Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SASFAA and Members Honored by NASFAA!

SASFAA, and/or SASFAA members, were honored with several awards at the 2012 NASFAA Annual Conference.

SASFAA received a NASFAA Gold Star Award for the “Associations Collaborations for Advocacy on the Hill” project we conducted during the 2011-12 year with the EASFAA and Tri-States associations this past October and February.  A big thanks goes out to Michael Poma for getting this started, and then Amy Berrier for picking up the ball and seeing it through when Michael had to step down due to an employment change.  I attended both events and am very happy to see that all of the hard work that went into this was recognized on the national level.

NCASFAA received a NASFAA Gold Star Award for “Veterans’ Task Force and Veteran Re-entry and PTSD Awareness.”   NCASFAA was one of the first financial aid organizations to focus on the role of aid administrators with our returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.   The association created the NCASFAA Veteran’s Task Force to keep the members aware of any re-entry issues veterans might face entering the higher education environment.

The banners in the photo were given to SASFAA and NCASFAA in honor of our award recognition. 

NASFAA Co-Committee’s of the Year were NASFAA Access & Diversity Committee (Brenda Brown was the SASFAA Representative on the committee) and NASFAA Training Committee (Heather Boutell chaired the committee and Philip Hawkins was the SASFAA Representative on the committee).

Last, but certainly not least, Lisanne Masterson was announced as the recipient of the NASFAA Regional Leadership Award for the SASFAA region.  She will be presented with her plaque at the February 2013 SASFAA Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Brad Barnett
SASFAA Past President

Monday, July 30, 2012

SASFAA President's Update

Submitted by Jeff Dennis, President

SASFAA is off to a great start.  The Executive Board will be meeting August 4th and 5th in Atlanta, Georgia.  As a member of SASFAA you are welcome to attend our meetings.  If you have something you would like for the board to review, please submit it to me by August 2nd.  The Executive Board wants to serve its constituency.  My email is jdennis@swu.edu.

Make plans to attend the annual conference February 10-13, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia to help celebrate SASFAA’s 50th anniversary.  Our theme this year is “Celebrating Yesterday’s Achievements, Shaping Tomorrow’s Aspirations” or CYASTA.

I hope that the year is getting off to a great start in your office as we begin a new academic year.  Don’t let the volume of work that has to be completed in the next few weeks affect how you feel toward your profession.  We have highs and lows but we are helping students accomplish what they could not do without our assistance.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The outsourcing dilemma: Some considerations

Submitted by Chansone Durden, TG Account Executive Team Manager

In many organizations, when the topic of hiring an external service provider comes up, there are usually two schools of thought. On one hand, getting help from the outside is perceived as less than ideal; decision makers may cite cost, expertise limitations, and a lack of understanding of organizational culture as factors that discourage outsourcing. On the other hand, outsourcing may provide many advantages, including relief for overtaxed staff, reduced training and maintenance needs, and a resource to augment internal expertise.
So how do you determine which way to go in your situation?
1.      Define the need
The most important factor in making the decision whether to outsource is the business objective. What specific need is your organization trying to meet? Surprisingly, many organizations make outsourcing decisions without clearly defining their objective. This results in frustration, because different people will have different perspectives on the challenge that needs to be addressed, and that leads to different solutions. Once you clearly define your objective, it becomes easier to address it.
2.      Quantify the risk
Next, determine the risk that your organization will face if your objective is not met. This is a consideration that is often disregarded.  Is your business objective attempting to address an issue that is critical in nature? Will you incur financial loss, revocation of licenses or privileges, or experience a loss of business opportunities if you do not meet the business objective? What is the impact? Determine this in advance; this will give you an understanding of the importance of an effective solution. It may also open doors to consider less costly or less labor intensive options.
3.      Identify needs versus wants
After you have determined the business objective, and identified the risks involved in not meeting the objective, the next step is to outline all of the functions, features, and expectations for the solution. Once you have identified them, categorize them as “essential” versus “nice to have,” and rank them within these specific categories.  Your completed list now prioritizes all elements.
4.      Evaluate existing capabilities
Once you have defined the business need, evaluated the business risk, and identified the needs versus the wants, look at your existing resources to determine feasibility in addressing the business challenge internally. Some issues to consider include:
·        Do you have support from the highest levels of management to support addressing the business objective with existing resources?
·        Do you have existing staff to address the objective, and do they have the necessary expertise and time?
·        If not, will you be able to hire staff and provide a budget for them to address the need?
·        Will workflows need to be adjusted, and do you have the capability to adjust them with existing personnel?
·        If the function or activity has not been performed in your organization before, do you have best practices determined, or can you somehow acquire them?
·        Is your organization able to assume the risk associated with performing the function or activity, if there are errors or failures? This may include financial, market share, and reputation loss incurred due to errors or failures.
·        Have you projected demand growth for this function, product, or service, and are you reasonably prepared to address this growth?

5.      Determine approach
After taking each of the steps above, you should have enough information to make a decision. Determine whether you will attempt to address the business challenge using existing resources, or consider outsourcing instead. Even if you end up making the “wrong” decision, going through these steps will provide you with a way to identify where failures might have occurred. And if, ultimately, you choose to hire a service provider, your answers to many of these questions can help you evaluate your options in the marketplace, helping you ultimately to meet your business objective.

Chansone Durden is an account executive team manager with TG serving schools in SASFAA. You can reach Chansone at (800) 252-9743, ext. 6710, or by email at chansone.durden@tgslc.org. Additional information about TG can be found online at www.TG.org.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Dear SASFAA Friends,

Wanted:  Persons who have the desire and willingness to work hard for no pay while meeting new people and having fun in the process. 

For:  The most rewarding job you’ll ever have! Ok, well maybe that’s not totally true, but did I mention you will have fun, meet new people and it’s rewarding?

It is that time of year again for the Nominations and Elections Committee to solicit nominations for the SASFAA Officer positions that will be open next year.  If you or someone you know fits the bill, then consider running or nominate someone for one the open positions on the Board.

This year we are looking for President-Elect, Treasurer, and Vice President.

If you nominate someone, please be sure to have that person’s permission.  Nominees will need to be prepared to provide a biographical statement to the Nominations and Election Committee.  We will present a slate of candidates to the Board for approval in November. 

Please send your nominations to anyone on the committee.   Committee members are:
Brad Barnett, Chair – barnetbd@jmu.edu
Vickie Adams (Alabama) - vadams@jsu.edu
Allison Beaver (Florida) - abeaver@keiseruniversity.edu
Nancy Ferguson (Georgia) - nferg@uga.edu
Aaron Gabehart (Kentucky) - algabehart@campbellsville.edu
Seph Anderson (Mississippi) - seph@olemiss.edu
Kim Driggers (North Carolina) - driggers@sapc.edu
Allison Sullivan (South Carolina) - asullivan@uscupstate.edu
Lester McKenzie (Tennessee) - Lmckenzie@tntech.edu
Melissa Barnes (Virginia) - mjbarnes@nsu.edu

On behalf of the Nominations and Election Committee, I want to thank you in advance for assisting us in shaping SASFAA’s future!

Brad Barnett
SASFAA Past President

The 3-year cohort default rate comes with a silver lining — loan rehabilitation

by Chansone Durden, TG Account Executive Team Manager

This past February, the Department of Education (ED) released the first draft 3-year cohort default rates (CDRs). Meanwhile, official 3-year rates won't be available until September, and the first set of CDRs on which sanctions could be based won't be released until September 2014. Many schools are already worried about the increase in their CDRs, however, and for good reason. Trial 3-year data provided by ED indicates that all school sectors will experience a surge in rates, with some schools seeing a rate hike of up to 90 percent. That kind of increase could expose some schools to serious consequences, including a loss of eligibility for federal student aid.
The 3-year CDR doesn't bring all bad news, however. With the longer monitoring period, loan rehabilitation can have a positive impact on a school’s CDR. Remember that a borrower can rehabilitate, or bring a loan out of default, by making nine on-time monthly payments during a period of 10 consecutive months. The loan is then sold to a lender, and the default is removed from the borrower's credit history.
How does this help a school's CDR? If the borrower rehabilitates the loan before the end of the cohort default period, the borrower is not in default anymore and so not included in the school's CDR calculation. Even better, the borrower once again becomes eligible for federal aid after the sixth consecutive payment, meaning he or she could potentially return to school to complete a degree or certificate. (Keep in mind, however, that borrowers can renew eligibility only once.)
Helping borrowers and cutting default
Until the 3-year CDR was introduced, loan rehabilitation wasn't something that could feasibly affect a school's rate. Now, borrowers who default in the first year of repayment have time to meet rehabilitation requirements within the three-year CDR window,
How can schools use loan rehabilitation to help their borrowers and mitigate default? Here are some tips for integrating loan rehabilitation into your school's default prevention plan.
  • Identify borrowers with defaulted loans — With each CDR notification, ED provides schools with the Loan Record Detail Report, or LRDR, an itemized listing of borrowers, including borrowers with defaulted loans. Download and use this information electronically.
  • Develop a communication campaign — Use LRDR information to create a communication campaign for defaulted borrowers that outlines the process and the benefits of loan rehabilitation. Consider contacting borrowers via mail, email, and phone, with messages that reinforce each other. Some things to cover in your communications:
    • Borrowers will need to establish a loan rehabilitation agreement with the guarantor or collection agency that holds the defaulted loans.
    • Borrowers will need to stay in touch with their guarantor or collector throughout repayment, especially if they change their mailing address.
    • Borrowers can benefit greatly from loan rehabilitation and from establishing healthy repayment habits. The removal of default from a borrower’s credit history can be invaluable — an improved credit record means easier access to credit later on if borrowers wish to borrow for a car or house mortgage.
You can also use LRDR information to help your default prevention efforts in other ways. For example, analyze the data on your defaulted borrowers, looking for common factors which may have predisposed borrowers to default. Do certain majors contribute a disproportionate number of borrowers in default? Did many borrowers withdraw without giving notice? How was their academic performance? You may be able to use this information to help current students who share such characteristics by offering academic and career support to students at greater risk of defaulting in the future.
Chansone Durden is an account executive team manager with TG serving schools in SASFAA. You can reach Chansone at (800) 252-9743, ext. 6710, or by email at chansone.durden@tgslc.org. Additional information about TG can be found online at www.TG.org.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Virginia State President's Report -- Margaret Murphy, VASFAA President

Greetings from the Commonwealth of Virginia!  On June 18, 2012, Melissa Barnes passed the president’s gavel to Margaret Murphy during the transition retreat held at the beautiful, rustic 4H Conference Center in Wakefield, Virginia.  Melissa finished her year by reporting on the successful annual conference held in Norfolk, Virginia May 20 thru 23, 2012.  Highlights of her year include a successfully Super Saturday outreach event at 63 locations across the state, two non-conference training events for VASFAA members, guidance counselor workshops at 11 sites, and the creation of the VASFAA Enrichment & Reinvestment Program or VERP. 
Our 2012-2013 Board includes:
            Margaret Murphy, President                        Tarik Boyd, Representative at Large
            Melissa Barnes, Past President                     Lisa Branson, Representative at Large
            Ashley Reich, President-Elect                        Brian DeYoung, Representative at Large
            Etta Feinauer, Secretary                                Paul Farrar, Representative at Large
            Lisa Tumer, Treasurer                                    Elizabeth “Biz” Daniel, Treasurer-Elect

Focusing on positioning students and professionals for success, VASFAA committees are moving forward on their goals for the year.  In addition to the Awareness Committee’s continued support of Super Saturday, we are increasing our grant request to further support our secondary school outreach.  Secondary School Relations plans to expand our training outreach from 11 to 24 sites for guidance counselor workshops.  If grant funding is not available, the Board supports the committee’s goals and urged the committee apply for VERP funding as a secondary funding source.
VERP funding will also be requested to fund non-conference training events for paid VASFAA members (all others would be charged a $35 registration fee).  Currently Training Committee has scheduled a day-long, training event for October 11, 2012 at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Greg Martin will provide a fall federal update.   It is anticipated that a SCHEV representative will provide an update, and the committee will provide two or more concurrent sessions on hot topics.  A similar training event is planned in March elsewhere in the state.  The possibility of another NAOW day in the fall in addition to the one held in conjunction with our annual conference is being researched. 
Our membership committee will be sponsoring an early bird paid membership drive by offering a drawing for a conference registration to one lucky VASFAA member who has paid his or her membership dues by the end of August.  Current and past VASFAA members will receive information about that opportunity.  Of course, the other incentive for early payment is attending the fall training at no cost. 
Site Selection is already at work on our 2014 conference site.  The 2013 Conference Committee is already at work on our annual conference which will be held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Virginia, May 12 thru 15, 2013.