         Vice President, 2008-09
·         Leadership Symposium Chair, 2008-09
·         Instructor, New Aid Officers Summer Workshop, 2007- 2008
·         Newsletter Editor, 2007-08
·         Participant, Leadership Symposium, 2007
·         Newsletter Editor, 2006-07
·         Voting Member of SASFAA Board (NCASFAA President), 2004-05
·         Participant, New Aid Officer’s Summer Workshop, 1992

·         Executive Board 2005-06, Past President
·         Executive Board 2004-05, President
·         Executive Board 2003-04, President-Elect
·         Executive Board 2002-03, Secretary
·         Support  Staff Chairperson,  2001-2002
·         Program Committee, Member
·         Diversity Committee, Member
·         New Aid Officers, Instructor
·         Mentor



Amanda Sharp Statement of Candidacy 
I would like to thank the Nominations Committee for the honor of nominating me for the position of SASFAA Secretary.   You may be certain that I do not take lightly the responsibilities of the office.    I have had the distinct pleasure of serving on the Executive Boards of both SASFAA and AASFAA.  This service provided me with an insight to the importance of understanding our organization’s Policies and Procedures and By-Laws.   The office of SASFAA
Secretary requires an attention to detail and a commitment to accuracy, both of which are qualities I possess.   I will work tirelessly to ensure that our membership is kept abreast of the latest information from SASFAA Executive Board Meetings, as well as other events in our ever-changing profession.

You may rest assured that, if elected, I will serve SASFAA with the highest level of integrity and dedication.  Furthermore, I have the support and approval of my fellow employees to engage in the necessary travel and time away from my financial aid assignments to fulfill the duties of the SASFAA Secretary.  Again, thank you for the honor of nomination the office of Secretary and for supporting me in my desire to continue to serve our association.
Work Experience:
2008-Present: Associate Director, Student Financial Services, University of North Alabama
2007-2008:  Student Aid Specialist, University of North Alabama
2004-2007:  Secondary Education - Social Science Teacher
1996-2002:  Mortgage Banker, Bank Independent, Florence, AL

B. S., University of North Alabama
MAEd., University of North Alabama

Professional Involvement:
2007- Present: Member
2009-2010: President-Elect
2010-2011: President
2011-2012: Past President
2011: Spring Conference Presenter
2010: Spring Conference Presenter
2010: Spring Conference Moderator
2010: Spring Conference Chair
2010: Program Committee
2009: Fall Conference Chair Local Arrangements Committee
2008: Spring Local Arrangements Committee

2007-Present: Member
2010-2011:  Executive Board Member
2011-2012:  Budget & Finance Committee Member
2011-2012:  Annual Conference Committee Member

Other Professional Involvement and Honors:
2011: Presenter, Alabama Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Annual Conference
2011-Present:  University of North Alabama Staff Senate Member
2010-Present:  University of North Alabama Shared Governance Committee Member
2003-Present:  Member Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

SASFAA Announces Candidates for Vice President

Sandy Neel, Chair of the SASFAA Nominations and Elections Committee, has announced the candidates for SASFAA Vice President for 2012-2013.  The candidates are Mandy Branch and Mike Reynolds.  Their statements of candidacy are below.  Watch for news for voting to begin.

Mandy Branch Statement of Candidacy

Because we work in Higher Education, we often hear professors discuss helping their students achieve those “ah ha moments”.  Ah ha moments are moments in which a student finally grasps a difficult concept. Professors strive to help their students attain “ah ha” moments, because these are the moments that will propel the student forward in his or her field of study and will hopefully set him or her on the path to a rewarding career.  As financial aid professionals it is our duty to help both our students and coworkers achieve “ah ha” moments. Financial aid is in a state of continuous flux. If a financial aid professional does not stay up-to-date on the latest changes to federal, state and institutional regulations, he or she will not be able to help students achieve those “ah ha” moments. Instead, the financial aid professional may inadvertently cause the student to have an “uh oh” moment and have to repay or lose financial aid eligibility simply because the financial aid process was not fully explained to the student. It is with this concept in mind that I accept the nomination of Vice President for SASFAA. I would like to help your staff achieve an “ah ha” moment in financial aid.
During the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 academic years, I participated in the New Aid Officer’s Workshop as a trainer, and found it to be one of the most enjoyable and engaging experiences of my career. During the 2011-2012 academic year I will serve as the Curriculum Coordinator for SASFAA’s New Aid Officer’s Workshop. I believe these experiences will help prepare me for the role of SASFAA’s Vice President. 
I feel honored and blessed to be part of such a great organization, and look forward to serving SASFAA in the future. Thanks again for your nomination!
Current Position:
Coordinator of Outreach and Special Projects, University of Georgia (2006 to present)
Years in Financial Aid: 11 ½
Previous Positions
Loans Counselor, University of Georgia
Verification Clerk, University of Georgia
Bachelor of Arts in Drama, University of Georgia
Professional Involvement
Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
·         Instructor, New Aid Officers Workshop, 2008-2009 & 2009-2010
·         Curriculum Coordinator, New Aid Officers Workshop, 2011-2012
·         Membership Committee, 2010-2011
Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
Diversity Committee, 2008-2009
Moderator and Presenter at various conferences
Other Activities
College Goal Sunday Site Coordinator for Clarke County, GA area, 2009-2010, 2010-2011
Academic Honesty Facilitator, University of Georgia
Staff Coordinator for UGA student organization Peer Financial Counseling, 2006-present
Member of Georgia Default Prevention Task Force, 2008-2010 

Mike Reynolds Statement of Candidacy
I am truly honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to run for Vice-President of the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA). Since receiving Financial Aid back in 1980 from the same office where I am currently employed, I realized the importance and significance of financial aid and how it can make dreams become reality.  SASFAA continues to support and enhance this role and has given me many opportunities to continue to contribute. As a past state President and Board Member, as well as, Local Arrangements Conference Chair, I know the dedication and effort necessary to assure that the training and conferences are at the highest possible level.
In my 25 years in the financial aid industry, I have worked on both the guaranty agency and school side of serving students and families in reaching their higher education goals. I have instructed in numerous state conferences, private Collection Agency conferences as well as a serving as a mid-level instructor for SASFAA. I have also served as Secretary, Vice-President and President of the Alabama Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. I cannot ever repay SASFAA for all the knowledge, support, and experiences that I have been offered through my affiliation with such a great group of professionals. However, I do offer up any of my services and expertise to assist SASFAA is continuing in their valuable services.
Once again, I am truly honored to be considered for this position and pledge to provide the best possible leadership and training to the very deserving SASFAA membership. 


Married—Robin Mayfield Reynolds
               Teacher—1st Grade  Wrights Mill Road  Elementary Auburn, Alabama
2 Daughters – Lauren  Cecille           22
                        Melissa Alexandra    19
Both students at Auburn University

Work Experience

Aubie Program Advisor
Auburn University
April 2005-Present
Executive Director, Student Financial Services
Auburn University
November 11, 2004- Present

Director, Student Financial Aid and Scholarships
Auburn University
May 2000- November 10, 2004

Interim Director, Foy Student Union

Auburn University
May 2003-December 2003         

Associate Director
Student Financial Aid
Auburn University
July 1999- May 2000

Alabama Student Loan Program Administrator
Alabama Student Loan Program-KHEAA
August 1995- July 1999
Alabama Commission on Higher Education
Assistant Director, Loan Processing
November 1984- August 1999

B/A Business Administration
1982 Auburn University-Montgomery
Master –Public Administration
1997 Auburn University, Montgomery

Past President of Alabama Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

SASFAA Announces Candidates for President-elect

Sandy Neel, Chair of the SASFAA Nominations and Elections Committee, has announced the candidates for SASFAA President-elect for 2012-2013.  The candidates are Zita Barree and Nathan Basford.  Their statements of candidacy are below.  Watch for news for voting to begin.

Zita Barree Statement of Candidacy
I am honored to be nominated again for the position of SASFAA President-Elect.  For those of you who were involved with SASFAA last year, you might remember that I ran for the same position and lost.  So, you may be wondering, why do I want to run again?  Certainly it would be easier to accept defeat and move on, right? 
Fewer of you know that my husband, Michael, who retired from the financial aid profession several years ago, had emergency heart surgery this past August.  We learned then that life can change in an instant and that you need to make the very most out of each and every day that God gives us.  We also were reminded that we have a great family and a wonderful group of friends and that the majority of our friends come from either our church or the financial aid world. 
Over the twenty plus years I have been involved with SASFAA, it has served me by providing many lasting friendships, great training opportunities and a network of colleagues who I can call on to help me through what continue to be challenging times for our profession.  SASFAA will remain a premier regional association with a leader who understands the issues, can represent the needs of our members, and can help guide our association through the hurdles ahead.  I am ready to serve SASFAA in this critical role and believe my prior experiences have shown that I am capable of taking on this challenge!
The financial aid profession is a tough one at times but more often it is a fulfilling one as well.  It is more than just a job to me; it is an integral part of my life and a true honor for me to meet the needs of students, their families and my colleagues as best as I possibly can.  I have the full support of my husband and my school.  I ask for your support and hope you will give me the opportunity to serve you and SASFAA as your next President-Elect.   

Current Position:
       Director of Financial Aid, July 2009 to present
       Hampden-Sydney College
       Hampden-Sydney, VA

Years in Financial Aid:   22

Recent Previous Positions:
  • District Marketing Director, Edamerica
  • Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
  • Director of Financial Aid, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
  • Associate Director of Financial Aid, VCU
  • Financial Aid Coordinator, School of Dentistry, VCU
  • Assistant Coordinator of Financial Aid Programs, State Council of Higher Education for VA
  • M.B.A., Virginia Commonwealth University, 1989
  • B.S., Elementary Education, VCU, 1987
Professional Involvement:
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA):
2000-01, Member, Leadership Development and Professional Advancement Committee
1998-99, Presenter at the 1999 NASFAA Conference
Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA):
2011-12, member, Membership Committee
2010-11, member, Governance and Planning Committee
2009-10, member, Governance and Planning Committee
2004-05, Vice President
2003-04, Chair, Annual Program/Conference Committee
2002-03, Member, Conference Committee; instructor at New Aid Officer’s Workshop; member, Governance and Planning Committee
2001-02, Member, Conference Committee; instructor at New Aid Officer’s Workshop, member, Governance and Planning Committee
2000-01, Presenter at 2001 conference
1999-00, Board of Directors as Virginia’s state President; served as panelist for session at the 2000 SASFAA Annual Conference
1998-99, Member, Local Arrangements 1999 conference in Norfolk, VA
1997-98, Newsletter Editor; co-presenter at 1998 conference
Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (VASFAA):
2011-12, member of Non-Conference Training Committee and Strategic Planning Committee
2010-11, Special Appointee to the Board
2009-10, Conference Committee Co-Chair
2008-09, Awareness Committee Co-Chair
2007-08, Treasurer
2006-07, Treasurer-Elect
2000-01, Past President; Chair Awards, Nominations, and Bylaws committees
1999-00, President
1998-99, President-Elect; member of Strategic Planning and Assessment, Site Selection, Sector Coordination committees
Numerous other committee membership and chair positions held since 1990-91

Nathan Basford Statement of Candidacy
I am seeking your vote to represent you as SASFAA’s President-elect.  I have been active in the financial aid arena for over twenty-one (21) years.  Many of us get into the financial aid profession by accident, but we stay because we are committed to serving our students and their families in providing financial assistance in order for them to achieve their educational goals.
In my 21 years of financial aid service, I have been active in my state association, Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (FASFAA) by serving as Region representative, Conference chair, Vice-President of Training, and the privilege to serve twice as President. 
I value every opportunity that comes in life, and being nominated by fellow financial aid professionals for SASFAA President-elect is something that I honor and appreciate.  I would be honored to serve this great association. 
I have been involved in SASFAA since 1990 by serving on the SASFAA executive board, being a presenter at annual conferences, and this year serving on the annual conference committee. 
Being a part of SASFAA has been very rewarding, and I enjoy being an ACTIVE member..  As an active member we are encouraged to give our ideas and recommendations as to what we, as financial aid professionals need from our association to help each of us better serve in our positions. 
As president-elect I will strive to:
·         Keep communication open between all members.
·         Ask for and seek out new training opportunities and ideas from the entire membership,
·         Work to ensure that new members become more active in our association.  
·         Be an active advocate for students, parents and financial aid professionals to ensure that funding is available to all seeking their educational goals.  
Together we will share the responsibility in providing training to our professionals and to reach out to our state representatives to ensure that funding is being provided in order for students to achieve their educational goals.
My commitment to SASFAA is:
·         To expect more than others think possible
·         To take more risks than others may think safe
·         To dream more for the future
·         To work with fellow professionals, faculty, students, and staff that care more than perhaps some think is wise.
I would appreciate your vote to assist me in our endeavor to make SASFAA an integral player in today’s ever–changing: Financial Aid World!
Nathan Basford/SASFAA President-elect nominee
Financial Aid Representative/Florida State University Office of Financial Aid: May 2009- Present
Account Manager/Academic Finance Corporation:  July 2004 - February 2008
Senior Financial Aid Officer/Florida State University Office of Financial Aid September 1993 - July 2004
Financial Aid Officer/Florida State University Office of Financial Aid September 1991- September 1993
Florida State University Office of Financial Aid:   June 1990 - September 1991
Florida State University Postal Services: February 1987 - June 1990
Florida State University Postal Services: December 1981 - February 1987
Florida State University/Strozier Library:   October 1978 - December 1981
 Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
President 2010-2011
President 2003-2004
President-Elect 2009-2010
President-Elect 2002 -2003
Vice-President, 2000- 2001
Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
Active Member since 1980
Executive Board Member 2003-04 & 2010-2011
Presenter at annual conference
Conference Committee member 2011-2012
Marianna High School
Active member St. Stephen Lutheran Church
Sunday school Teacher K-5