President’s Blog


Last week, I represented the state of Kansas at the RMASFAA board winter meeting in Denver, Colorado.  Some of you may have seen pictures of this event on Facebook. 

The meeting was extremely productive and I felt very proud of the sunflower state as I sat around the table.  In particular, you can be especially proud of Donna Carter from Wichita State University who is representing the state very well as the current RMASFAA Treasurer.  We all know how terrific Donna is here – it’s nice to see other people noticing her and her talents as well.

Another one of our members was lifted up during committee reports.  The conference committee announced that Tony Lubbers from Friends University has been selected as a keynote speaker for the 2016 RMASFAA Conference that will be held this year in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Some of you may have heard Tony give his speech on Presidents at the KASFAA conference.  I understand that he will be doing something similar – but not exactly the same for RMASFAA.  It is nice of Tony to share his talents and historical knowledge with us!  Thank you, Tony, for representing KASFAA in this important way.

Our very own Robb Cummings from Sallie Mae was also present in the meeting representing the Associate sector.  (We sat together and tried very hard not to cause too much trouble – unsure how well we succeeded.)

RMASFAA, like KASFAA and many other non-profit associations, is evaluating how it does business in today’s world.  Watch for important news concerning officer duties and changes as a result of great discussions around the table about more efficient use of resources and shifts in duties that will help RMASFAA meet the recommendations of its auditors.  *New compliance tool rolling out this year.    Art reported on his experience sitting on the NASFAA board and announced that NASFAA is in the process of creating another really cool tool (think AskRegs) for the membership that will be unveiled at the 50th Anniversary Celebration!  I personally can’t wait for this one.

Other Kansan’s who are participating in RMASFAA in meaningful ways are:  Aimee Campbell from Southwestern College who just agreed to be the Kansas representative on the Association News committee, Christal Williams from Johnson County who is participating on the Conference Program sub-committee, LaLisa Coley from Hutchinson Community College and Sheelu Surender from Wichita State University who are participating on the Diversity & Multi-Cultural Initiatives committee, Russ McBee from Dodge City Community College and Macklin Schwartz from Emporia State University who are on the Electronic Initiatives committee – Russ is serving as the chair this year, Brandon Winters from Manhattan Christian College who is serving on the Membership committee, and Lois Madsen from Kansas Wesleyan University, Sara Vancil from the University of Kansas and Angie Zoerlin from Wichita State University who are on the Summer Institute committee – Sara is serving as Faculty Dean and Lois is also serving on the Training committee.  (If I have forgotten your name – please let me know.)

It is nice to see Kansas active and alive in the programming of RMASFAA!

Winter Board Meeting


The KASFAA board met for their winter meeting on Leap Day in Wichita on the Southwestern College Professional Studies campus.  KASFAA is an organization that is in the process of re-imagining itself.  I can tell you that I am extremely proud of the work of the leadership and their committees this year!  We are definitely moving forward and making progress!

 Items of Note: 

2016 KASFAA Spring Conference

Registration is now open for KASFAA Forever Royal in Manhattan, Kansas!  The event will be held April 20-22 and promises to be another fabulous and valuable two days.  Along with the standard favorites, Megan McClean from NASFAA and the Department of Education trainer will be there and plans are on the table to discuss prior-prior year as well as the Perkins program – we hope you can attend!

Also going strong is the new website that has been cataloguing the FAFSA completion events and FAFSA informational events that are occurring around the state.  Together our individual financial aid offices have been working hard to serve many students around the state.  It is something for us all to be proud of!  This effort replaces College Goal Sunday for the current year while the national College Goal Sunday folks reorganize themselves and decide what their focus will be for the future.  Look for more to develop in this area in the future.  A big think you to Linda and her group for their efforts in this area.

Online KASFAA Fact Poster

Make sure that you check out the location and design of the new KASFAA ONLINE Fact Poster.  The link is listed on the High School page under the Scholarship & Financial Aid Resources heading.  This has been a two year project of this committee – started by Shannon Davis from Seward County Community College and her committee and headed by Stephannie DeLong from Southwestern and the 2015-2016 Publicity and Awareness committee this year.  The poster contains links directly to the financial aid websites for important contact and financial information.  I’m sure this committee would welcome your feedback on this effort.  Help me congratulate them on taking on a lengthy project and doing an excellent job to get it finished!

Training Committee

The training committee presented a plan to reimagine the delivery of high school counselor training in 16-17.  This committee begins their work right away after the April conference so it was important to get a plan nailed down as soon as possible.  Next year we will be scaling back on individual events and collaborating with the Kansas Counselor’s Association to touch as many counselors as possible.  The group will also be piloting a recorded training session that will be available for counselor’s to watch at any time on our website.  Big thank you to Lois Madsen from Kansas Wesleyan University for spearheading the “thinking outside the box” for KASFAA in this critical area.

2015-2018 KASFAA SLRP

The board adopted slightly updated objectives and are in the process of creating goals to help carry our work into the 2018 year and forward.  New objectives designed to give the board permission to evaluate itself and the KASFAA structure for efficiency as well as to maximize volunteer effort were added.  The board hopes to finalize the goals and have them published shortly following the April meeting.  KASFAA is working hard to ensure its success well into the future by building on important foundational documents that have been put into place by forward-thinkers from our past.

I could go on about the good things that are happening in the KASFAA organization.  I cannot stress enough what a pleasure it has been this year to work with outstanding people on the good work that KASFAA does.  This organization is strong, focused on serving students to the best of our ability and tirelessly working to ensure that important KASFAA programs are a success!  Thank you all for the opportunity to serve as your President.

Brenda Hicks

President, KASFAA

DMCI Scholarships

DON’T MISS OUT . . . . DMCI Scholarships!

The RMASFAA Diversity and Multicultural Initiatives (DMCI) Scholarship is available on the RMASFAA website!

The scholarship is to assist RMASFAA members with costs to attend either the RMASFAA Summer Institute or the RMASFAA Annual Conference.

Whether you want to attend RMASFAA Summer Institute in the historic city of Golden, CO (June 12 – 17) or attend the RMASFAA Annual Conference in beautiful Rapid City, SD (October 23-26), submit the application before the deadline!

The deadline to submit the application is April 1, 2016.

The scholarship is intended primarily for underrepresented communities, although, please do not hesitate to apply should you be interested in advocating for the mission of the DMCI Committee.

You will find the scholarship application on the RMASFAA website under “Online Forms”.  Below is the link to the application:

2016 DMCI Scholarship Application

Note:  You must be a current member to be considered for the scholarship, so please make certain that your payment is current.

If you have difficulty with the application process, please contact Nicole Casey at

Financial Aid Awareness Month

Sheelu Surrender and Julie Scott are all over the news and on NPR, financial aid administrators are out in communities helping people complete the FAFSA….it must be Financial Aid Awareness month! 

In December, a group of KASFAAns went to Topeka to spend a little time with the governer signing a proclamation to make it so.  It reads:


WHEREAS, financial aid programs provide valuable funds to assist students in the costs of post-secondary education, without which many students would be unable to continue their education; and

WHEREAS, Kansas is blessed to have many institutions of postsecondary education serving the citizens of this state, allowing them to pursue higher education which is the key to the development of individual skills and knowledge which are ultimately invaluable to both the individual and the state, as those who have benefitted from financial aid over the years are now repaying the state through their talents, services and increased tax revenues; and 

WHEREAS, the annual observance of Financial Aid Awareness Month raises public awareness of the various types of aid available to help students and families afford higher education; and

WHEREAS, the Kansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators stands ready to assist every student in need of help or information

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sam Brownback, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF KANSAS, do hereby proclaim February of 2016, as 


in Kansas and urge all citizens and prospective Kansas postsecondary students to contact the postsecondary schools of their choice to learn how financial aid can complement their plans for further education so they may have the opportunity to further their education in Kansas.

Happy Celebrating KASFAA!

Brenda Hicks


Financial Aid Awareness Month 2015

Kansas Proclamation

Awards Committee Members

The Awards Committee consists of members:

 Lacey Ledwich, Chair

La’Lisa Coley, Co-Chair

Angela Ashmore

Brooke Bramlett

Snow Havlik

Becca Page

Stephanie Swezey

We have collected nominations for the KASFAA Awards and they will be voted on by the Board at the winter board meeting.

At the Spring Conference we will be presenting the following awards: Year of Service, Retirement Recognition, the Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award, Meritorious Achievement Award, and Hall of Fame Award.

Our committee will begin collaborating via conference calls in February to start writing the script for this year’s ceremony.  

-Lacey Ledwich, Awards Committee Chair

Volunteering for KASFAA

I began my career in financial aid in May 2007 after spending time in admissions and career services. It was a great decision, and I love what I do here at the University of Kansas!

One of the great things about working in financial aid here in Kansas is that we get a chance to be a part of KASFAA. Our association is active, engaged, and relevant. It is a way for us as financial aid administrators to stay connected to one another, to get ongoing and dynamic training and to advocate for our students.

In addition, KASFAA provides us an opportunity to develop leadership, communication and teamwork skills through volunteering. It can be a way to start involvement in our profession before moving on to roles in our regional and national associations. Or volunteering in KASFAA can be an end goal in itself, providing our time and energy first and foremost to our local, state organization.Volunteered happier

I started volunteering with KASFAA by being a committee member. I was a part of the Welcome committee and the Publicity & Awareness committee. I got to know a little more about the association and contributed to those committees in a way that did not require a huge time commitment. I was able to provide my ideas and input to the committee chairs, which felt rewarding.

My next level of involvement was getting involved in the Training committee, specifically with the High School Counselor trainings that this committee organizes. I participated on the team for two years and presented at three trainings in Fall 2012 and three in Fall 2013. Being involved on this committee required more of a time and energy commitment than previous committees but it also was focused all in the fall semester. I loved being able to travel to interact with counselors in the state and provide them with vital financial aid training.

I then stepped up to a committee chair role, leading the Publicity & Awareness committee for a year. Being a committee chair helped me to improve on my delegation skills as well as my leadership skills. I think running that committee was my first opportunity to run a meeting via conference call. Sounds silly, but it’s an important skill!Star Trek

In 2014, I took the plunge and agreed to run for Vice President. The VP of KASFAA is responsible for planning the program for both the fall training and the spring conference. That person works with the President-Elect to put on two high-quality training opportunities for our members—a very important responsibility! This position gave me a chance to put my organizational skills and attention to detail to work. I am proud of the program I put together for the Dodge City and Wichita conferences last year.

Finally, this year I am serving as Secretary of KASFAA. This role is more laid-back but is still a critical member of the KASFAA board. I keep the minutes from our Board and Business Meetings up-to-date on our website and serve as a voting member of the board as we make decisions about the future of the association.

I want to encourage everyone in KASFAA to get involved in whatever way suits you best. I challenge you to get involved on some level! You can serve on a committee that fits your skills, interests and available time. Please review the committee and officer list at If you want to give even more time and energy to KASFAA, consider running for an officer position at some point!Elf

You can submit our Volunteer Form at The next Volunteer cycle would be April 2016 – April 2017 so start talking to your supervisor about your intention to volunteer next year. Put it in your annual evaluation that you will get involved in our association!

Debbie Brewer, our current President-Elect, will be collecting these volunteer forms to fill next year’s committees.   If you’re interested in running for an officer position, please let Brenda Hicks, our current President, know of your interest. Brenda will be filling the slate next summer for an election that would choose new officers for the April 2017 – April 2018 year.

Happy Volunteering!

Sara Vancil
University of Kansas