Fond Memories and Well Wishes


When I started in Financial Aid, just over 20 years ago, I remember telling myself, I could do this job until I retire. As we all know the stressful times roll around, but I have always loved my job in Financial Aid. Early in my career I vividly remember attending a KASFAA conference, where I received a priceless piece of information. We process Financial Aid every day, but for many of our students and parents this is the first time they are hearing the process and what is needed. I have fallen back on that information many times.

Attending the KASFAA conferences has been a valuable experience, not only receiving Financial Aid information, but networking with other Financial Aid Administrators, who have always been more than willing to help in any situation.

Working in Financial Aid has given me strength, wisdom and fulfillment, knowing I could help students achieve their education goals, as well as working with and helping other Financial Aid Administrators.

I will sincerely miss being with my ‘working family’ every day. I have moved closer to my other family and will be helping them in areas where I am needed. I also plan to BAKE, a lot!

-Rhonda Baker

Farewell Rhonda! Here’s wishing you great times and tons of baking!!


Summer Institute 2019 – From Teacher to Ravenclaw

Sara Vancil our Past President taught at the 2019 Summer Institute. The theme was The Wizarding World of Financial Aid. Here is what she had to say:

Earlier in June, I had the pleasure of teaching at Summer Institute.  This was my sixth year to be involved, and I was lucky to be paired up with Bailey Jorgensen from Nebraska.  She was a rookie teacher but is a veteran in financial aid, and we made a great team.  We spent the week teaching a mid-level intermediate class, so folks who have been in aid for an average of 5-6 years.   The Wizarding World of Financial Aid theme meant classrooms were assigned houses, colors and subjects.  We were Ravenclaw Blue, and we spent the week in Snape’s dungeon learning to be potionmasters!

In our class of sixteen students, we had five amazing Kansans—Emily Engler and Jason Gilbert from Washburn University, Lynsey Stacy from WSU Tech, Cat Carpio from JCCC, and Christina Covey from WSU.  I thoroughly enjoyed both the time I spent this spring prepping to teach and the week in front of the class.  Our class had wit and wisdom and were true Ravenclaws!  I’m proud that KASFAA supports Summer Institute through its scholarship program and look forward to future involvement!

Take a look

Thank you so much Sara!!


Whatever Happened To…ep.3

Next in the series by

Keith Fitzsimmons, Cub Reporter, KASFAA Blog

After retiring in 2015, my husband and I moved to Great Bend, Kansas.  That location was NOT where we had planned to retire.  However, as Robbie’s youngest son pointed out, “You are getting older and need to move closer so we can help you in your old age”.    It made perfect sense…not the part where we were getting older…but the fact having 3 of our 4 children within a 30 mile range would be a plus.  As luck would have it, I had unexpected triple by-pass surgery in 2017 so it was nice to have my family close.  I’ve bounced back nicely.  I walk 2 miles a days, 3 times a week and eat healthier…well sometimes I eat healthier!

We’ve enjoyed “chasing” after grandchildren as they participate in academic and athletic activities.  We’ve enjoyed traveling to Yellowstone, Branson, Austin, Texas, Minnesota and everywhere in between.   We have 3 lakes within 1 ½ hours of our home so we have spent a great amount of time fishing which is something we both like to do.

When I count my blessings I am so very thankful for finding a career in financial aid!  While Facebook allows me to keep up with some of you, I do miss my “financial aid family” which includes KASFAA, RMASFAA, NASFAA and of course, ESU and the students I served, but I do not miss keeping up with all the Federal regulations and changes to the financial aid programs!

Connie Corcoran

Session Spotlight: Fiscal Officers

Sir Keith Fitzsimmons has played an instrumental role is securing presenters to ensure fiscal officers have a session to attend during every breakout. While these sessions were designed with the fiscal officer in mind, every conference session is open to both fiscal officers and financial aid officers.


State of Kansas Setoff Program Overivew

Rowing the Receivables Lifeboat with Fitzy & Stomp

Above & Beyond Customer Service Part 1

Above & Beyond Customer Service Part 2

Higher Education Best Practices

Credit Reporting & the National Consumer Assistance Plan

*Session descriptions will be posted in the Conference Program. Program will be available on the web next week.*

“Mr. Tanking” Goes to Washington

From: Tony Tanking

Some of you more “experienced” readers may get the reference to the 1939 Jimmy Stewart movie about the small town guy who takes on Washington DC, while others may not. It’s a good movie to watch.

I was honored to attend the NASFAA Leadership Conference in DC this week. Numerous great topics and I was very enlightened to responsibilities of the task ahead of me of serving KASFAA as your President beginning in April, which can be a bit intimidating.

The Conference provided me opportunity to visit Capitol Hill for the first time in my life. I met with Kansas 2nd District Congressman Steve Watkins, who currently serves on the Education Committee. Meeting with him was very important to our profession. He graciously took some time from a Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the Reauthorization of the HEA. I felt a good connection to him and his staff, and hope to be of support to his efforts on our behalf in the months to come.

I also got a comforting surprise. I thought I’d be going to DC not knowing anyone. This would be a great opportunity to create new friendships. Upon arriving, I ran into a number of friends I have from both KASFAA and RMASFAA, even another Tony (Lubbers was there!). Immediately I was at ease and it made the experience all the more wonderful. A special Thank You to our incoming NASFAA Chair, Brenda Hicks, for showing me around Capitol Hill and letting me sit in on your meeting with Congressman Ron Estes.

You’ve heard it once, and you’ll hear it many times again…getting involved in your organization is a wonderful way to make lifelong friends. Don’t pass up the opportunity! See you all at the Conference in Lawrence.


An ESU Farewell: Jule Kirk

From: Darcy Johnson

After 32 years at Emporia State University (30 of those in financial aid), Jule Kirk is hanging up her FA hat as of Thursday, February 28th. I had an opportunity to sit down with Jule as she was cleaning out her office to share with you her favorite memories and future plans.

When asked what her favorite memory of the office was she replied, “ the best experience is helping those students who are really struggling and get them on the right track.” It’s also very rewarding when those students come back to say thank you down the road. She also commented that she has been blessed to be surrounded with great co-workers that are more like family.

As the conversation turned to KASFAA, Jule once again commented on the love for her financial aid family. One of her favorite memories was when the ESU office created a video for Wilma Kasnic’s (then ESU Director of Financial Aid) birthday and showed it at a KASFAA conference. With love, they highlighted some of Wilma’s idiosyncrasies, including when she fell out of her chair while talking with an upset mother, stayed on the floor, and just kept talking. Jule has served on the Membership and Conference Planning committees, but the committee work most near and dear to her was the work she did with College Goal Sunday. She enjoyed working with all KASFAA members, but her work with Kathy Blau and Gary Bateman stands out as quality time.

Jule has many plans after retirement. Most of them including being Full Time MomR (see picture). MomR was a title created by her oldest grandson, and one that she holds close to her heart. In fact, it’s much preferred over Grandma! Jule’s dedication to her family was evident as joy exploded from her face as she talked about the plans to spend more time with them. Jule has three sons, Tell, Tyrel, and Daniel; and considers their spouses, Jessica, Emily, and David her children as well. She’s blessed to have one of her boys here in Emporia, and gets to see her two grandsons quite often. The other two are out of state, in Florida and Georgia. She has three granddaughters in Florida, and many granddogs across the country! Travel is definitely at the top of her list so she can see her out of state kids more often.

Jule will also be saddle buddy to her husband Kim, who retired last year. Her mom is currently in assisted living, so she’s happy to have more time to spend with her and taking care of her. Self-care will include gardening (where she won’t have to race to get ready for work after watering the plants), sitting and reading in her egg basket swing chair (a retirement gift from Kim) on their deck, and traveling a mere seven minutes from her home to her kids’ home on a lake to enjoy the most peaceful reading spot in the world.

Jule’s bucket list includes going to New York to experience Broadway with her son, Daniel, driving through the Northeast with Kim during peak fall foliage season, and possibly visit a few Civil War battlefields along the way (one of Kim’s passion).

Jule’s final thoughts: “Financial Aid is a special place to work. The people who get in to financial aid stay for the long haul because, while it’s very hard work, it’s also an incredibly rewarding career.” Once again she is especially thankful for the blessing of all the wonderful people with whom she’s had the opportunity to work alongside over the last 30 years.

Anyone who would like to stay in touch with Jule after retirement can reach her at