To Train or Not To Train – Is It Even a Question?

By Aimee Campbell

In the ever changing world of financial aid, training is very important.  I am not convinced there isn’t a secret group at DOE that dreams up these changes year after year to keep us on our toes.  Just think of all the changes that DOE has implemented over the years… addition (and take away) of year round Pell, sequestration, no more subsidized loans for graduate students and PPY (can I get an Amen for that!) just to name a few.


In the name of training, I have complied a list of training opportunities for you to consider (some of these do have membership requirements)

  • RMASFAA Summer Institute. Spend a week learning the ins and outs of financial aid.  There are different tracks depending on your level of experience.  Class size is kept small and taught by two faculty who are well established in financial aid. You will work through sixteen different topics using the NASFAA University curriculum.
  • NASFAA University curriculum. You can purchase for the different subject areas a la cart.  Complete the self study guides and take the certification exam at your own pace.
  • There are conferences at the National, Regional and State levels you can attend throughout the year.
  • Webinars are offered through Department of Education and NASFAA.


Are you excited for training, but need something a little more budget friendly, like free?  Don’t worry, you have plenty of options that fall into that category as well!

  • Reading IFAP Handbook is a lot like curling up with your favorite financial aid book on a rainy day.  Break that bad boy out and read up on everything you would want to know about financial aid!
  • FSA Training. You can view all their archived materials. Just keep in mind the information was current at the time of posting and (of course) things might have changed.
  • Dear Colleague Letters. These are also archived for your enjoyment.  You can also find announcements made by FSA.
  • Federal Student Aid also has FSA Coach. You can chose your level of training from Basic to Intermediate to Advance.
  • Self-Assessment Guides from FSA are also a great tool.


Now that you are all excited about financial aid training, get out there and get started.  Do something each month, even each week, to keep up to date on the changes that are happening.  Telling your auditor “I didn’t know that” is not going to get you out of trouble.


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