Tuesday, December 24, 2013

SASFAA Candidates

Good morning SASFAA,

I would like to inform the members of the association that you can view all candidate information for the upcoming SASFAA elections on our website.  The direct link is www.sasfaa.org/elections or you can go to our website and reach the page by hovering over “Member Services” on the header bar and choosing Elections.  I encourage you to review each candidate’s information so you will be able to make an informed decision when the election polls open on February 7, 2014.  Please plan to cast your vote before the polls close on February 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm EST.  I would like to have at least 500 members from SASFAA casting their votes this February. 

I hope each of you have a Merry Christmas and enjoy any break from your regular work schedule.

Jeff Dennis
2013-2014 SASFAA Nominations and Elections Chair

Thursday, December 12, 2013

SASFAA President-Elect Information

SASFAA President-Elect Information
Submitted by: Jeff Dennis, Nominations and Elections Committee Chair

During the February 2014 elections you are being asked to select a candidate for the office of President-Elect, which is a three year term; spending one year as President-Elect, one year as President, and one year as Immediate Past President. This article is being posted to show you what the SASFAA Policy & Procedure Manual describes as the duties of these positions.

The candidates for the office of President Elect are:

· Amy Berrier (4 year public, UNC-Greensboro – North Carolina)
· Sharon Oliver (4 year public, N.C. Central University – North Carolina)

You will be able to learn more about these candidates by reviewing their candidate statement and biographical information on the SASFAA website at www.sasfaa.org in the coming days.

The SASFAA Policy & Procedure Manual describes the duties of these positions as follows:

5.2 President
The president serves as the chief executive officer of the Association and presides at all Board and business meetings. In this capacity the president:

a. provides leadership and direction to all activities of the Association, the Board and all standing and ad hoc committees;
b. prior to the NASFAA 2013-2014 year, represents SASFAA as a voting member in the Board meetings, including Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Inc. (NASFAA). Beginning with the NASFAA 2013-2014 year, represents SASFAA as an observer in the Board meetings of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Inc. (NASFAA), serves as an alternate voting member in the absence of the SASFAA Past President, provides reports of NASFAA activities to the SASFAA Board and publishes reports in the SASFAA Nine News or on the website as appropriate;
c. selects all committee chairs and liaisons. Works with committee chairs on finalizing committee members, who are subject to final approval of the Board at the first board meeting;
d. serves as ex-officio member of all committees;
e. approves expenditures and has authority to pay bills;
f. submits a written annual report on the year’s activities to Association members; and
g. represents SASFAA at selected SASFAA affiliated state meetings.

5.3 President-Elect
The president-elect assists the president and prepares for the term of office. Additional responsibilities of the president-elect include the following:

a. serves as parliamentarian to the Board;
b. until the NASFAA 2013-2014 year, serves as the alternate voting representative to the NASFAA Board of Directors, provides reports of NASFAA activities to the SASFAA Board and publishes reports in the SASFAA Nine News or on the Web site as appropriate. Beginning with the NASFAA 2013-2014 year, this position will no longer serve on the NASFAA Board of Directors;
c. represents SASFAA at selected SASFAA affiliated state meetings;
d. reviews the Manual and makes recommendations for changes to the Board or the appropriate committee;
e. conducts an orientation session at the annual conference for state presidents-elect;
f. advises and counsels the president as needed;
g. begins initial planning for the next annual conference and for the promotion of the event;
h. selects all committee chairs and liaisons. Works with committee chairs on selecting committee members utilizing a volunteer form;
i. consults with the Board and budget chair in developing future initiatives; and
j. performs other duties as requested by the president.

5.7 Immediate Past President
The Immediate past president assists the president and serves as chair of the nominations and elections, awards and the governance and planning committees. In this capacity the past president:

a. presents a slate of candidates in accordance with the election schedule or calendar for president-elect, secretary, treasurer and vice president to the Board;
b. solicits nominations for Association awards and presents the awards committee recommendations to the Board;
c. performs the duties of the president in the absence of both the president and vice president;
d. serves as a SASFAA voting representative to the Board of Directors of NASFAA.
e. conducts an annual review of the strategic long-range plan and presents a written report at the June board meeting; and
f. performs other duties as requested by the president.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Submitted by Sharon Oliver, SASFAA Secretary

The Executive Board Meeting minutes for November 2, 2013, held in Raleigh, North Carolina are available for viewing at:

The minutes will allow members to be informed of the activities and changes associated with our state association.   Please take a moment to review the minutes. 

We value our members and appreciate your feedback.

SASFAA Slate is set!

The SASFAA Slate is Set!

Submitted By: Jeff Dennis, Nominations and Elections Committee Chair

I am very happy to announce the approved slate of candidates for the elections that will take place prior and during the February 2014 Annual Conference. The following individuals will be on the slate for the respective positions.

President Elect:

Amy Berrier (4 year public, UNC-Greensboro – North Carolina)
Sharon Oliver (4 year public, N.C. Central University – North Carolina)

Vice President:Brenda Burke (4 year public, Virginia Commonwealth University – Virginia)
Marian Dill (4 year private, Lee University – Tennessee)

Vickie Adams (4 year public, Jacksonville State University – Alabama)
Kimberly White-Grimes (2 year public, Trident Technical College – South Carolina)
Stay tuned for more information regarding the candidates and election process. We will be posting information about the candidates to the SASFAA website, and an announcement will be made once that has been done. In the meantime, feel free to contact any of the candidates should you have questions for them. I’m confident SASFAA will be on good hands regardless of the outcome, and I sincerely appreciate each candidate’s willingness to run for office and serve the SASFAA membership
I would like to thank the other members of the committee below for their work in developing this slate.
·        Sharon Williams  (Alabama)
·        Nathan Basford  (Florida)
·        Philip Hawkins  (Georgia)
·        Chris Tolson  (Kentucky)
·        Cindy May  (Mississippi)
·        Bridget Ellis  (North Carolina)
·        Sarah Dowd  (South Carolina)
·        Cara Suhr  (Tennessee)
·        Margaret Murphy  (Virginia)

Jeff Dennis

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Event
                Often times we ask how someone became interested in a particular job or how we got into a profession.  When I ask fellow financial aid experts how they got into the profession, I often hear that they just “fell into it”.  Many of us were work-study students or graduate students in a financial aid office and just sort of stuck with it after graduation.  However you got into financial aid, there seems to be that one event/student that helped solidify our love for this noble profession.  We love our jobs because we make a difference to our students and schools, despite not getting enough credit.
                I got into financial aid in 2001 when I became a graduate student in the Office of Financial Aid at the University of South Florida.  At first it was all fun, getting to see the behind the scenes of how college financial aid works, awarding students, talking them through regulations as a peer.  Then comes the day when you move on to a full time position.  That first year as a full time financial aid professional is like basic training just a year in length.
I always say it takes a year in financial aid before you really get a good understanding of how things work.  It’s during that first year that many of us begin to wonder if financial aid was the right choice.  You deal with the first of many irate students; a few helicopter parents, you read several heart breaking SAP appeals, and wonder if this is something you can do for the next “x” years.  You may suddenly realize you are doing seven jobs at once or that staff from other departments do not seem to be as pressured, deadline driven, or as accountable as financial aid staff.  But there is always that one moment when you decide that it was the right choice, that despite the angry students that you face there were numerous other students that you never got to see because they got everything they needed.  Those students were in class, pursuing their dreams of a higher education and you were a part of that success.    
                For me that moment occurred toward the end of my first year as a Financial Aid Counselor.  With the large number of students at USF we would often encourage students to assist themselves.  One of the largest requests we got that year was for letters for proof of aid awards so that students could use that for rental agreements, car purchases, etc.  In most cases students were directed to log into their self-service and simply print off their awards to use as proof.  For most cases when the student did this it would work and be accepted by the entity.  It’s that one time it didn’t that left an impression on me and something that I carry with me to this day. 
                You know that student, the one that seems to come into your office every day to check his aid status for the 30th time.  Well that student came into the office one day; in fact it was his second trip into the office.  The student was told to log in and print off his award notice just as hundreds of students before him were instructed.  I then overheard him try to explain that his application specifically asked for a signed statement.  When I asked him what kind of application, the student explained that he was applying for a special program for first time home buyers.  Impressed that a college student was looking to buy a house I took him back to my office to learn more.
                During our chat I learned that in his scholarship searches he came across some programs for first time home owners and just didn’t have enough verifiable income without including his financial aid.  Because of the nature of the program he needed more than just a print out, so I made the time to help the student write a letter that would present him in the best light to receive a mortgage.  If he came into the FA office every day to check on things I knew he would be the kind of homeowner that would keep track of his finances and that he would be as successful in home ownership as he was as a student.  The next week the student came in to check on his financial aid as unusual.  I had almost forgotten about the letter and our conversation, until he handed me a letter.   You see, what took maybe 10 minutes out of my day not only affected this  student and his dreams of higher education, it affected his life in ways I hadn’t thought about when I decided to write that letter.  My words don’t do it justice so I will let his words show you:

Not only was he the first in his family to graduate college but the first to own a home.  To this day I have that letter in my desk drawer, to remind me on the bad days that I got into financial aid because I love working on behalf of students.  Being just a small part of that success is worth all the bad days, irate students, helicopter parents and regulation changes combined.

Thank you,
Wayne Kruger, FASFAA President

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

God Made the Financial Aid Administrator

And on the 8th day of November, 1965, the U. S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed into law the Higher Education Act of 1965.  And he said, “We need individuals to administer these programs” – so came the Financial Aid Administer.

And LBJ said – “We need people who are willing to get up at 5am – work all day – hobble home tired and worn – eat supper – work at home for another 4 hours – go to meetings at high schools and attend other requests – go back home and sleep for a while – wake in the middle of the night and remember a task that was forgotten – go back to sleep if you can – and then get up the next day and do it all over again.”

“We need people who will work hard understanding multifaceted regulations – understand complex computer systems – award deserving students – only to see many, many of them fail – and then say, ‘Well maybe the next one will succeed. ‘ “

“We need a Financial Aid Administrator who can take an understaffed office – with a meager operating budget – which has staff who are severely underpaid – who is able to endure many audits and compliance reviews – who work alongside other offices who cannot or will not understand we are much more – and we do more – than merely award students.”

“We need dedicated individuals who work their 40 hours a week by Wednesday and then work 40 more before the week has ended.”

“We need individuals who are:   dedicated, determined, diligent –

who are often:   abused verbally, ridiculed, diminished, and misunderstood –

who are often called:   insensitive, uncaring, cruel –

who will:   read, study, comprehend, understand, plan, award, counsel, meet, listen, smile, laugh – and yes, cry – with others who struggle to achieve a treasured educational goal – even amid ever changing processes – with seemingly ever diminishing resources – in a country that somehow has lost control of the message about the importance of higher education – especially affordable higher education for the most disadvantaged – with elected individuals who appear at times to be more interested in agendas than our country’s most treasured national resource – our students.”

“We need you more than ever – those wonderful financial aid professionals – who are true change agents – affecting the future in a very positive way.”

So yes – you and the profession – were asked and you have stepped up to the challenge.  You are true professionals – and I say without hesitation – “God truly made a Financial Aid Administrator.”

Mr. Ron Day:  NASFAA Chair, SASFAA Speaker, GASFAA Colleague, Director of Financial Aid at Kennesaw State University, but most importantly Our Friend

Monday, October 7, 2013

Federal Shutdown Effects

Financial aid administrators should be aware of how the federal shutdown is affecting their students.

For example, at medical schools, students have been told their living expense stipends for the Health Professions Scholarship Program will be delayed.  Other students receiving the National Health Service Corps Scholarships may have living expense disbursements from their scholarships delayed.  This comes at term-end and is stressful for the students involved, to say the least!  Financial aid offices should expect get loan requests and, possibly requests for short term loans from the school to help fill the gaps.

Here's a link to an article that discusses other ways higher education is affected by the shutdown:


And here's a link to the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (ifap) website and a Dear Colleague letter that discusses the effects of the shutdown:


Monday, September 30, 2013

Monitor Cohort Default Rates Year Round
Inceptia’s Free Cohort Default Rate Reporting Tool Provides Real-Time Data

As financial aid administrators process the impact of their newly released 2- and 3-year cohort default rates from the U.S. Department of Education, Inceptia is making its proprietary Cohort Activity Report freely available to any school that wants to monitor their default rate.

Administrators can use this report to receive updated data on open cohort default years and monitor borrowers so that they can actively help student borrowers while lowering their default rate.

“The Cohort Activity Report gives schools the power to see what’s happening right now with their borrowers,” said Dave Macoubrie, Inceptia vice president of repayment solutions. “By proactively addressing the cohort of student defaulters, they can take steps to remove them from the list and make a positive impact on the trajectory of their school’s cohort default rate helping to save those student borrowers from default.”

Sign up for the Cohort Activity Report by visiting Inceptia.org/CDR-tracking.

Once registered, upload your School Portfolio report to the Cohort Activity Report system. The data from the School Portfolio report will be analyzed and organized into a simplified report for you to gain updated insights in real time.

This report can be used to monitor:

·         number of borrowers in repayment

·         number of borrowers in default

·         impact one default borrower has on their rate

·         number of rescued borrowers needed to reduce the rate by one percent

·         open and closed cohort year comparison data

You may also download a list of loan details on each defaulted borrower.

With cohort default rates on the rise, schools need to proactively monitor cohort default rates year round in order to gain the knowledge required to lower their rate and help student borrowers. The details in this report can help you closely monitor default borrowers so that you can proactively work to correct defaulted loans prior to closing years.

“We want to show every school the impact they can have on their rate, simply by lowering it by even one percentage point,” Macoubrie said. “For some institutions, that may be as few as five borrowers. But lowering the rate over time can have a significant impact on a school and is good for student borrowers.”

Inceptia’s goal is to help students borrow wisely, resolve their delinquency issues and guide them to successfully repay their student loan obligations; while also helping schools reduce their cohort default rates. Find out more about Inceptia’s default prevention services by contacting Inceptia at 888.529.2028. 
Sample Graph

Inceptia, a division of National Student Loan Program (NSLP), is a non-profit organization providing premier expertise in default prevention and financial education. Since 1986, we have helped more than two million students achieve their higher education dreams at 5,500 schools nationwide. Annually, Inceptia assists more than 150,000 delinquent borrowers in repaying their student loans. By using practical tools of cohort analysis, financial education and repayment outreach, Inceptia educates students on responsible personal finances and loan repayment counseling and provides default prevention strategies and services to schools. More information at Inceptia.org.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

FedLoan Servicing’s At-Risk Delinquency Resolution Contest

Beginning in May 2013, FedLoan Servicing held an At-Risk Delinquency Resolution Contest for schools.  Participating schools were provided with a listing of delinquent borrowers, serviced by FedLoan Servicing, who would impact their 2011 or 2012 Cohort Default Rate, if their delinquency was not resolved.  The contest ended on August 28, 2013.  Here are some highlights:

·        350 Schools Participated (55 schools from SASFAA region)
·        7,356 Cured Delinquencies (1623 from schools in SASFAA region)

Congratulations to all participating schools in the winning region – WASFAA! Schools within the Western region cured 31% of their loan delinquencies.
FedLoan Servicing extends a special thank you to all participating schools for the assistance provided to your alumni! Winning schools were provided a customized poster, congratulatory letter, and the option to participate in our FedLoan Servicing FiveStar Training webinar on default prevention or a spotlight in an upcoming FedLoan Servicing Quarterly Bulletin.

Congratulations to the winners!!!!
Winning School
% of cures
< 50 borrowers
Bryan College (CA)
Plaza College (NY)
51 – 250 borrowers
Howard Community College (MD)
> 250 borrowers
Herzing University (WI)
< 50 borrowers
City College of Chicago (IL)
51 – 250 borrowers
Howard Community College (MD)
> 250 borrowers
University of North Texas (TX)
< 50 borrowers
Resurrection University (IL)
Sharon Regional Health System (PA)
51 – 250 borrowers
Robert Morris University (IL)
> 250 borrowers
Remington College (TX)
< 50 borrowers
Bryan College (CA)
Plaza College (NY)
51 – 250 borrowers
Vista College (TX)
> 250 borrowers
Herzing University (WI)
< 50 borrowers
Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (MO)
Eastern Virginia Medical School (VA)