KASFAA Awards Winners – Summer Institute

RMASFAA’s Summer Institute is a nationally recognized week of training for financial aid administrators.

23 apps were received this year. Exciting News …

… We were able to award 5 instead of 4 this year!!

And the winners are…

-Kathy Ramsey, Colby Community College

-Courtney Stensaas, Cloud County Community College

-Amanda McLaughlin, Kansas Wesleyan University

-Robin Adamson, Coffeyville Community College

-Crystal Raub, Washburn University


NASFAA presents the Student Aid Reference Desk

Verification? Loan eligibility? FAFSA simplification? Whatever you need, find the latest resources, legislation, and guidance — fast — with the Student Aid Reference Desk: https://bit.ly/3avGvJS #SArefdesk

  • The Student Aid Reference Desk — “Ref Desk,” for short — is a central hub of important financial aid regulations, legislation, and other key resources.
  • As Congress and the Department of Education continue to release guidance related to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever that the general public have access to this easily searchable, nonpartisan resource providing continuously updated expert data straight from the source.
  • The Ref Desk compiles resources related to the administration of student aid programs with direct links to federal regulation, legislative text, and Department of Education guidance, as well as interpretation and analysis from policy organizations, institutions, researchers, and groups focused on student access and success in higher education.

Erin Powers

Director of Marketing and Communications


Check In with KASFAA – Making Lemonade

Hi KASFAA Family!!!

We understand how hard it is to continue to live in a pandemic world. These lemons sure are sour. Let’s take a moment to add a little sweetness to our day and share some lemonade.

Let’s share!!

Please share with us your favorite mask…

Kristina shows off her favorite florals (Manhattan Christian College)

While Janet shares a message from the heart (University of Kansas)

No matter what your theme, we wanna see it!! Share in the comment section below.

What about your most used or favorite Zoom background …

Like Monica’s living room from Friends!!

It makes you wonder if Alexis is working from KU or from NYC.

No matter if you are still working from home or back in the office, share with us your silliest and sweetest co-workers…

Gail – still working from home – shares her work space with the most adorable Iris, Gus, and Lou. And while she can’t wait to get back to the office, you can’t deny the adorable perks of home (University of Kansas)

I too am still working from home and share my makeshift office space with some furry characters (Bonnie – University of Kansas)

Give us an office tour (On campus or at home) – Show us your favorite part of your work space…

Genae shares her team spirit (Manhattan Christian College)

Kristina’s very calming and organized space (Manhattan Christian College)

Alexis’ favorite part of her at home work space (University of Kansas)

Your turn!!! Share in the comments below or on our Facebook page. I can’t wait to see what sweet lemonade your lemons help create.

2021 Greetings from Abby and Darcy

Happy 2021!

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful, if different, holiday season full of joy, health, and relaxation. I know that I did not get near as much accomplished as I had planned during the last two weeks of the year, but just hanging out without a schedule for two weeks was glorious! Abby was also happy for all the extra cuddle time and developed a habit of riding on my shoulder. She will now sit and look up at you, waiting for you to squat down so she can jump up there. Then once you’re upright again, she lays down holding on to one shoulder with her paws.

It’s super cute, though a little painful for 9 pounds to be awkwardly placed on your neck.

At the end of 2020, I asked KASFAA members to share at least one positive experience they had during 2020. There were so many things that people were grateful for.

  • New babies and grandbabies
    • There were at least three new KASFAA babies and at least two new KASFAA grandbabies arrive in 2020
    • A new grandchild was acquired after the fun of COVID wedding planning
  • Family
    • More time for family
    • One parent with a college freshman and high school senior really appreciated the opportunity to have more (unexpected) time to spend with them at home
    • Forced stepping down from outside responsibilities that opened up a lot of time with their family that they’d been wishing for
    • Working from home allows people to see what their retired spouse does all day long
    • Children getting engaged
    • Children finishing degrees
    • Having parents move closer, as in next door
    • Cherished moments when there was an opportunity to see a friend or family member
  • Travel
    • Nature vacation with spouse
    • First vacation in 20 years of marriage!
    • Visiting grandbabies
    • Rediscovering nature
  • Health and Lifestyle
    • There have been several members who have had COVID in varying degrees of severity. All of them expressed gratitude that they survived it
    • Children (especially high-risk ones) avoiding COVID even when parents had it
    • Thankful that their lifestyle didn’t experience extreme changes due to pandemic living
    • Several members were thankful that they and their loved ones have remained healthy throughout the duration
    • Slowed down lifestyle
    • Opportunity to focus on healthy behaviors (yay for running again!)
    • Better hygiene habits
    • Forced rest periods
  • Work
    • Opportunity to move 1000 miles to take a new job that they love (welcome to KS!)
    • Getting to see people’s faces in virtual meetings instead of just having conference calls of old
    • Working from home provided insight that upcoming retirement won’t be so bad
    • Encouraged by the ingenuity, creativity, and versatility witness by so many in our community
  • Pets
    • Provided humorous moments during virtual meetings that was much needed
    • The pupper who was adopted at the end of 2019 that provided a reason to get up and moving and get outside, as well as lots of snuggles and mental/emotional support
    • Opportunity to spend more time at home with my aging cat (Would you believe Abby is almost 16?)

2020 was not a year full of rainbows and kittens. I know that many suffered losses, had family emergencies, and had to navigate working through those with new rules and safety guidelines to abide by. For some it was just a crap year (even disregarding the toilet paper shortage). For all of you, I’m wrapping you in extra (long-distance) hugs. However, one thing I know about FAAs, and Kansans, in particular, is that we’re a resilient bunch. I know that we will continue to bounce back, move forward, and lean on each other when we need support.

I was just getting ready to wish everyone a refreshed and positive 2021, and started getting texts from my friends about what is going on at the US Capitol (It’s January 6th that I’m writing this). So I’m just going to say this: now, more than ever we need to continue to work together, support each other, and love each other, no matter what.

I love my KASFAA family and I hope these positive outlooks can bring some hope to you. HUGS!

Darcy Johnson
KASFAA President

New adventures await, LeAnn!

A farewell and a congratulations goes out to LeAnn Ferguson.

Tomorrow, December 18th, will be her last day. Before she begins her new adventure, we thought we would ask her a few questions.

What is your current position and how long have you held this position?

I am currently an Administrative Associate in Financial Aid and Scholarships and have been in this position for 1 year and 2 months.

How long have you been in the financial aid/Higher Ed financial field?

9 years in financial aid, but 26 1/2 years at the University of Kansas.

What is one of your greatest memories in your career?

Working with so many great people and building some long term friendships.

What are some words of wisdom in this field?

Remain kind and helpful.

What will you do the first day you do not have to arrive at the office?

Kick back, relax and read!

Do you have any retirement goals?

Do what I want to do not what I have to do!  Spend quality time with my grandkids, kids, family and friends. 

What is your favorite quote?

“Life isn’t determined by the cards you were dealt but how you play your hand” – Isaac Breese

We wish you a very happy retirement filled with books, love, doing what you wanna do, grandkids, and everything you desire.

Check In with KASFAA – Mental Health Checks

We are taking a beat to check in.

Check in with KASFAA, with yourself, your co-workers, and your family and friends.

It is super important, especially now, to take a moment and connect with yourself and those around you. It can improve your self-esteem, reduce stress, ease anxiety, and more. You can do this in many ways.

In this space you will be able to share with our KASFAA family …

  1. You can ask questions to the group
  2. You can offer your best tips on healthy mental behaviors
  3. You can show your favorite yoga poses for mental stress relief and tell why it relieves that stress
  4. You can give us a playlist of the songs that calm you
  5. You can share a couple of your favorite (safe for work) jokes to make us laugh

Kristina (Association News & Publicity committee member) reached out to several of her coworkers for their thoughts and ideas and here is what they had to say 🙂

Exercise: Get out and move. Talk to friends. Do something for someone else. – Ron, Director of LIbrary Services at MCC

Eat as well as possible and stay active physically to help keep things in shape mentally. Also, as a Christian I cannot imagine this time without leaning on the Lord for His care and purpose. – Genae Denver, Alumni Director, MCC

Short “brain breaks” by saying a prayer, slow deep breathing and visualizing a happy place, a couple of minutes playing Gummy Drop on my phone. – Kristina Blanck, Financial Aid Processing Specialist, Manhattan Christian College

Make sure you feed yourself positive criticism.  The world is negative enough around  you, make sure you are encouraging yourself. – Kevin Foster, Admissions Counselor MCC

Kristina also had jokes to get you smiling!!

Why is Peter Pan always flying???  Because he Neverlands.  ( I love this joke because it never grows old).

My teachers told me I’d never amount to anything since I procrastinate so much….I told them, “Just you wait!” (to the tune of Hamilton)

We would love to see what you have to say. Add your mental health check behaviors in the comment section below. Can’t wait to see this conversation unfold.