KASFAA President Profile – Ben Kohl



Ben Kohl

At what institution do you work?

Kansas State University

How long have you been with your current institution?

I started at K-State as the Coordinator for Enrollment Management for the Department of Housing and Dining Services in July of 2001, then moved over to the position of Assistant Director for the Office of Student Financial Assistance in January of 2004.

Tell us, in one sentence, what you do for the financial aid team.

I mainly oversee our communication and outreach efforts.

What are you most looking forward to as a KASFAA President?

I am looking forward to working with talented KASFAA members to accomplish our association’s goals.

Where did you earn your undergraduate degree?

Emporia State University

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Energetic, Ambitious, Discerning

Outside of work, what do you like to do for fun?

I am ABD for my Ph.D., so I am working on my dissertation when I can. I follow my kids’ activities (and drive them to their meetings and practices) Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Baseball, Wrestling, Triathlons & Runs, Dance, Theater, Piano, Church, and school take up a lot of time. While driving and participating in my kids’ activities,  I think about all of the work I should  be doing on my dissertation.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

Someone would be surprised to know that I cannot concentrate at home unless it is clean and tidy. My office space is a mess, but I cannot stand my house being a mess. Deborah (my wife) and I have four kids, so I don’t get a lot of dissertation work done at home.

The best thing about Kansas is:

There’s No Place Like Home.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you bring with you?

My Leatherman utility tool. Lots of drinking water. A fishing pole (with line & lots of bait).

Are you heading west to KASFAA on the Range?

KASFAA Fall Training

Howdy! Have you saved the date on your calendar for KASFAA’s Fall Training Conference in Dodge City? If you want to explore the cowboy or cowgirl side while getting exclusive updates on some of the hottest topics in financial aid. Don’t miss out.

Conference registration begins on August 4th.

Cost: $75 for KASFAA members, $100 for nonmembers (Late Fee after September 15th, 2014 is $25)

You can read more details about the program on the conference website: http://www.kasfaa.org/docs/toc_training.html

Hotel Information: A block of rooms is reserved until September 24th, 2014

Dodge House Hotel and Convention Center http://www.dodgehousehotel.com/ block room rate $84-109+tax per night

La Quinta Inn & Suites http://www.laquintadodgecity.com/ block room rate $80+tax-all rooms per night

I better see y’all in Dodge City!  If you have any questions, please feel free to email Tisha Anderson at Tisha.Anderson@ku.edu

Registration Committee

Tisha Anderson, University of Kansas

Tricia Brothers, Tabor College

Danielle Sullivan, University of Kansas

KASFAA Member Profile – Lacey Ledwich


Name: Lacey Ledwich

What institution do you work for? Wichita Area Technical College

How long have you been with your current institution? 5 years and 5 months

Tell us in one sentence what you do for the financial aid team: Since I am the Director of the Financial Aid Office, I oversee all day to day operations

What are you most looking forward to as a KASFAA Member? Assisting on the Conference Planning Committee.

Where did you get your undergrad: Pittsburg State University….GO RILLAS!!

What three words would you use to describe yourself:  Detail-Oriented, Loyal, Dependable

Outside of work, what do you like to do for fun: Spending time with my husband and son!

What might someone be surprised to know about you? I was ‘that’ student that everyone in the Financial Aid world hated….I used my financial aid to go on AMAZING Spring Break trips :-)

The best thing about Kansas is: My family and friends are all pretty close by.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you bring with you? My child, matches, water

Conference Planning Meeting – Brenda Hicks


This is how a training event begins….a group of people gather in a small room to go over deadlines, schedules, budgets, menus and other details that need to be decided so that events like the Fall Training and Spring Conference are implemented smoothly.  On Monday, July 21, the KASFAA conference planning committee gathered at the Hotel at OldTown Conference Center in Wichita Kansas to discuss these and other topics.

Things that we learned – Sara Vancil is growing a raised garden in her backyard, Diana VanDyke has a miniature horse, Keith Fitzsimmons and May Schumacher are working on an accurate definition of “rodeo butt,” Dianna Bunker has a beautiful and talented but slightly spazmodic dog, Lacey Ledwich is too busy to have a dog, Shirley Bader can sew and Tisha Anderson knows how to turn mulberrys into fruit pies.  Brenda Hicks, Diane Lindeman and La’Lisa Coley kept the peace and no one wanted me to take their picture.  I did it anyway.

This group is great – thoughtful minds, excellent questions and terrific ideas!  Together, we are working on providing two events that will meet your 2014-2015 training needs with a dash or two of relaxation and fun.  The conference committee will be meeting monthly by phone from now until the spring conference is concluded and there is still lots of room for extra help if you are interested.

First up is Fall Training in Dodge City on October 9-10!  Look for registration and details about the conference on the website soon.  I don’t think I’m spilling the beans too much by indicating that you might want to look around in your closet for that cowboy gear that you have stuffed away….you might have an opportunity to wear it in the very near future.  And, as you are looking – if you happen to find a stick horse, nerf gun or rope  – let La’Lisa Coley or Dianna Bunker from Hutchinson Community College know.  For real.  I’m serious.

Five Things Every Default Management Plan Needs

Kevin Struckhoff, TG Assistant Vice President for Relationship Management and Consulting

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 a fee.

Kevin Struckhoff is TG assistant vice president for relationship management and consulting. You can reach Kevin at (800) 252-9743, ext. 6701, or by email at kevin.struckhoff@tgslc.org. Additional information about TG can be found online at www.TG.org.

New Member Spotlight – Traniece Bruce

Traniece Bruce

Please take a moment to get to know one of our newest KASFAA members, Traniece Bruce.  Welcome, Traniece!

What institution do you work for: Wichita State University
How long have you been with your current school? Total: 9 years; Current Position: 1 month
Tell us in one sentence what you do for the financial aid team: I assist with student counseling and outreach efforts.
What are you most looking forward to with being a KASFAA member? I am looking forward to meeting colleagues within the organization and getting involved!
Where did you get your undergrad: Wichita State University.
What three words would you use to describe yourself: Outgoing, intellectual and inquisitive.
Outside of work, what do you like to do for fun: I love to travel and experience different cultures and places, concerts, live music and perform spoken word/poetry.
What might someone be surprised to know about you? I am shy.
The best thing about Kansas is: The erratic seasons…. I get to wear my entire wardrobe all year. Music to a frugal person’s ears!
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you bring with you? A bison (food and warmth), an MP3 player with Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” CD on it (it’s a classic) and a Rubik’s cube.


Teach your students the basics of banking

Teach your students the basics of banking

Kevin Struckhoff, TG Assistant Vice President for Relationship Management and Consulting

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.

“Demystifying 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.”


Kevin Struckhoff is TG Assistant Vice President for Relationship Management and Consulting, serving schools in KASFAA. You can reach Kevin at (800) 252-9743, ext. 6701, or by email at kevin.struckhoff@tgslc.org. Additional information about TG can be found online at www.TG.org.