COVID-19 Scams Are Here – Be Aware and Share

Ari Lazarus is a Consumer Education Specialist for the Federal Trade Commission. He has written a very topical piece on COVID-19 scams that are targeting our students.

Scammers prey on times when we are all stressed and concerned about our income and expenses. It is important to not fall victim to situations that could cause more harm.

Ari gives us two important steps to consider before clicking on any links that you may receive in an email:

Check it out. If you have concerns about an email, contact the sender directly. Look up their phone number or website yourself. Don’t click on a link. That way, you’ll know you’re not about to call a scammer or follow a link that will download malware.

Take a closer look. While some phishing emails look completely legit, bad grammar and spelling can be a tip-off to phishing. Another clue that the email is not really from your school: they use the wrong department name. In one example we’ve seen, the scammers called themselves the Financial Dept instead of the Financial Aid Department.

Check out his article here.

Thank you, Crystal DeLong, for sharing this information.

Be aware and stay safe.

2020 Award Recipients – Committee of the Year

Every President will state that it was a tough decision to make because everyone that serves on the board and in their committees gives their heart and soul in their efforts, for the benefit of their KASFAA friends. This year was no different. From the revamp of the website, to the overhaul of the membership and archiving, to the efforts made to providing additional trainings for our membership, there was no committee that was not worthy to called the Committee of the Year. Unfortunately a choice must be made. This year’s selection took the task of communicating who KASFAA is to a whole new level. We got to meet more of our board and committee members than we have done before. What better way to get to know your family than to have more information provided about them as individuals. I truly loved what they did and look forward to them continuing this direction.


This year’s KASFAA Committee of the Year is the Association News and Publicity Committee, chaired by Cindy Kleinsorge – JCCC. Her committee was made up of:


Bonnie Sandefer (Co-Chair) – KU

Keith Fitzsimmons – KUMC

Kim Murray – Allen County

Tanya McGee – KSU

Courtney Lockhart – WSU

Kelly Baker – Allen County

We thank you so much!! It was a blast ♥


2020 Award Recipients – Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award

Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award is presented to recognize the outstanding contribution of an individual in the field of financial aid through contributions to KASFAA.


Awarded to Sara Vancil, Federal Student Aid (University of Kansas at time of nomination and voting), for holding numerous leadership roles (including KASFAA President) within KASFAA and RMASFAA, as well as her organization of and follow through on all projects that she is involved in. “Her knowledge of financial aid is exemplary and her passion for helping students is inspiring.”

Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award - Sara

Sara’s words of thanks

Dear KASFAA Friends,

What strange days we are all living through!  When I took a position with Federal Student Aid in February, I never expected that my work as a training officer would be upended by something like COVID-19.  And I know all of you are feeling the same way as you navigate what this means for your students and your campuses.

I wanted to take a moment to thank the KASFAA Board for recently awarding me with the Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award, via Zoom, no less!  😊  Being honored with this award means so much given that it seeks to recognize someone for sustained contributions to KASFAA. 

I gave it my all over the past ten years contributing to KASFAA in as many ways as I could.  I’m proud of the work I did with my KASFAA friends in planning trainings and conferences, developing our Strategic Plan, strengthening our financial position, and updating our policies and procedures.  I am very proud of my work with KASFAA, but more than that, I’m so blessed to have made so many great friends and worked with dedicated and creative colleagues on important and long-lasting work.

A very special thank you to Diane Lindeman for nominating me.  I hope you’ll stay in touch and that I’ll see you soon at a future conference!

Sara Vancil  


2020 Award Recipients – KASFAA Rising Star Award

KASFAA Rising Star award provides recognition to an individual member with fewer than 5 years of experience who shows promise for future contributions to the association or the financial aid profession. This individual has demonstrated quality performance through their passion for their work while exemplifying the professionalism and dedication to the mission of KASFAA.


Awarded to Jillian Palan, Johnson County Community College, for her involvement as an attendee at Summer Institute 2019 (Slytherin Green hiss chant leader), work on the Professional Development Training committee, and entertainment planning for Summer Institute 2020 (sad that the entertainment will forever remain a secret now). “Jillian is truly a KASFAA Rising Star and is not afraid to seize an opportunity to be involved.”

Rising Star Award - Jillian

Jillian’s words of thanks

Thank you for this award! I appreciate it very much. I have enjoyed being a part of the KASFAA family and look forward to more years of fun ahead!

2020 Award Recipients – Bruce Lopez Meritorious Achievement Award

Bruce Lopez Meritorious Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made an important contribution to KASFAA or to the financial aid profession that KASFAA wishes to recognize. To receive a Meritorious Achievement Award, the individual should have made either an important single contribution or significant multiple contributions to KASFAA or the profession.

(This award was renamed in memory and honor of Bruce Lopez during the December 2019 board meeting)


Awarded to Thad Davidson, Emporia State University, for stepping in to the role of Electronic Resources chair after the former chair left mid-year, and dedicating a LOT of time and energy developing our new website and making it as easy as possible for future chairs and committee members to manage the site. “The website alone was an important single contribution and significant multiple contributions all wrapped in to one.”

Bruce lopez Meritorious Achievement Award 2020 - Thad

Thad’s words of thanks

I don’t quite remember when I first met him, but I do remember my first impression of him.  He was dressed nicely in a suit and tie and his mannerisms very professional.  As he went to greet me with his burly hands, his grip was strong, and his dark eyes and thick mustache smiled at me genuinely.  I don’t remember what he said to me, but I remember thinking that he was a kind man just in the way he greeted and welcomed this new guy in the financial aid industry.

As I became involved in KASFAA either through attending conferences or volunteering to help, he was not only the guy who could make me laugh when I needed it, but he was also the guy who would cheer me on, “You’ve got this Thad!”  He would always greet me in the hallways of the conference hotels and ask how I was doing, going out of his way to listen.  I could only surmise that if he was this way with me, he was this way with everyone in the organization and we were fortunate to have him. 

Not being one to just lead by word, he led by example.  I remember more recently as we were hosting the RMASFAA conference in Wichita, I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed and tired with some duties of that conference.  Sensing that, he gave me a preloaded Starbucks card and said “why don’t you get yourself something to drink, on me?”  I have heard story after story that he would give to our various philanthropy causes out of his own pocket to help us all reach or exceed the goal we set.  I have witnessed him serve joyfully on committee after committee.  He was a man who gave of himself to others, and that is an example worth following.

We all knew him to be humorous and so easy to talk to.  You could talk to him about anything and you know he would listen intently.  He, in turn, also loved to share what was going on in his life, and most recently it always seemed to center around his adventures with his grandkids – they were obviously his pride and joy and source of many a hearty laugh.

Bruce Lopez was a giant of a man.  We all have similar stories of him – that is just who he was.  We are all fortunate to have met him and served alongside him and I am deeply, deeply humbled to be the first recipient of the award now named in his honor.  From my own colleagues at ESU to those I have served alongside on KASFAA committees, thank you for your confidence in me, your kindness, and your giving of yourself which spurs me on to do the same – you all exemplify the character of Bruce in these ways.  May we all remember our dear friend and colleague in how we treat one another and cheer for each other in our many endeavors.

2020 Award Recipients – Hall of Fame Award

Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame Award is the highest award made by KASFAA. Awarded to an individual who has contributed significantly to the financial aid profession for a minimum of 15 years.


Awarded to Bruce Lopez (posthumously) for all of the amazing contributions he made to KASFAA. Bruce was incredibly generous and made everyone feel welcome in KASFAA. With this award, he has officially joined the Triple Crown Club by receiving Meritorious Achievement, Outstanding Service, and Hall of Fame awards. Bruce is only the second KASFAA member to join this club…his buddy Keith Fitzsimmons was the first member.


Hall of Fame - Bruce