Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Comment from a member

Submitted by Brandon Dillard, Inceptia

I just wanted to pass along that we have a rep at the PA conference that stated that they do have electricity at the conference hotel but there are folks that are not able to get home due to the conditions.  Our reps' flight has been cancelled until Monday where she has decided to take a shot at renting a car and driving back to NY later this week instead of waiting on flights. I am certain that there are several folks at that conference that will have difficulty getting back home but are currently safe in the conference hotel.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Message from the SASFAA President

I just wanted to let the SASFAA members that have been affected by “Sandy” know that we are thinking of you.  Please send any update you would like to share with the membership to Jane Moore jmoore7@gmu.edu or Amanda Sharp vasharp@una.edu or Jeff Dennis jdennis@swu.edu and we will get it posted.

Jeff Dennis,
SASFAA President

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Legislative Relations Committee Update


Greetings from your Legislative Relations Committee!  Ever wondered where to find a list of the Congressional members in your state?  Ever wondered where to find contact information for your Congressional delegation in Washington, DC?  We’ve included the information for you in this article!  Always remember when contacting your state delegations or Congressional delegations in Washington, DC to communicate via phone, fax, or email.  “Snail mail” is no longer effective due to security procedures.

Our committee is currently working on updating the SASFAA Legislative Guide as well.  We will be emailing that out to members in the next month or so hopefully.  Please let us know if there are any concerns you have and we will be glad to speak with you about them!

Amy Berrier
SASFAA Legislative Relations Chair

2012-2013 SASFAA Legislative Relations Committee:

Amy Berrier, Chair:                             alberrie@uncg.edu
Alabama – Kelly D’Eath                     kdeath@gadsdenstate.edu
Florida – Bill Spiers                            spiersb@tcc.fl.edu
Georgia – Lisa Mitchem                     lisa.mitchem@finaid.gatech.edu
Georgia – Nancy Ferguson                nferg@uga.edu
Georgia – David McMillion                  dmcmillion@piedmont.edu
Kentucky – Shelley Park                     shelley.park@eku.edu
Kentucky – Sandy Neel                       sneel@bellarmine.edu
Mississippi – Joseph Statuto              joseph.r.statuto@wellsfargo.com
North Carolina – Amy Berrier              alberrie@uncg.edu
South Carolina – Michelle Upchurch  mupchurch@limestone.edu
Tennessee – Ron Gambill                   rgambill@edsouth.org
Virginia – Brenda Burke                       blburke@vcu.edu
Jeff Daniels                                           jeff.daniels@pnc.com

The Importance of Legislative Advocacy

By Nancy D Ferguson, GASFAA Past-President

When I became President of the Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (GASFAA), I was unsure of what awaited me in the realm of legislative advocacy. I’ve always been a little bit of a nerd when it comes to politics but I am pretty shy, I’m definitely not that person that walks up to complete strangers and introduces myself. So how did I find myself doing 11 Hill visits to Georgia Representatives last year? I pushed myself to do it because I know how important the work we do is to the students in our states.

How important you ask? In the 10-11 year, 2,086,973 students received $8,034,013,670* in Federal Pell Grants in the SASFAA region. And that was the purpose of my visits, saving the Pell Grant. As you know Pell has been on the chopping block for a while now.  It was important for us to advocate for our students so the legislators know just how important student financial aid is to helping students obtain a college degree. One person can make a difference!

The first step to advocacy is ensuring you have the blessing of your employer. Politics can be a tricky thing and you definitely don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize federal or state funding to your school. I was very lucky in this respect. I did the first round of Hill visits with our Director Bonnie Joerschke who serves as the Chair of the NASFAA Reauthorization Task Force. Not only did our school support us in this endeavor, our legislative affairs office set up the Hill visits. We shared with them the scope of our visit and the handout we planned to leave behind and then wrote a report for the University’s files upon our return.

Decide what kind of advocacy you plan to do. Not everyone has the funding or desire to go to Washington DC. Letter writing and other methods of advocacy can be equally effective.  NASFAA offers great tools for this – tips on the best way to contact your representatives, ways to get their contact information, and even letter and email templates. Be sure to check out the Advocacy section on the NASFAA Web page at http://www.nasfaa.org. Also, when your state or regional association is doing advocacy they may request information from the membership – things like student examples or award data. Please help there where you can because that is important in getting our message across.

Actually going to Washington DC and doing Hill visits was an experience of a lifetime. You’ll rarely meet with the actual legislator but instead with one of their aides. You have maybe ten minutes to get your point across so know your stuff and be clear and concise. Do research before you get there; know what is important in higher education to the Representative with which you are meeting. Know about current hot topics in the aid community because, for example, I went to these visits prepared to speak about the Pell Grant but also spent time answering questions about student loan debt and our state scholarship program. I’ve learned that elected officials like data, cold hard numbers. They especially like it when you focus on their district because then you are literally hitting close to home so try to make personalized handouts featuring that data which they can refer to later. Avoid partisan politics. Try to make appointments for when Congress is not in session so the aides are able to spend more time with you and are more apt to listen to what you have to say. Which brings me to my next point – sad as it is, not everyone is going to listen. Most people were really open to what we had to say, however we did have one (representing a wealthier district in our state) that did not think Pell is a priority. We can only try to make him understand that it is.

Do I think I made a difference? You bet I do. But the fight is not over. Pell and other aid programs are still under attack and we are on the front lines. And every time I talk to a student who is so thankful for the student financial aid that is putting them through college, I am reminded how important our advocacy is.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Note from Heather Boutell

Hi SASFAA friends…. Lisa Tumer and I are serving on the NASFAA Conference Committee this year and representing the SASFAA region.  NASFAA is July 14-17, 2013, in Las Vegas, NV, at the Aria.  I’m hoping many of you are able to join us for the Conference! 
I know some of you have seen the notices on NASFAA News, but in case you haven’t, here is information about interest session proposals.  We have many exceptional presenters in our region, and some of you should share your talents with your colleagues across the nation.  Perhaps you went to a session at your state conference or SASFAA, and noted one of your friends did an excellent job!  Why not e-mail that person and ask them to consider presenting?  Maybe you both could do a session together.  Listed below are the general topics, which cover just about everything we face in our profession.  There are a few different formats as well, from half-day workshops to peer-to-peer sessions. 
Or maybe you want to go to a session on a particular topic, but don’t really care who presents.  There’s a place at the end of this e-mail to submit your ideas to our committee, and we can see if we can find appropriate presenters. 
I’m excited I’ve been asked to serve in this role, and look forward to reviewing some sessions or ideas from my Southern friends.  Take care and enjoy your day! 
2013 NASFAA Conference Interest Session Submission
Submission Deadline: November 2, 2012
Please read the information below before submitting a proposal.
Session Formats
Interest Session
This is the standard 1 hour 15 minute session time slot that NASFAA has used for many years. The session typically consists of approximately 1 hour of presentation and 15 minutes for Q and A.
Peer to Peer Session
Forget about the long PowerPoint presentation and think more interactively about your education session. PowerPoint use is limited in these sessions. The Presenter/Moderator sets objectives and goals for the audience, discusses the topic for no more than 25 minutes and then uses the remaining time to guide and facilitate a discussion with the audience.
Half-Day Workshop
Do you have a more in-depth or advanced session you would like to offer, but cannot fit it into the 1 hour 15 minute timeframe? NASFAA will accept a limited number of ½ day workshops. These sessions will run 2 hour and 30 minutes with a 15 minute break.
How to Submit
Space is limited. Please read the information below and then use the link at the bottom of the page to submit your proposal. Please be sure to select the appropriate "Session Format" field when submitting.
Criteria for Proposals
·        Please use the topical areas identified by the 2013 Conference Committee as a guideline for your submission.
·        The proposal should be clearly written, logically organized and complete. A complete proposal contains:
1.    session title,
2.    session description of 100 words or less
3.    a moderator and at least two presenters (exception: peer-to-peer sessions only require one presenter)
·        Offer diverse perspectives in terms of the panel representation. School type, size, and control will all be considered in terms of the diversity of the panelists.
·        Topic should address school solutions to topics of concern to financial aid administrators
·        The proposal should not focus on (or market) a particular product or service
·        Sessions that include school presenters are given the greatest weight.
Important Information
·        Compose the session description with word processor before submitting it online. Be sure to check spelling, word count to ensure it conforms with guidelines.
·        Multiple proposals from a single submitter may be considered, but NASFAA reserves the right to limit the number of sessions which can be presented by any single individual.
·        NASFAA reserves the right to record all sessions presented at its conference and possibly offer the recordings for sale.
·        Presenters must submit handouts to NASFAA prior to the conference for posting to the NASFAA website.
·        If accepted, all presenters and moderators must register for the conference and pay the appropriate conference registration fee.
·        Those who submit a session proposal must inform all presenters and the moderator that they are submitting their name on a session proposal. Make sure presenters and moderators are aware of the policies listed above. Failure to do so may result in the rejection of a session.
Proposal Review, Selection and Notification Process
The criteria for review of the proposals mirrors the criteria for a proposal. NASFAA’s National Conference Committee reviews and evaluates all proposals based on the relevance of the topic to our conference theme and to the industry, session description, number and type of presenters, and whether the proposal provides an innovative solution to a financial aid issue. The Committee may also develop additional sessions on topics that have not been covered in the submitted proposals. The overall program is crafted to ensure that all subject areas are equitably covered and that they will meet the needs of attendees who are in various stages of their careers - from entry level to the most seasoned executives. Proposal submitters will receive the committee’s decision by mid-December.
Interest Session Topical Areas
The 2013 Conference Committee is seeking session proposals on the following topics.
·        Communication, Leadership & Student Aid Management: concerning the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives including planning, organizing, staffing, leading, or controlling an organization, as well as the marketing of new products and services to students and parents
·        Consumer Information and Customer Service: subject matter related to information that must be disclosed to students or that enhances the interaction between the financial aid office and students
·        Diversity Issues/Student Access & Success: concerning efforts to improve college access and increasing the number under-represented groups in postsecondary education or the financial aid profession
·        Enrollment Management: includes the interaction of campus offices such as the registrar, student accounts, and admissions with the aid office to assist in recruitment, retention, meeting institutional goals
·        Graduate and Professional Issues: subject matter unique to institutions offering graduate and professional degrees
·        Other Resources: related to resources outside Department of Education and/or federal financial aid such as private scholarship or outreach program
·        Program Issues (Grant/Work Study/Scholarships): subject matter related to grant and work programs at the federal, state, and institutional level as well as scholarships
·        Program Issues (Loans): subject matter related to administering loan programs (can include institutional programs)
·        Regulatory Issues: concerning federal regulations becoming effective July 1, 2013, including implementation of said regulations, implementation of federal regulations with effective dates other than July 1, 2013, and/or compliance with federal regulations with effective dates before or after 2013
·        Research & Data Analysis: concerning all theoretical perspectives and styles of research on financial aid; including conducting, presenting, using, and evaluating research
·        Role of Aid Office in Institutional Planning: how the student aid office can market itself to other offices and be included in discussions that affect operations
·        Staff Training and Development: concerning staff training on compliance with federal/state/local regulations and in areas such as leadership skill development
·        Technology/Software Conversion Issues: subject matter related to the use of technology to improve the administration of financial aid and communication with students, campus, and community at large; topics related to changing from one system to another
By submitting a session proposal, you agree to NASFAA’s policies and guidelines listed above.
Do you have a session idea, but need help putting it together? submit your idea here to receive assistance from the Conference Committee.