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Feedback from a Summer Institute Participant

July 17, 2014

I attended Summer Institute last month, and was lucky enough to have been placed in James and Mary’s class. Summer Institute was easily the best professional development experience I’ve had while working in financial aid. Starting with the NASFAA CORE materials, but mostly through the guided discussion led by James and Mary. They both obviously have a deep and thorough knowledge base regarding a wide variety of financial aid topics, but that only goes so far. Their ability to work together, as well as involve the whole class, was fantastic. I didn’t just learn from them, I learned something from every member of that class, and I think that’s just amazing.

Beyond the instruction, I was very impressed with the coordination and level of camaraderie shown in Summer Institute. I went there not knowing a soul, but left with several new friends.

Not being from a RMASFAA school, I kind of expected to feel like an outsider during the week.
That lasted until Monday morning, and only because I arrived late on Sunday. I felt very welcomed and never slighted in the least. That really demonstrates the high level of community that takes place at Summer Institute.

I wanted to thank you all for the opportunity to attend and become a better financial aid administrator.  Again, thanks, and congratulations on what’s been built by RMASFAA.
It’s a wonderful thing.

Daniel Dick
Quality Assurance Specialist
Saint Louis University
Office of Student Financial Services
One Grand Boulevard
DuBourg Hall, Room 121

BREAKING NEWS!!! RMASFAA Leadership Pipeline Deadline Extended!

July 17, 2014

The Leadership Pipeline Committee has received several requests to extend the application deadline to accommodate busy travel and work schedules.  The Committee has agreed to extend the deadline to Thursday, July 31st, 2014.  Interested individuals click the link below to apply!

Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award spotlight – Amy Capps

July 14, 2014
photo Amy C

Like many others, I pretty much fell into the Financial Aid career path. I was a recent college graduate working for the University of South Carolina Admissions office when I decided it was time to move back to Utah. I saw an open position for a Financial Aid Counselor at the University of Utah and hesitantly applied for it, since those financial aid folk have somewhat of a reputation. My boss at the time told me that in order to go anywhere in Student Services, I needed both Admissions and Financial Aid Experience. Fortunately for me, I got the job, travelled across the country, and got shipped off to Colorado Springs for Summer Institute on my first day. Talk about learning financial aid through a fire hydrant. But, clearly it didn’t scare me away so I guess I was meant to be here.

I worked for the University of Utah Financial Aid office as a counselor for a year or so, and then was promoted to the Loan Program Manager. Around that time our current director, Kent Larson, approached me to serve as chair of the RMASFAA conference. I had already expressed an interest to get involved outside of the office, but honestly I didn’t know what I had committed myself to do. However, serving as Chair of the 2006 RMASFAA conference was the best decision I ever made. It opened the doors for me to participate in so many other positions within RMASFAA including Summer Institute chair, to serve as President of UASFAA and I’m currently serving on the NASFAA Conference Committee. Within the office, I eventually was promoted to Assistant Director of Operations, and am currently serving as Assistant Director of Counseling. I’ve been in the office just over 14 years and have truly appreciated my experiences here.

The most rewarding part of being involved at any level is the amazing friendships you make with other people. Some of my most trusted friends I have met through my involvement with RMASFAA. It’s great to get to know how other people in the financial aid world do things differently and know who you can go to for help or advice. I would encourage any new professional to get involved whether it is as a committee member at the state level or even taking on a chair position at the state, regional or national level. Every opportunity I have had to serve in these associations has provided me with more rewarding experiences in return than I ever could have imagined.

Amy received the Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award in 2006.

Leadership Pipeline applications are due Friday, July 11th 2014

July 7, 2014

In honor of the final season of The Late Show with David Letterman and as a reminder that Leadership Pipeline applications are due this Friday, July 11th 2014, please enjoy the following:

Top Ten Reasons to Apply for Leadership Pipeline…..

10.  You still have space to fill in your bookcase

09.  You finally get to use Windows 7 to its fullest potential

08.  The Crazy Comic Book Lady at Summer Institute told you to

07.  Who doesn’t love saying “RMASFAA”

06.  More financial aid hugging opportunities

05.  More conference calls and meetings

04.  You are more passionate about financial aid than you are about ice cream

03.  You want to be a director so you can close your door

02.  It gives you an opportunity to let your boss know that you are gunning for his/her job

And the number one reason to apply for Leadership Pipeline…..

  1. You just can’t wait to serve on the RMASFAA Board of Directors!!!!

Follow this link to apply:

July 7, 2014
SFS Staff with Dr Alvarez

Dr. Timothy Alvarez, Vice President for Student Affairs, wanted a photo of himself and the student financial services staff as he is new to North Dakota State University.  The picture includes Dr. Alvarez and approximately half of the NDSU student financial services staff.  Dr. Alvarez most recently position, before coming to NDSU, was at the University of Nebraska.  As you can see by the photo – Dr. Alvarez encourages all males to wear a bowtie on Thursdays.   

Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award spotlight – Janet Riis

June 23, 2014


Janet Riis, Director of Financial Aid – Carroll College, Helena, MT
Janet received the Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award in 2003.

Our stories are all varied on how we began our financial aid career.  My story began as a naive college graduate, applying for my first job as a Customer Assistance Representative at the Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program.  Meg Foutch said I was so nervous I was shaking.  She decided if I wanted the job that badly they just had to hire me.  A year later I joined the counseling team in the Financial Aid Office at my alma mater, Carroll College.  Twenty years later I am still happy with my acceptance of that first job offer!  I am the Director of Financial Aid and happy to live in Helena, MT.

At my first state conference my co-worker convinced me to sumo wrestle Jennifer Almli.  You know – those huge plastic stinky suits you put on and attempt to walk in.  That was how I introduced myself to my new state association.  I became fast friends with so many colleagues over the years and jumped at the chance to get involved.  It just took someone believing in me for me to accept duties on our MASFAA Board.  My first RMASFAA conference was held in Whitefish, MT.  After that conference I wanted to branch out so when colleagues asked me to co-chair the next Montana hosted RMASFAA conference in Big Sky I said yes!  The Board cut our budget many times but we still had a great conference.  Those first steps in RMASFAA lead me to various other Board of Director, Summer Institute and committee positions. 

I’ve met so many great people from our eight state region.  The connections I have made have helped me personally and professionally.  It is nice to know if I have questions I can reach out to colleagues across the nation!

Some days when you feel like the ever changing federal regulation world is getting you down the only thing that can lift you up are the friends you have in our associations.  They are the ones who truly understand.  Go to trainings, volunteer for committees, run for an office or just reach out to someone and tell them “I think you have a lot to offer the association!”





2014-15 Election Results

June 17, 2014

Thanks to everyone who voted in the RMASFAA officer elections for 2014-15. The results are now official! Your new RMASFAA board members who will begin their term of service in October are:

  • President-Elect–Joe Donlay, Colorado State University
  • Vice-President–Tony Lubbers, Friends University (KS)
  • Secretary–Julie Watson, Montana State University-Bozeman
  • Associate Member Delegate–Michael Amaloo, Socle Education (CO)

Thanks to everyone who participated for their willingness to volunteer and Congratulations to our winners!