Financial Aid Awareness Month

Sheelu Surrender and Julie Scott are all over the news and on NPR, financial aid administrators are out in communities helping people complete the FAFSA….it must be Financial Aid Awareness month! 

In December, a group of KASFAAns went to Topeka to spend a little time with the governer signing a proclamation to make it so.  It reads:

TO THE PEOPLE OF KANSAS, GREETINGS:

WHEREAS, financial aid programs provide valuable funds to assist students in the costs of post-secondary education, without which many students would be unable to continue their education; and

WHEREAS, Kansas is blessed to have many institutions of postsecondary education serving the citizens of this state, allowing them to pursue higher education which is the key to the development of individual skills and knowledge which are ultimately invaluable to both the individual and the state, as those who have benefitted from financial aid over the years are now repaying the state through their talents, services and increased tax revenues; and 

WHEREAS, the annual observance of Financial Aid Awareness Month raises public awareness of the various types of aid available to help students and families afford higher education; and

WHEREAS, the Kansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators stands ready to assist every student in need of help or information

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sam Brownback, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF KANSAS, do hereby proclaim February of 2016, as 

FINANCIAL AID AWARENESS MONTH

in Kansas and urge all citizens and prospective Kansas postsecondary students to contact the postsecondary schools of their choice to learn how financial aid can complement their plans for further education so they may have the opportunity to further their education in Kansas.

Happy Celebrating KASFAA!

Brenda Hicks

President

Financial Aid Awareness Month 2015

Kansas Proclamation

Awards Committee Members

The Awards Committee consists of members:

 Lacey Ledwich, Chair

La’Lisa Coley, Co-Chair

Angela Ashmore

Brooke Bramlett

Snow Havlik

Becca Page

Stephanie Swezey

We have collected nominations for the KASFAA Awards and they will be voted on by the Board at the winter board meeting.

At the Spring Conference we will be presenting the following awards: Year of Service, Retirement Recognition, the Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award, Meritorious Achievement Award, and Hall of Fame Award.

Our committee will begin collaborating via conference calls in February to start writing the script for this year’s ceremony.  

-Lacey Ledwich, Awards Committee Chair

Volunteering for KASFAA

I began my career in financial aid in May 2007 after spending time in admissions and career services. It was a great decision, and I love what I do here at the University of Kansas!

One of the great things about working in financial aid here in Kansas is that we get a chance to be a part of KASFAA. Our association is active, engaged, and relevant. It is a way for us as financial aid administrators to stay connected to one another, to get ongoing and dynamic training and to advocate for our students.

In addition, KASFAA provides us an opportunity to develop leadership, communication and teamwork skills through volunteering. It can be a way to start involvement in our profession before moving on to roles in our regional and national associations. Or volunteering in KASFAA can be an end goal in itself, providing our time and energy first and foremost to our local, state organization.Volunteered happier

I started volunteering with KASFAA by being a committee member. I was a part of the Welcome committee and the Publicity & Awareness committee. I got to know a little more about the association and contributed to those committees in a way that did not require a huge time commitment. I was able to provide my ideas and input to the committee chairs, which felt rewarding.

My next level of involvement was getting involved in the Training committee, specifically with the High School Counselor trainings that this committee organizes. I participated on the team for two years and presented at three trainings in Fall 2012 and three in Fall 2013. Being involved on this committee required more of a time and energy commitment than previous committees but it also was focused all in the fall semester. I loved being able to travel to interact with counselors in the state and provide them with vital financial aid training.

I then stepped up to a committee chair role, leading the Publicity & Awareness committee for a year. Being a committee chair helped me to improve on my delegation skills as well as my leadership skills. I think running that committee was my first opportunity to run a meeting via conference call. Sounds silly, but it’s an important skill!Star Trek

In 2014, I took the plunge and agreed to run for Vice President. The VP of KASFAA is responsible for planning the program for both the fall training and the spring conference. That person works with the President-Elect to put on two high-quality training opportunities for our members—a very important responsibility! This position gave me a chance to put my organizational skills and attention to detail to work. I am proud of the program I put together for the Dodge City and Wichita conferences last year.

Finally, this year I am serving as Secretary of KASFAA. This role is more laid-back but is still a critical member of the KASFAA board. I keep the minutes from our Board and Business Meetings up-to-date on our website and serve as a voting member of the board as we make decisions about the future of the association.

I want to encourage everyone in KASFAA to get involved in whatever way suits you best. I challenge you to get involved on some level! You can serve on a committee that fits your skills, interests and available time. Please review the committee and officer list at http://kasfaa.org/docs/forms/KASFAACommitteeList.pdf. If you want to give even more time and energy to KASFAA, consider running for an officer position at some point!Elf

You can submit our Volunteer Form at http://kasfaa.org/docs/forms/memVolunteer.html. The next Volunteer cycle would be April 2016 – April 2017 so start talking to your supervisor about your intention to volunteer next year. Put it in your annual evaluation that you will get involved in our association!

Debbie Brewer, our current President-Elect, will be collecting these volunteer forms to fill next year’s committees.   If you’re interested in running for an officer position, please let Brenda Hicks, our current President, know of your interest. Brenda will be filling the slate next summer for an election that would choose new officers for the April 2017 – April 2018 year.

Happy Volunteering!

Sara Vancil
University of Kansas

RMASFAA Summer Institute Application OPEN!

Calling all people who would like to attend the one-of-a-kind, nationally recognized, FANTABULOUS RMASFAA Summer Institute on June 12-17, 2016!  YOU TOO can win free registration and money for travel expenses to the 2016 Summer Institute by winning a KASFAA scholarship!!!!!  KASFAA regularly sponsors four lucky individuals to spend a week on the beautiful Colorado School of Mines campus in Golden Colorado.  Whether you want to dig deeper into the CORE regulations of financial aid, think about what it takes to be a Director of Financial Aid, or connect with a small group of individuals with like minds and professional goals, this premier summer experience is well worth the week it takes to participate. 

 What’s the catch?  If selected, KASFAA will sponsor you in exchange for a little of your time spent in service to KASFAA as an officer or committee chair.  Scholarship forms are downloadable from the KASFAA website:  http://www.kasfaa.org/docs/toc_onlineforms.html.  Scholarship applications will be accepted through January 31.  Winners of the scholarships will be chosen during the February board meeting and publicly recognized at the April conference.

 APPLY TODAY!!!!

KASFAA FAFSA Completion Campaign 2016

I am so excited to announce the next chapter in the life of FASFA completion!!

College Goal Sunday events have been taking place in Kansas since 1999. Things have certainly changed since that first event – we now have the internet, the FAFSA form is online and easier for the student and families to fill out, and information is abundant about financial aid via internet.

After much thought and deliberation, KASFAA determined that the College Goal Sunday events that we have been hosting throughout the state in February needed a much different look and feel. We were not reaching many students or families for the amount of time and efforts of all of our volunteers. KASFAA does still support the FAFSA Completion project but it was time to reimagine it.

So, that brings us to today. A task force was formed and we have determined what we would like the new campaign to look like.

Drumroll please….. we will be having many, many events across the state that are helping students and families complete their FAFSA form. Many of you are already having events where you are assisting in this task, many of you are involved with a high school helping their families with this task, and TRIO and AVID programs are also helping out with this most important task!! In the past, these events were taking place in addition to College Goal Sunday.

So, starting with 2016-17 FAFSA season, we will be gathering a list of all the events taking place and putting them on our website. We will be promoting the website to the families of Kansas as a great resource to find an event near them to attend.

And the task force is presenting a challenge to the KASFAA community as well. We are challenging you to start working your efforts with the community around you towards FAFSA Completion. Maybe consider reworking the financial aid presentations that you currently do at the high schools to include some hands on time with the computer. At least the families could sign up for a FAFSA ID while you are there. Maybe consider having a FAFSA Completion time at the high school during the spring semester. We are hoping that a shift in our thinking will allow us to reach more students at events or even remotely. Also, it is time to think about your current students on campus. They might need a reminder or an event to complete the FAFSA.

I will be sharing more information about this new exciting campaign at the Fall training in Salina later in the month.

And from the members of the task force, we are excited for the new path that we are taking in Kansas!!

–  Submitted by Linda Oldham Burns