Thursday, January 29, 2015

SASFAA President-Elect Information

SASFAA President-Elect Information
Submitted by Zita Barree, Nominations & Elections Committee Chair

The polls for SASFAA’s 2015 election will open in two weeks on February 12!  To help you prepare, between now and then, I will be high-lighting each office for which you will be asked to vote by sharing with you what the SASFAA Policy & Procedure Manual describes as the duties of these positions. 
The first office you will be asked to select a candidate for is the office of President-Elect.  This is a three year term; spending one year as President-Elect, one year as President, and one year as Immediate Past President.
The candidates for the office of President-Elect are:
  • Marian Dill (4 year private, Lee University – Tennessee)
  • Sharon Oliver (4 year public, N.C. Central University – North Carolina)

You can learn more about these candidates by reviewing their candidate statement and biographical information on the SASFAA website at www.sasfaa.org/elections.
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; advises and counsels the president as needed;
f.                     begins initial planning for the next annual conference and for the promotion of the event;
g.                    selects all committee chairs and liaisons. Works with committee chairs on selecting committee members utilizing a volunteer form;
h.                   consults with the Board and budget chair in developing future initiatives; and
i.                      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, January 28, 2015

Have you made your plans? Conference 2015 is around the corner!

We hope that you have made plans to attend our 2015 annual conference in Memphis, TN--beginning February 22--at the legendary, charming, and elegant Peabody Memphis.  The conference committee has worked very hard to organize a conference that is sure to meet your office's needs.

Visit the conference website to find all the details related to hotel, travel arrangements, the conference charity, and much, much more. Have you seen the information packed agenda!?! As well, two excellent pre-conference workshops are also available.

Register today directly from the conference site. We look forward to seeing you in Memphis as we continue Uncovering our Purpose, Power, and Passion.

Conference Chair 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

President Basford's Comments on State of the Union Address

Dear Members & Friends:


I hope that many of you were able to watch the State of the Union address last night by President Obama. 


As a financial aid professional committed to ensuring that students and their families receive funding to pursue their dreams of higher education, it makes me proud to see that education still remains a top priority in America.  


With America committed to our students we can continue to uncover our Purpose, Power, & Passion.


Below are a few highlights from the speech:


·        President Obama focused on the value and affordability of higher education, highlighting his recently announced proposal to make the first two years of community college free and his plan to reform higher education tax benefits. 


·        America’s College Promise, the president’s proposal to make two years of community college free, was the main focus of his higher education remarks in the address. Obama described the plan as a much-needed partnership between key stakeholders: the federal government, states, institutions and students. 


·        “By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education,” stated Obama.  “And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It's not fair to them, and it's not smart for our future. That's why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college - to zero.”


·        The plan would provide two years free community college for students who are at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward completing their program. Under the proposal, the federal government would cover three quarters of the average cost of community college tuition and fees. States would serve as partners and be expected to contribute the remaining funds needed to eliminate tuition for eligible students.


How do we do this?


·        President Obama stated in the address that the proposal, which is estimated to cost $60 billion dollars over 10 years, would be paid for by his plan to reform the tax system.. The crux of the higher education portion of the plan, covered by NASFAA in yesterday’s issue of Today’s News, would consolidate existing tax credits into, and make permanent, the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). It would also expand AOTC eligibility to non-traditional students, increase the refundable portion, and allow students to claim the credit for up to five years. In addition, the plan would simplify the AOTC process for Pell Grant recipients.


I look forward to seeing many of you in Memphis!


Nathan R. Basford, Jr.

SASFAA President

Florida State University, OFA

A4400 University Center




expect more than others think is possible........ 

Monday, January 12, 2015


Dear Members & Friends:

It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the passing of Brenda McCafferty’ s father, Mr. Elijah Ketchum.  Mr. Ketchum passed away over the weekend.

Brenda has been a very active member with SASFAA as well as her state association. 

If you would like to send condolences, the address is the following.

Ms. Brenda McCafferty
9 N. 24th Street, PH-2
Richmond, VA.  23223

May the memories of her father bring comfort, peace, and many memories to the family during the time of their loss.

Nathan Basford
SASFAA President

Happy 2015 from Global Issues!

Happy New Year, SASFAA! Greetings from the Global Issues Committee. As we all settle in and prepare for the oncoming rush of returning students I hope you come back from the holiday season rested, rejuvenated, and ready to face a new award season. January marks the start of one of the busiest times of year for financial aid personnel so for many of us the holiday break is the downtime we need to feel fortified to face the upcoming months. However there are many for whom the holidays are not restful and are, in fact, a trigger for depression.
No doubt, over the years you’ve likely heard that suicide rates spike during the holidays. That’s not actually true. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics
“the suicide rate is, in fact, the lowest in December. The rate peaks in the spring and the fall. This pattern has not changed in recent years. The holiday suicide myth supports misinformation about suicide that might ultimately hamper prevention efforts.” [1]
Why is this relevant now? The relevancy lies in the fact that as higher education professionals we are likely to be faced with numerous populations of students in the coming days that are suffering from depression or other mental illness that has been exacerbated by the holiday season. While there may not be an increase in the number of suicides during the holiday, there is a steep increase in depression that can lead to suicidal ideation and the increase in suicide rates in the spring. 

Who’s at Risk?
            As financial aid professionals we are in a unique position to interact with those students who are struggling to cope with depression, stress, or other emotional issues. Finances are one of the most stressful aspects of the college experience, so students visiting Financial Aid are often doing so in high stress situations that may make holiday-triggered depression worse. Students most vulnerable to holiday triggered depression include any student that has lost family members, students for whom their home environment may be abusive, veterans still attempting to cope with transitioning back to civilian life or with PTSD, and youth in the foster care system. The commonality between each of these groups of students is that they are already susceptible to depression. The stress of the holiday can simply make that depression worse. 

What Can I Do?
            Financial Aid personnel are ideally situated to help reach out to those that may be coming back to campus suffering from, or at-risk for, depression. So this January, as you begin seeing students and gearing up for your busiest time of year, the Global Issues committee would like remind you that you can make a difference. 

1.      Be aware of the background of each student you work with. Be sensitive to signs of depression, particularly if you note that the student is a homeless youth at risk, a veteran, has recently lost a parent, or is part of the foster care system. 

2.      Don’t know what to look for? Educate yourself and students on the signs and symptoms of depression? http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-and-college-students/index.shtml[2] Our jobs are not simply to refer a student to counseling services on our campus, but to remind students that they are not alone.
3.      Be familiar with the services available to your students. Did you know that veterans are eligible to receive free career counseling services under Chapter 36 benefits? In veterans still trying to transition back to civilian life, career uncertainty and financial worries during the holiday can exacerbate stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Being able to assure returning service men and women that career counseling is available may help mitigate stress. Need more information? Visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/edu_voc_counseling.asp to learn more about Chapter 36 benefits.

All too often for those of us working the trenches of financial aid, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of the award season, changing regulations, training, software updates, compliance issues, and federal reporting. This January, let’s remember that we have the privilege everyday of working with students in a way that is life changing. We make it possible for dreams to come true for every student that needs financial aid to access to higher education.  Some students lose sight of that dream due to depression; let’s find a way to help them hang on. Be aware, be sensitive; be hope for those that are struggling. Our profession is a tremendous blessing, but it’s also a weighty responsibility. Let’s be prepared to do it right this semester.  Good luck out there SASFAA…!

Donna Quick, Global Issues Committee

[1] The Annenberg Public Policy Center. [Online]. (2010). The holiday-suicide link: The myth persists. The Annenberg Public Policy Center (producer). Available from URL: http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/Downloads/Releases/ACI/Holiday%20Suicide%20release%202010.pdf [Accessed 2014 Dec 13].

[2] National Institute of Mental Health. [Online] (2012). Depression and College Students. National Institute of Mental Health (producer) Available from URL: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-and-college-students/index.shtml. [Accessed 2015 Jan. 11]