Diana’s Virtual trip to NASFAA

As many of us know, this year’s NASFAA Conference was a little different with members participating in its first virtual version of the event.  Our own KASFAA Commander-in-Chief, Diana VanDyke, had an even more unique experience with the annual conference and has taken the time to share her perspective with us.  Read on to hear our President’s takeaways from the conference in her own words:

I was able to attend most of the NASFAA On-line Virtual Conference while I was also competing at Pinto World in Tulsa, OK.  Many of the sessions I attended in the stall barn sitting in front of the horse stalls.  Dream Racer was bored with the entire process but Cookie Monster was fascinated with the voices coming out of the box in my lap! 

I was able to sit in on Working to Eliminate Bias in Aid Administration, How Campuses Are Changing Post-Pandemic, The Intersection of Financial Aid & Financial Wellness Education, NSLDS Reporting & the National Student Clearinghouse, Effective Communication Tools in Critical Conversations, Pell for Incarcerated Students, Competency-Based Education: What’s Best For Your Institution, Ensuring Equity & Access Across All Underserved Student Profiles, Department of Ed Session & 20-21 Reflections, and Passing the Gavel & Where We’re Headed on Public Policy.

As an overall overview of the sessions I can say I was able to pick up a few ideas from the presenters and felt strongly that a lot of the presented material that was already implemented was already being handled correctly at our institutions.  Competency Based Education definitely brought on a groan. I felt like I would need more clarifying information BUT I was not able to stay for the Q & A on this one.  I would strongly encourage anyone that will possibly be dealing with incarcerated students to check out that recording of the Pell for Incarcerated Student session.  I felt like the presenters were able to clarify some of the ideas that I had felt fuzzy on prior to the session.  Not something that I would be dealing with very much on my campus so it may be redundant to someone that is already prepared in this area.  I agreed with many of the concepts in Post-Pandemic, Communication Tools, and the equity discussions but feel that our campuses are already handling these issues adequately. 

I appreciated the opportunity to attend the conference and even though the change in venue and dates made it a bit challenging, I am glad I was able to attend the sessions.  I really enjoyed the Tuesday night entertainment with Felix and Fingers Dueling Pianos and wish that was something we could bring to our conference.  We may have to look into that and see if it is in the budget!

There are so many sessions to check out, it’s near impossible to catch them all.  Luckily for us, recordings of the original sessions are currently available to all registered attendees so you can sit in on the topics that you may have missed the first time around: https://www.nasfaa.org/conference

While we are still facing some unknowns in regards to the in-person vs. virtual future of our beloved conferences and events, it is reassuring to know that NASFAA’s content was as enlightening as usual despite the circumstances and that us Financial Aid Administrators are still a fun bunch!  I’m sure we are all hopeful that next June we can congregate again in Austin, Texas for the 2022 NASFAA Conference.

Courtney Stensaas

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