Friday, May 30, 2014

NASFAA has asked SASFAA to remind you that TODAY is the last day to receive the early bird discount for the 2014 NASFAA National Conference to be held in our very own SASFAA region this year in Nashville, Tennessee!

Below is a link to the reminder e-mail that NASFAA sent out early yesterday, which provides all the details. You won’t want to miss this conference! SASFAA will be sending out more details in the next month about some ways we will be trying to get SASFAA members and members of our 9 state associations together during the conference.

Also, today is the deadline to register for the SASFAA New Aid Officer’s workshop at the standard fee of $675. Starting tomorrow, the fee will be $735 through June 6. As long as you register by today, you will be charged the $675 fee.
Spots are filling up fast so don’t miss out on your opportunity to attend this one-of-a-kind professional development opportunity! Below is the link to more information about the workshop:


Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Just a reminder that the Financial Aid community is currently in an open comment period for the most recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic of Gainful Employment. This comment period will end Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, located at www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be submitted postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Comments will not be received via fax or via email, and comments will not be accepted after the comment period has ended.

More details regarding this comment period and the associated NPRM can be found in the Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 57, dated March 25, 2014, available at this URL:


Thank you!
SASFAA Legislative Relations Committee
Philip E. Hawkins, Ph.D.
Director of Financial Aid
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton, GA 30118
Past President

Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators GASFAA

Monday, May 19, 2014

The SASFAA Global Issues Committee is committed to keeping the financial aid community aware of new resources to better serve our veterans.

New Tools for Veterans and Military Personnel from the United States Veteran’s Affairs

There is a new website provided by Veteran Affairs that breaks down the amount of tuition, fee, housing allowance, and book stipend, based on a soldiers’ service and subsequent eligibility for Post 9/11 GI Benefits.


There is also another site available which can help identify unfair recruiting practices, credit transfer, or change in degree requirements.


Additional resource information is available at


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tener to lead Office of Student Financial Aid at Vanderbilt

by Kara Furlong | Posted on Thursday, May. 15, 2014 — 8:00 AM

Brent Tener (Vanderbilt University)

Brent Tener, associate director of student financial aid and director of undergraduate scholarships at Vanderbilt, has been named director of the Office of Student Financial Aid and Undergraduate Scholarships following a national search, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Douglas L. Christiansen announced May 15.

Tener, who has worked in financial aid at Vanderbilt for more than two decades, will assume his new role July 1. He succeeds David Mohning, who is retiring from Vanderbilt after 23 years of service.

“With Brent’s experience at Vanderbilt and on the national scene and his outstanding understanding of financial aid, we realized that we had the best person in our own backyard,” Christiansen said. “Brent was instrumental in the development of Opportunity Vanderbilt and is particularly knowledgeable about access issues for low- and middle-income students.”

Since coming to Vanderbilt in 1992, Tener has been involved in almost every aspect of the university’s financial aid operation with increasing levels of collaboration, oversight and responsibility. He was integrally involved in the implementation of the PeopleSoft Financial Aid module during the 2001-02 academic year and has continued in an oversight capacity since that time, helping to mold the system to support Vanderbilt’s ever-changing enrollment management needs. Tener was named associate director of student financial aid in 2005 and director of undergraduate scholarships in 2008.

In addition to his work on campus, he has represented Vanderbilt in financial aid trade associations at the state, regional and national levels. He currently serves as an elected member to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Board of Directors as well as an appointed member to NASFAA’s Reauthorization Task Force. Through his efforts, Tener has helped to shape the national conversation on financial aid and enrollment management policy and is well versed in emerging financial aid issues and trends.

It is a great honor to lead Vanderbilt’s efforts in making a world-class education possible to students regardless of their economic circumstances. Vanderbilt is a national leader in providing access and affordability, and my challenge is to make sure we communicate this message effectively to prospective students and then deliver on this promise,” Tener said.

Tener came to Vanderbilt from Wichita State University, where he worked in undergraduate admissions and the Office of Student Financial Planning and Assistance. He received his B.A. in political science from Wichita State in 1987, and his M.Ed. in counseling with an emphasis in higher education administration from Wichita State in 1993.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Claim your spot on one of the dream teams at the SASFAA New Aid Officers Summer Workshop. The theme is “Training Camp – Gearing Up for Success”. The workshop will be held June 15-20, 2014 in Spartanburg, SC on the campus of the University of South Carolina Upstate. The team captains have their playbooks and are ready to provide the information and strategies for success. Registration is scheduled to close May 30th or when all draft spots are filled!
Registration and information are available at http://www.sasfaa.org/training
For questions contact SASFAA VP -Tabatha McAllister at mcallisv@mailbox.sc.edu

Friday, May 2, 2014

Six steps to a default management plan
Chansone Durden, TG Account Executive Team Manager

If you’re worried about cohort default rates (CDRs), you’re not alone. Many schools are concerned about 3-year CDRs, given a sluggish job market. What are the consequences? A series of high CDRs or one very high rate can push a school closer to sanctions, including provisional certification or even a loss of Title IV eligibility.

Whatever your rate, there are things you can do now to tackle default. First and foremost, draft a default management plan. If you have a plan already, consider how to make your plan even better. Default prevention is a major task for most schools, and a good plan can do multiple things to boost your effort. It can work as a blueprint for your default management activities, help establish accountability, and document your work on behalf of borrowers. It can also be useful in persuading campus administration to devote more resources to the default prevention cause.

How can you go about creating this all-important document? Here is a high-level summary of steps.

1.      Get management on board — Persuade your campus management team of the need for a plan, and you’ve got some instant credibility in the eyes of the rest of the campus. If management isn’t already enlisted in the default prevention cause, schedule a meeting with senior administrative staff and work up the chain as you can. The objective is to make your case quickly and succinctly, showing how default affects your students and even the financial viability of your institution. You should also show how effective default prevention practice can improve the student experience and help safeguard your institution’s long-term educational mission.

2.      Gather staff feedback and form a committee — Talk with campus departments that affect students, which could include the registrar, bursar, admissions, enrollment management, faculty, career placement, and financial aid or student services, to name a few. From these areas, you should draw representatives and form a team. Once your team is formed, make explicit the ramifications of default and start building consensus on how to help borrowers succeed in repayment.

3.      Understand borrowers’ needs and assess school practice — Analyze borrower data related to default. Generally, an effective statistical analysis will look for trends among borrowers whose loans enter default. For example, borrowers who leave school prematurely without a degree may be prone to delinquency and then default. You should also perform an institutional self-assessment. Ideally, the assessment will provide a baseline for your school’s default prevention efforts, showing what your school does to tackle default and how well it performs. To find this baseline, you could consider how effectively your school helps students graduate on time ready to manage loan repayment. You might put together a history of your institutions’ default rates. And you could talk with students on what your school can do to better engage students so they feel supported and prepared when repayment comes due.

4.      Appoint a default prevention point person — Along with setting such goals, you should consider focusing at least one person on your school’s default aversion efforts and training that individual in the details of CDRs, financial aid, and the consequences of default. This person will manage the day-to-day work of default prevention, including monitoring rates. He or she should also be responsible for drafting the body of the report using input from campus assessments, staff interviews, default data analysis, and other information.

5.      Establish goals In creating a plan, be sure to set goals that meet the S.M.A.R.T. objectives. You’ve probably heard of this business management acronym for setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. You have a ready measure in your school’s CDR, but you should set other objectives — for example, providing a given number of student workshops on managing debt or completing an analysis of a borrower cohort. Remember: you’ll have to keep pace with the changing needs of your students and the priorities of your campus.

6.      Outline, then draft a plan — Create the structure of your school’s plan and then draft, revise, and rewrite as needed. The heart of the plan should be tactics and strategies for addressing weak points in borrower support. But what if your school doesn’t have the staff to write a plan? Or perhaps you’d like to tap into the knowledge and resources of an institution devoted solely to default aversion? In this case, your school might consider outsourcing at least some of your default aversion responsibilities, including creating a default management plan, to a third-party servicer. Third-party servicers can be affordable given what they can offer, including consultation and a focus on strategies for delinquency prevention and default aversion.

Resources to tap now
TG’s HigherEDGE™ Default Aversion Solutions can help you draft a default management plan tailored to your school’s needs. HigherEDGE consultants can evaluate your campus default aversion practices and provide a fresh perspective on empowering staff to reduce default. Together, you can incorporate these ideas into a succinct document on your school’s default prevention initiatives, one that shows how seriously your school takes default prevention and how you have a concerted plan to reduce it.

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.

Survival tips to give your graduating students
Chansone Durden, TG Account Executive Team Manager

Graduation can be a surreal moment in a student’s life. One minute, you’re living on campus where the basics — shelter, food, creature comforts — are taken care of. The next, it’s time to find a new home, prepare meals, pay bills, and do all the other things independent adults do. The shift from life in a bubble to life on the outside can be jarring.

Even worse, this dramatic change comes at a vulnerable period. Most new graduates are also just starting a career, establishing their finances, and repaying that first long-term, substantial debt — student loans. Studies show that if loan delinquency occurs, it often happens during the first year of repayment.

The following key suggestions can you help your students lay a strong financial foundation right out of school.

  • Price check on Aisle 10 — After four or five years of relative austerity, students might have an appetite for spending and spending big. When the paychecks start rolling in, the temptation is clear: What do I want? The trick is to satisfy that pang on the cheap, and as with so many things these days, there’s an app for that. Eyeing the latest tablet computer? Tired of hand-me-down college furniture? Need a new appliance to replace a dying one? Smartphone apps like BuyVia, RedLaser, PriceGrabber, and ShopAdvisor can compare prices for an item, recommend a good time of year to purchase, store credit card information, and even scan barcodes to check for alternate product choices.

  • Budgets made easy — Recording purchases and carefully saving for a rainy day are necessary but dull tasks. Online tools that streamline money management can help. Xpenser lets you import your bank statement, analyze purchasing patterns, create reports, and even track car mileage. Budget Tracker works similarly but also lets you compare interest rates on credit cards and create email reminders on bills. Both apps are easy to use and — best of all — free.

  • Spending too much? Step (it) down — Have a need but not the cash? Satisfy your desire with a cheaper version. Better yet, reduce your expectations and take steps to spend less for what you need or want. Do you like to eat out? Settle for your favorite restaurant fewer times per week, or eat at a less expensive establishment, or cut out items like desserts and appetizers. You could even make yourself the same things at home using online recipes. Need to find a place to live post-college? Renting a house would be ideal, but not budget-friendly. How about an apartment? How about an apartment with a roommate? Or how about renting a room for a while? Your income and expenses, along with what’s most important to you, will dictate how you “step down.”

  • Let your priorities do the talking — That last suggestion brings us to a priority-setting exercise, which can serve as a foundation for setting up a spending plan. Take an expense like housing or a car and compare it to a series of other expenses, like vacation or college. With each pairing, pick the item you value more. Once you’ve completed comparing and choosing, count up the number of times you picked the item (i.e., housing or a car) under evaluation. Do this exercise with a whole series of needs or wants like clothing, retirement, cars, dining out, etc. You can then rank all these items in a list by the number of times chosen, highest to lowest. This ranking serves as a priority list, showing you where you might spend more money in order to satisfy your needs.

  • Options! Options! You’ve got repayment options — As you know, one of the advantages of federal student loans is that they come with emergency parachutes, also known as repayment plans and options. Sometimes, the best way for a former student to cut costs is to choose a different repayment plan. A great example is Income-based repayment (IBR). Say you made an adjusted gross income of $18,000, had a debt of $35,000, and a family size of one. Under IBR you would pay about $10 per month. Sounds affordable, right? However, repayment will keep pace with income. Deferment and forbearance, which postpone repayment for a time under certain conditions, are other options, but offer short-term solutions.

Now put it all together — Exit counseling is an essential last task for departing and graduating students. How about adding some of the information described above to that last in-person or online counseling session? You could even turn the recommendations provided here into a small portfolio of resources that students can take with them — a folder stocked with vital loan contact information, brochures on repayment options, and tips on money management and post-college budgeting. After the dust of graduating and relocating has settled, this resource could serve as a guide on life after college and be as important, in its own way, as a diploma or certificate.

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.