Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Is becoming a SASFAA New Aid Instructor in your future?


Are you interested in serving or do you know someone that would be a great a great instructor for the summer NAOW?  There are openings for the 2015 year.   The proposed date for the workshop is June 14-19, 2015.  The workshop is designed to provide a working knowledge of the federal financial aid programs, as well as an understanding of the laws and regulations that govern these programs.

Below are the guidelines for faculty selection and their duties.  If you are interested or would like to recommend a colleague, please complete and return the “Instructor Recommendation Form” on/before Wednesday, September 3, 2014.   Faculty positions will be reviewed by the Professional Advancement Committee in September and presented to the SASFAA Board in November.  Individuals will be notified of selection by December 1, 2014.  Instructors and alternates will be selected during the process.

Guidelines for Faculty Selection (P&P 6.14.1)

  • Faculty members must be financial aid administrators who have been employed in the student financial aid profession for at least three (3) years, with preference given to those administrators with greater experience.
  • Faculty cannot serve more than two (2) consecutive years except with the approval of the Board.
  • Faculty must be active members of SASFAA.
  • The vice president, in consultation with the president, will select the faculty. Recommendations will be solicited from the Professional Development Committee.
  • Faculty selection criteria shall include state, type of institution or agency where employed, minority representation, teaching ability and professional attitude. Competency, professionalism and teaching ability shall be determining factors when selecting faculty.

Job Description and Responsibilities
·         The instructor is expected to attend a planning retreat in the spring prior to the workshop.
·         The instructor agrees to stay on site for the entire workshop.
·         The instructor is expected to arrive at the summer workshop site on Friday prior to the beginning of the workshop (Sunday) and remain through the following Friday (close of the workshop). [Eight days]
·         Agree to participate in all workshop-sponsored events.
·         Understand that the commitment of being a NAOW Instructor is a two-year commitment with an annual contract issued at the discretion of the SASFAA Vice-President.
·         Serve as the instructors for one-day workshop held in conjunction with the annual conference.  
·         Review curriculum materials provided.  This should be done prior to arrival at the workshop.
·         Work closely with teaching partner to make the classroom experience of the highest quality.
·         Encourage participants in classroom and social activities, helping them to feel welcome and comfortable.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me by email at mdill@leeuniversity.edu.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Marian Dill

SASFAA Vice President (2014-2015)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Greetings from your SASFAA President

Your 2014-15 SASFAA Executive board will be meeting July 25-26th in Memphis, Tennessee.  We plan to discuss the following:

  • Operational Budget approval for 2014-15,
  • All Policy & Procedure updates recommended by board members,
  • Future Conference Site locations,
  • Training Opportunities for 2014-15,
  • SASFAA 2015 Conference,
  • State updates from State Presidents, and
  • Governance and Planning (GAP)  Long Range Planning.

As you know, our theme for the year is:  “Uncovering our Purpose, Power & Passion”

As we meet, we will keep this theme in mind as we discuss the above items, and also look at where we want our Association to be in the future.

The entire board is reading an excellent book that was recommended by NASFAA: “Road to Relevance” by Harrison Coerver & Mary Byers.  This book provides strategies for associations to consider when they begin reviewing their long range planning.  Operating as we have traditionally done for the last few years is not a viable option, and we must be disciplined strategists. During the year we will use insight from the book to lead our association to an ever-more valued, sustainable, and relevant future. 

Updates from the meeting will be sent after our meeting. As always, I welcome all your comments and ideas.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Be Heard and Influence Corresponding Action - Part 1

All too often, whether by written communication, face-to-face interaction, or oral presentation, we find our key points are seemingly either not understood or not heard. There is encouraging news; equipping effective communication by simply adjusting our mindset while constructing our message will yield desired results.

Expressive Communication Mode
Normally while composing messages, we primarily focus on content and grammar. This ensures that our points are accurate, supported with evidence and/or citations. Then, we recruit one of our “English experts” to scan for verb tenses and complete sentences. All of which are appropriate and necessary. When our focus rests only with content and grammar, we are communicating in the expressive mode. Surprisingly, this mode of communication does not require an audience. Ever snagged your small toe on the corner of a wall and said one or two choice words? You communicated in the expressive mode, whether or not someone heard you.

Rhetorical Communication Mode
Unfortunately, our work is in vain if our focus is not ultimately on the audience. Although the transition may seem minor, changing the focus employs the rhetorical communication mode. This type utilizes both verbal and non-verbal expressions. Consider the following example: while sitting with a group for dinner, you find that your vegetables are bland. Scanning across the table you discover the salt is out of reach. Pick the most effective request: (1) staring with a scowl saying, “Salt! Now!” (2) looking confused and speaking to the ceiling, “If only I had some salt, then I could eat my food.” (3) or smiling and asking, “Please pass the salt.” All methods employ proper content and grammar, but only one is most effective. The first two may lead the table guests to think negatively of you and your content. When framing your message, always ask yourself, “What will my audience believe after receiving the message?”

Email Application
Daily we send emails. We draft emails asking and answering questions to those both within and outside the organization. Some emails even send automatically utilizing templates. If love is measured by quantity, then we love email. When composing future emails, consider the main message you want the audience to understand. For example, I complete calculations, which are based on federal regulations, to determine how much financial aid a student has earned after they withdraw mid-semester. For those who are part of the financial aid profession, this is known as a R2T4 calculation. When drafting the email to the student, what should the main message be? To understand how the formula works, what the regulations say, pay the remaining balance on the account, etc.? If you’re like me, ultimately the purpose should focus on encouraging them to pay the balance due.
What emails do you send that could be improved by focusing only on the main message?
In addition, don’t make the mistake of casually assigning a subject line. No further proof should be needed than to recall how you skim your own inbox. Emails requiring action should start with words like: URGENT, CRITICAL, or SERIOUS.Disclosure requirements could instead start with: Disclosure, Information, or Not Urgent.

Presentation Application
One way to improve your presentation includes transforming from an expository of facts already online (thanks Google) to an empowering main message. For instance, at Johnson University we host an event for potential students and families to learn about admissions and experience the campus. In the afternoon, everyone enjoys free candy while attending my financial aid presentation. Sugar rushes keep Pell Grant discussions exciting! Back in the day, a significant portion of my presentation simply listed aid types, amounts, and rules. This format didn’t consider what the audience would believe after the presentation. Since shifting my focus, I concentrate on convincing them that attending the university is affordable. You may be surprised to find out that in most cases scholarships and grants do not cover all educational expenses. Some students and families appear lost on how to pay after discovering this. My presentation includes multiple strategies acting as “pieces of a puzzle” illustrating how to make enrollment most affordable.
Which presentations could you improve by first determining the desired main message, and then constructing the presentation to support the main point?
This is just a start to rhetorical communication techniques. Experiment and find the success you have longed for. Stay tuned for part two as we build on effective communication strategies. Please feel free to contact me for additional resources; I would enjoy connecting with you.


McCroskey, James C. "An Introduction to Rhetorical Communication."

Submitted by Larry Rector, CPA, Associate Dean of Enrollment Services at Johnson University, Knoxville, TN. Mr. Rector is a past presenter at TASFAA and may be contacted via LinkedIn.

Monday, July 14, 2014

SASFAA is looking forward to a great year - Uncover Your Purpose, Power and Passion! You will not want to miss all the updates, collaboration with colleagues and conference updates. So, please renew your membership today.

To renew or update your membership, log in to your profile at http://www.sasfaa.org/Sys/Profile with your email and password and follow suggested actions on your profile screen.

Don't know your password? Reset it here http://www.sasfaa.org/Sys/ResetPasswordRequest.

Nancy T. Garmroth
2014-2015 Membership Chair

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nelnet Training - July/August 2014

Leading Change
All of us have experienced change, either in our personal or professional life. Based on John Kotter’s book, Leading Change, this session will cover the 8-Step process associated with a change climate. We will discuss the aspects of change as it relates to opportunity, innovation, growth, culture, cost structure, and much more.
Date: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Tap into Technology: Communicating with Your Students in Their World
This session takes a look at the communication preferences of today’s college student. It covers how schools use social media and the steps needed to create a successful social media program on your campus. We will take a closer look at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with an eye toward how aid offices can use these forums to connect with and counsel students. Additionally, guidelines are provided for creating campus social media plans.
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Real-Time Reporting Made Easy
Would you like real-time reporting options for your borrowers? Maybe you would like the ability to see a student loan account statement for one-on-one counseling? Perhaps you want to identify your early and late stage borrower delinquencies for improved default management? All of these activities and many others are available through the Nsight Plus reporting tool. Join us to see the capabilities of this free reporting tool and find out how you can use it on your campus!
Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Top Ten Compliance Issues Based on Audit and Program Review
FSA has compiled the top ten issues that result from both audit and program reviews. This session takes a look at these findings and provides examples and measures to ensure they are not an issue on your campus.
Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now
Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Building Successful Students – An Overview
Default rates are on the rise. The 3-year Cohort Default Rate is in full effect. How can you work toward ensuring your students are successful? This session takes a look at the context of student lending, how borrowers view repayment, and the relevance of your student data when considering how to build a successful student.
Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Managing Challenging Situations
This is an engaging and interactive session that takes a look at proven techniques and methods that can be used when dealing with a difficult situation. Strategies will be discussed and practiced for dealing with conflict according to the situation and desired outcome.
Date: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now
Date: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Collaborative Techniques in Default Prevention
This session will focus on creating a Default Prevention Team and Action Plan. Specific aspects of team development will be addressed along with the components of the action plan. Additionally, the importance of specific steps schools should follow in their respective approaches will be discussed. A template for school use will be provided.
Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now
Managing the Moment: Conflict Resolution
People have different ways of handling conflict. This session is will help you be aware of what’s going on in the moment and managing it with skill and professionalism. We will take a proactive approach to identifying your communication style and how you tend to deal with conflict. This session will also teach you how to deliver your message without losing its meaning in these tough situations.
Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now
Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Using Excel to Make Data Analysis Easier
Reports are available for schools from many different sources (NSLDS, servicers, school systems, etc.). Analysis of all those reports can be cumbersome and time-consuming. This session will offer some instruction and a demonstration of how to merge spreadsheets from different sources to create a comprehensive document to aid in data analysis.
Date: Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Financial Literacy – Teaching Your Borrowers to Live Life Smart
Does the idea of financial literacy resources compiled in an easy-to-use reference guide appeal to you? Join for this session and see how you and your borrowers can benefit from this concept. Attendees will learn what’s covered and receive this guide for use in your campus financial literacy efforts.
Date: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Date: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Register now

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SASFAA Leadership at NASFAA

SASFAA & Facebook - A Great Pair!

Have you ‘liked’ SASFAA’s Facebook page? It’s a great way to stay in touch with colleagues from around the southern region, share/borrow others' ideas, etc.

Check it out today! Be sure and ‘like’ the page so that you're kept up to date with SASFAA's happenings! It's free!

Five things every default management plan needs
Chansone Durden, TG Account Executive Team Manager

If there’s a silver lining to the dark cloud of student loan default, it’s that rising rates are forcing many schools to candidly evaluate how well they support their student borrowers. It’s also motivating schools to expand efforts in things like debt management — to find more ways to send the message: “We’ve got your back. Here are some things you can do now and later to succeed in repayment.”

A school’s default management plan typically lays the blueprint for campus self-assessment and borrower education. Schools sometimes see the default management plan in a negative light, since the Department requires the plan for schools with high default rates. But a good plan can serve a strategic purpose. It can be the key to unlocking campus collaboration and getting many departments invested and working on default prevention. It can spur research on why students default. And it can lay out a comprehensive vision of how to tame default and promote a campus culture that champions the student borrower. Also, upper management is more likely to see value in the effort and throw weight into the project.

Five elements of a good default management plan
You don’t have to build a plan from scratch. The Department of Education provides a template on which a school can model its own plan. The Department advocates attacking default throughout the life of the loan. This means educating students in their options before they borrow and supporting them as they repay, especially if their loans enter delinquency. Here are some other suggestions to make your school’s plan more robust.
  • School self-assessment — An institutional self-assessment can go in many directions. Ideally, it should 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 and ready to manage loan repayment. You might put together a history of your institutions’ default rates. And you could talk with students, faculty, and staff about what your school can do to better engage students so they feel supported and prepared when repayment time comes. Other areas of self-assessment could include enrollment management practices, financial literacy education, and even campus life and culture.
  • Analysis of borrower default An analysis of trends in default could be part of a school’s self-assessment, but it could stand by itself also. Why? An analysis will likely contain the seeds of expanded or new efforts in helping borrowers succeed in repayment, and a separate section could highlight these opportunities. 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. Other factors that schools might consider: grade point average, Pell-eligibility, part-time enrollment status, enrollment in a particular program of study, local labor market conditions, and borrowing levels by socioeconomic background.
  • Tactics and strategies — The heart of any good plan is the section that lays out what a school will do to better manage default. In the “Tactics and Strategies” area, the school should use its default analysis and self-assessment as a foundation on which to recommend new or expanded initiatives that address weak points in borrower support. For example, if borrowers without a degree tend to default more, schools could consider how to maintain students through degree completion. Or if data shows that borrowers from a given major have high rates of default, a school could consider how to smooth the path to employment for this group.
  • Default taskforce — It’s a good idea to get multiple departments involved in default prevention, since many departments can affect the issue. Creating a taskforce made up of representatives from such departments as admissions, the registrar, financial aid, faculty, and other areas is key to the success of any school’s default prevention. The school’s default management plan could designate members for the taskforce and define their areas of responsibility with regard to default prevention.
  • Success measures Plan developers should consider factors that contribute to default, establish measures that address these factors, and then set goals for these measures. These goals should be evaluated periodically to show progress or the need for improvement. As an example, a school could require students to take a certain number of debt management trainings. Or it could commit to reducing default for a segment of borrowers by a given percentage.  The value of putting such goals on paper is that doing so makes clear what success in default prevention looks like for the institution.

Resources to tap now
If you’re looking for an example default management plan, the Department of Education offers a comprehensive one, which can be downloaded through the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website. You could also do an online search to find examples. Or you could turn a third-party servicer that provides default prevention services for fee.

Chansone Durden is an account executive team manager with TG serving schools in SASFAA. You can reach Chansone at (800) 252-9743, ext. 2513, or by email at chansone.durden@tgslc.org. Additional information about TG can be found online at www.TG.org.
Teach your students the basics of banking
Chansone Durden, TG Account Executive Team Manager

If you offer your students financial literacy training, here’s a topic to add to your curriculum: how to use banks and credit unions. According to a 2011 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation survey, close to half of all lower-income households are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they either don’t have a bank account or have an account but also rely on alternative financial services, like check cashing and payday lenders.
It’s likely that some of your students don’t use a bank or credit union either. Why should banking matter to students?
“Banks and credit unions give folks access to the mainstream financial systems in our country,” said Jordana Barton, a senior advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “Banks are essential to people who want to partake in our society in a fuller way.”
Among other things, banks and credit unions can help students establish a credit history, they’ll need to buy a car or start a business. Banks can save students cash in terms of lower interest rates and fees. And using banks or credit unions makes students less likely to turn to predatory lenders like pawn shops, which can trap consumers with hard-to-repay loans.
“Demysting how banks operate can lead more students to open a checking or savings account,” said Barton.

Bank On
Barton, who was born in the colonias along the Texas-Mexico border, works in community development, but she spent the early part of her career as a student financial aid counselor. Her background has spurred her to look for ways to empower lower-income families and students.

“To narrow the gap between rich and poor, we have to get more students engaged in programs like college and banking,” said Barton.
Barton noted that many colleges are requiring students complete one or more classes on managing money and that banking fits under that umbrella. She also described various financial awareness campaigns from across the country, including “Bank On,” that might offer support to colleges.

“Bank On’s main purpose is to sign people up who aren’t banked,” said Barton. “Participating banks offer affordable, entry-level services to interested folks.These banks also tend to be flexible in the forms of identification they accept, including consular IDs.”

Investing in themselves
Studies show that unbanked students and families may feel intimidated by the large national chains or don’t believe they have enough money to start an account. Barton said that mentors on campus can help students become more comfortable with the idea of banking.

Based on her own experience, Barton noted that personal testimony has the most power to motivate students to use banks. “Stories of success with a checking or savings account demystify things for students and their families.”

However, there may be other roadblocks to bank use. Many first-generation students feel indebted to their families and offer their parents any money they acquire, including fainancial aid. “What you have to do is show these students that by banking their financial aid, they are investing in themselves,” said Barton.
The challenge, according to Barton, is to make clear to students that by starting a bank account they position themselves to help their families down the road. “Explaining bank benefits this way can get students and families on board.”

Chansone Durden is an account executive team manager with TG serving schools in SASFAA. You can reach Chansone at (800) 252-9743, ext. 2513, or by email at chansone.durden@tgslc.org. Additional information about TG can be found online at www.TG.org.