Time to Advocate

By Brenda Hicks

Advocacy

Reauthorization is getting a little traction, most recently in the form of the PROSPER Act which passed out of the House Education committee a couple of weeks before Christmas.

What does this mean to you? It is time, friends, to engage in advocacy.

Step 1: Inform yourself. NASFAA’s advocacy page is open to everyone, members or not. Visit their page on the PROSPER Act and read their very good analysis on the aspects of the bill. When you do this, you will find yourself wanting to move to Step 2.

Step 2: Reach out to your federal representatives in Congress and tell them the parts of the bill you can support and the parts that you cannot support. Give them examples and case studies from your campus to help legislators understand how their theories will play out in reality.

To help you with your efforts, the KAFSAA Government Relations committee has updated the KASFAA Legislative webpage. You will find links to your Congressional leadership’s webpages, emails and newsletters as well as their office addresses and phone numbers. If you don’t know which of the four House representatives is yours, click on the district for a link to the district’s map.

If you have questions, need guidance on how to get started, or just need a little help figuring out the best way to connect, feel free to reach out to the KASFAA Government Relations committee members:

Chair – Brenda Hicks, Southwestern College Co-Chair – Kimberly Cashman, Cloud County Community College

Erin Anderson, Kansas City Kansas Community College Keith Fitzsimmons, University of Kansas Medical Center Cindi Kriss, Colby Community College Diane Lindeman, Kansas Board of Regents Sheelu Surender, Wichita State University

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February is Financial Aid Month

by Kimberly Cashman

February is Financial Aid Awareness month…What are you doing to help support the cause?

January has seen many things: weird weather patterns that go from blowing snow to sunny skies within a day or two, the end of Winter Break and the return of students, and record numbers of illness in Kansas. Despite these obstacles that we all have experienced over the course of the last month, there is a bright spot coming. February is Financial Aid Awareness month and the Government Relations committee and KASFAA has a question…

What are you and/or your institution doing to help promote financial aid awareness this month?

To help you answer this question, I can tell you what the Government Relations committee has been up to and what my institution (Cloud County Community College) is planning.

  • Since the end of October, the Government Relations committee has been working towards obtaining the proclamation of the Kansas governor to declare February Financial Aid Awareness month in Kansas. On January 26th, members of KASFAA went to Topeka and was present during the signing of the proclamation by Governor Brownback.
  • Our committee will also be working on several blog posts that will debut during the month of February to give all financial aid administrators advice on where to go for updates or advice within the KASFAA, RMASFAA, and NASFAA.
  • Here at Cloud, our office will kick off financial aid awareness by presenting useful information to student enrolled in our College Skills course on February 1st. This presentation will help give guidance on what information is necessary to complete the FAFSA, what funds are available, and how Financial Aid funds work and are awarded/disbursed in relation to other funds such as athletic and foundation scholarships.
  • For the rest of the month, our office will be working towards making 2 contacts to our local state and federal representatives to help bring further awareness and call to action changes that should be made to help the field advance.

Hopefully these events help give you some direction on what you and/or your office can do to help bring awareness to Financial Aid during the month of February. If you and/or your institution have events or actions planned for the month of February to help bring awareness to Financial Aid, please do share these actions on the listserv by emailing finaid-l@lists.psu.edu and using the heading/subject Financial Aid Awareness Activity/Event. These recorded and combined efforts can help show our government representatives that we are a community dedicated to our work, our students, and our institutions and are a force to be reckoned with when we come together!

Perkins is Far From Dead

By: Keith Fitzsimmons

‘The reports of my death is an exaggeration’ wrote Mark Twain in his comment about bad follow-up of the article posted in the New York Journal on June 2, 1897.

 

You see it’s good follow-up that has kept Perkins alive. The strategy is to get Perkins extended to fill the gap before the PROSPER act kicks in for 2019-20 (or the more likely 2020-21). The target is the January 19th Omnibus bill. The more support, the better the chances for Perkins to be extended.

 

So what can you do:

1) Go to the COHEAO website, click on ‘Key Ways to Support Perkins Now’ and do some of the steps. www.coheao.com

 

2)Figure out how much your students will suffer if the Perkins loan is eliminated and there is no replacement program available. Remind them that the cancellation benefits keep nurses and allied health professions working in hometowns in Kansas.

 

3) Contact both Senator Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and ask them why that are not cosponsors of S.1808 – Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2017.

 

4) If you live in the 4th Kansas Congressional Distract, contact Representative Estes and ask him why he is the only Representative from Kansas that is not a cosponsor of H.R.2482 – Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2017. Remind his that the Perkins cancellation benefits could keep Nurses or Allied Health Professionals working at hospitals in Hutchinson or Wichita, clinics in Pratt and Arkansas City, or medical practices in Winfield, El Dorado, Kingman, Medicine Lodge, or Kinsley.

 

So be a part of good follow-up and be an advocate for our students. Even if your school does not have Perkins, I’ll bet some of your family, neighbors, or friends have current or future students that this will impact directly.

 

I’m Just a Bill

By Brenda Hicks, Chair Government Relations Committee

ISIS

<Queue Music>  PROSPER Act:  I’m just a bill, I am only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill….

One of the things I love about being in financial aid is that I get to use the skills I learned as a child on Saturday morning sitting in my pajamas eating Cheerios and watching School House Rock films during the breaks between episodes of Bugs Bunny and Mighty Isis. 

For those of you too young to remember these wonderful little educational videos – allow this link to YouTube to catch you up to speed:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyeJ55o3El0 …and once you are done with that you should definitely seek out the updated version sung by Deluxx Folk Implosion along with Blind Melon’s “Three is a Magic Number” and Skee-Lo’s “The Tale of Mr. Morton’” all released on the 1996 tribute album Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks.  “Mr. Morton is the subject of a sentence, what the predicate says he does…..” 

But I digress. 

Bottom line, during periods of Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (which doesn’t happen all that often), things can get a little confusing.  You will begin to hear about things that are “in discussion only” either because they are part of a proposal for a bill or because they are things that people are lobbying to get into the final version of the bill.  It is important to remember during ALL of these moments that a bill is just that….a bill.  It is not considered law (and therefore something you need to implement) until President Trump signs something.  Dear friends, we have a long way to go before that happens.

What you can and should do during these moments is stay in the conversation and let your voice be heard.  How can our representatives in Washington do their job well if the people they are representing remain silent?  Remember that YOU ARE AN EXPERT in the field of financial aid.  You are also an advocate for the students you serve.  If you can lend your college’s support in your remarks – do it (but get permission first).  If you want to just speak as just you, private American citizen, speak without mentioning who you work for.  But speak.

This public service announcement has been brought to you by the KASFAA Government Relations Committee.

 

 

KASFAA Members Shine at RMASFAA

By: Debbie Brewer

RMASFAA (Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) was held in Wichita October 15-18, 2017. It was a wonderful conference with amazing training and networking opportunities.  At the awards banquet, several of our KASFAA members were recognized for their efforts.

jost

 

Ashley Jost (Johnson County Community College) was presented with the Oscar R “Jack” Hendrix Award. This is previously the Rookie of the Year award.

 

Myra2

Myra Pfannenstiel (Newman University) was presented with the Ron Smout Award for Teaching and Mentoring.

Stephanie

 

Stephanie Covington (University of Kansas) was presented with the RMASFAA Distinguished Service Award.

 

Congratulations to all of our wonderful KASFAA members for representing Kansas at the regional level!!!!!

KASFAA President Update

By: Nathan Buche, KASFAA President

Before the update of a couple of items I wanted to thank Kansas for successfully representing our State at RMASFAA in October as it was great to walk around and run into many colleagues.   I want to take this opportunity to update everyone on the happenings of what has been going on in KASFAA.  We have had 2 successful board meetings where we have accomplished a lot and worked on many projects.

Some of the projects we have undertaken are re-evaluation of financial policies and process and the development of a Drive through training process. 1st, we have met with a financial consultant that helped us to better understand what we needed as an association in regards to firming up policies and developing new policies and process.  Going forward one of the recommendations was to develop succession planning in our treasurer and finance committee.  So starting the fall of 18 we will be electing a treasurer elect that would then become a treasurer and then finance committee chair.  We felt this would be help with continuity and the management of our funds.

Our 2nd major plan we have under taken is the development of the Drive Through Training model.  Many states around Kansas have gone to this model of training from a 2 conference scenario.  We understand that budgets are getting smaller and there are less dollars going around in order to send offices to the 2 trainings.  The drive through training will be based off of the NASFAA U Credentialing that is available.  We will have multiple sites throughout the state were your office can receive training and have some networking.  We will pick topics based on availability of trainers and site locations, we do plan to charge a nominal fee in order to participate but this cost will not be near what you would have paid to attend a fall conference which normally was in the $75 range per person.  You may now be looking at sending 2-3 to a training for that $75 and saving costs by not having hotel expenses.  We would anticipate that these trainings would take anywhere from 4-6 possible 7 hours to complete.  After training you would take the credentialing test at no extra cost.    This also will allow us to go to sites we may not have been able to go to in the past due to hotel availability or needing many rooms in order to put on trainings.  I will put this out for my friends out West and those in the Southeast please make plans to try to host a training.

I know the ending of the fall conference will have many mixed emotions from our dedicated and loyal members but I feel this is the best way going to forward to get the most members involved while also giving your strained budgets a break and the “how am I going to send everyone” to conference. The Executive Board did reach out and survey the membership and we had a lot of positive feedback to move to this training method.  I know the board would have preferred to survey every member we have but with 7 Executive members and our time limited as it was we did survey about 80 people and made the conclusion to move forward with this change.

In the very near future if you have not already, you will hear from Sara Vancil our President Elect and she is soliciting information from the membership as we move forward with the next SLRP, Strategic Long Range Plan. The board greatly wants all members input about where you think we need to go moving forward to 2022.  Please take the time to give some serious thought to our SLRP and help the board shape the future of your organization.

I would like to thank you all for allowing me to serve as your President this year and look forward to the next 6 months as we begin working to Spring Conference and hope to see everyone in Overland Park.