By Brenda Hicks, Chair Government Relations Committee
<Queue Music> PROSPER Act: I’m just a bill, I am only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill….
One of the things I love about being in financial aid is that I get to use the skills I learned as a child on Saturday morning sitting in my pajamas eating Cheerios and watching School House Rock films during the breaks between episodes of Bugs Bunny and Mighty Isis.
For those of you too young to remember these wonderful little educational videos – allow this link to YouTube to catch you up to speed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyeJ55o3El0 …and once you are done with that you should definitely seek out the updated version sung by Deluxx Folk Implosion along with Blind Melon’s “Three is a Magic Number” and Skee-Lo’s “The Tale of Mr. Morton’” all released on the 1996 tribute album Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks. “Mr. Morton is the subject of a sentence, what the predicate says he does…..”
But I digress.
Bottom line, during periods of Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (which doesn’t happen all that often), things can get a little confusing. You will begin to hear about things that are “in discussion only” either because they are part of a proposal for a bill or because they are things that people are lobbying to get into the final version of the bill. It is important to remember during ALL of these moments that a bill is just that….a bill. It is not considered law (and therefore something you need to implement) until President Trump signs something. Dear friends, we have a long way to go before that happens.
What you can and should do during these moments is stay in the conversation and let your voice be heard. How can our representatives in Washington do their job well if the people they are representing remain silent? Remember that YOU ARE AN EXPERT in the field of financial aid. You are also an advocate for the students you serve. If you can lend your college’s support in your remarks – do it (but get permission first). If you want to just speak as just you, private American citizen, speak without mentioning who you work for. But speak.
This public service announcement has been brought to you by the KASFAA Government Relations Committee.
By: Debbie Brewer
RMASFAA (Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) was held in Wichita October 15-18, 2017. It was a wonderful conference with amazing training and networking opportunities. At the awards banquet, several of our KASFAA members were recognized for their efforts.
Ashley Jost (Johnson County Community College) was presented with the Oscar R “Jack” Hendrix Award. This is previously the Rookie of the Year award.
Myra Pfannenstiel (Newman University) was presented with the Ron Smout Award for Teaching and Mentoring.
Stephanie Covington (University of Kansas) was presented with the RMASFAA Distinguished Service Award.
Congratulations to all of our wonderful KASFAA members for representing Kansas at the regional level!!!!!
By: Nathan Buche, KASFAA President
Before the update of a couple of items I wanted to thank Kansas for successfully representing our State at RMASFAA in October as it was great to walk around and run into many colleagues. I want to take this opportunity to update everyone on the happenings of what has been going on in KASFAA. We have had 2 successful board meetings where we have accomplished a lot and worked on many projects.
Some of the projects we have undertaken are re-evaluation of financial policies and process and the development of a Drive through training process. 1st, we have met with a financial consultant that helped us to better understand what we needed as an association in regards to firming up policies and developing new policies and process. Going forward one of the recommendations was to develop succession planning in our treasurer and finance committee. So starting the fall of 18 we will be electing a treasurer elect that would then become a treasurer and then finance committee chair. We felt this would be help with continuity and the management of our funds.
Our 2nd major plan we have under taken is the development of the Drive Through Training model. Many states around Kansas have gone to this model of training from a 2 conference scenario. We understand that budgets are getting smaller and there are less dollars going around in order to send offices to the 2 trainings. The drive through training will be based off of the NASFAA U Credentialing that is available. We will have multiple sites throughout the state were your office can receive training and have some networking. We will pick topics based on availability of trainers and site locations, we do plan to charge a nominal fee in order to participate but this cost will not be near what you would have paid to attend a fall conference which normally was in the $75 range per person. You may now be looking at sending 2-3 to a training for that $75 and saving costs by not having hotel expenses. We would anticipate that these trainings would take anywhere from 4-6 possible 7 hours to complete. After training you would take the credentialing test at no extra cost. This also will allow us to go to sites we may not have been able to go to in the past due to hotel availability or needing many rooms in order to put on trainings. I will put this out for my friends out West and those in the Southeast please make plans to try to host a training.
I know the ending of the fall conference will have many mixed emotions from our dedicated and loyal members but I feel this is the best way going to forward to get the most members involved while also giving your strained budgets a break and the “how am I going to send everyone” to conference. The Executive Board did reach out and survey the membership and we had a lot of positive feedback to move to this training method. I know the board would have preferred to survey every member we have but with 7 Executive members and our time limited as it was we did survey about 80 people and made the conclusion to move forward with this change.
In the very near future if you have not already, you will hear from Sara Vancil our President Elect and she is soliciting information from the membership as we move forward with the next SLRP, Strategic Long Range Plan. The board greatly wants all members input about where you think we need to go moving forward to 2022. Please take the time to give some serious thought to our SLRP and help the board shape the future of your organization.
I would like to thank you all for allowing me to serve as your President this year and look forward to the next 6 months as we begin working to Spring Conference and hope to see everyone in Overland Park.
Written by Summer Bond, SI Scholarship Recipient
The jungle was definitely alive at the 2017 RMASFAA Summer Institute that took place June 11-16, 2017 at Colorado School of the Mines in Golden, CO. There was a lot learned, some competition, and all done with a sense of fun and comradery. The coordinators of the event knew how to use a theme as each group was divided into different animal/color groups by knowledge and career aspirations.
It was my pleasure to be part of the Toucans/Orange group and Jeffrey Jacobs, Director Financial and Scholarships at North Dakota State University, and Laurie Weber, Financial Aid Director at Minot State University led our training throughout the week. We covered many topics that included Student Eligibility, Verification, and Cost of Attendance.
Each group had two NASFAA credentialing opportunities and in my group, the credentialing for Need Analysis and Professional Judgment were offered. The conversation that surrounded all the topics were very engaging, but I found the discussion that surrounded the “What Directors Do/Leadership” topic to be of great interest. Our discussion leaders were very giving as they shared what they had learned throughout their years of experience, having dealt with many different types of individuals throughout their careers.
The RMASFAA Summer Institute was a great experience. Staying in the dorms brought back memories of my own undergraduate days. I cannot thank KASFAA enough for allowing me the opportunity to attend this event under the Summer Institute Scholarship and would like to encourage individuals to attend if they have the opportunity. You will not be disappointed.
We are proud to be partnering with Wichita, Kansas based organization ICT SOS at RMASFAA 2017…
And We Need Your Help!
ICT SOS (www.ictsos.org) seeks to end domestic sex trafficking through prevention efforts and acts as a liaison between volunteers and the professional organizations who work with at-risk and trafficked youth to create a community that is educated, empowered, and equipped to take action for local impact.
How Can You Help While at the RMASFAA Conference?
- Provide items for the Fresh Start Bags. It may be a challenge for those traveling to pack a full Fresh Start Bag. ICT SOS has made the following recommendations regarding donations:
- Do not donate toiletries and hygiene products. They currently have a very large supply of these items.
- The most-needed clothing items are sweatpants and hoodies for teen boys and girls. They ask that you provide new items. This sends a message that the receiver is WORTH nice, new things.
- If your office would like to go together to build a full Fresh Start Bag, please note the guidelines listed HERE.
- Provide items for tattoo removal/cover-up. Specifically, they request the following:
- Unscented lotion
- Aquaphor and/or A&D Ointment
- Liquid antibacterial soap
- Smaller drawstring type backpack
- Provide cash donations. Cash is king! It travels easily and it allows ICT SOS to purchase the items most-needed for the Fresh Start Bags. You may donate cash on-site at the conference (donation receipts will be available) or offer checks made payable directly to ICT SOS.
When making your packing list for the RMASFAA Conference, don’t forget to include ICT SOS! Thank you for helping us make a difference for this very worthy organization.
If you have any questions about the philanthropy project, please contact Robb Cummings, Philanthropy Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-228-9910.
See you in a few weeks in Wichita!
Find more info on the attached document or online: http://rmasfaa.org/docs/conferences/2017/project.html
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KASFAA Association Governance
By: Brenda Hicks
October 1 is nearly upon us and with it comes the opening of the 2018-2019 FAFSA! There are TWO tweaks to this year’s process:
- Due to increased security measures surrounding the exchange of data between IRS and ED, families who use the IRS Data Retrieval tool will not be able to see data they transfer from IRS. Any data that is transferred will be masked on the SAR and on the FAFSA screens. The ISIR, however, will be unchanged to allow schools to verify the information submitted by the student during professional judgment decisions.
- Institutions are reminded that they are prohibited from releasing FAFSA data unless the release is for one of the specific purposes permitted by law, even with the student’s written authorization. In other words, no sharing of an individual’s FAFSA data unless the sharing is for the purpose of application, award and administration of federal, state or institutional student aid programs.
NASFAA is recommending that institutions examine their FERPA and FAFSA data sharing procedures and shore them up. Why?
The financial aid community expects an increase in the amount of calls from students and families asking about the information that was transferred from IRS which they will not be able to see. Each institution needs to make sure everyone is clear about what can be shared over the phone and in person to whom and the procedures institutions are using to identify that the individuals being spoken to are who they say they are.
Institutions are also reminded that sharing FAFSA data with private scholarship providers is not permissible under these regulations because the release of information is not related to federal, state, or institutional aid. A Today’s News article from September 13, 2017 dealt with this particular sticky wicket. Institutions are not able to share even if there is a signed statement from the student on the form authorizing the release of information.
Note that the privacy guidance is, at this point, primarily verbal. As the NASFAA article indicates, “It is still undetermined when and how PTAC will release the guidance formally.”