I earned my degree from University of Missouri –Columbia in Accounting. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon graduation, I worked in public accounting for a few years in St. Louis and then moved to Kansas City and worked as the manager of the business office at Johnson County Community College. I left there to move back to St. Louis and then ended up back in Kansas. At that time, I was hired in the financial aid department at JCCC with no financial aid experience. My first experience with RMASFAA was Summer Institute in Colorado Springs in 1998 after I had been in financial aid for 4 weeks. Wow was it an experience! I was amazed at the knowledge and professionalism of the people I met. I remember being exhausted at the end of the week because of information overload, too much fun and too many names and acronyms.
My experience at Summer Institute sparked my career in financial aid. I got involved in KASFAA as a chair and/or a member of several committees over the first few years in financial aid. I attended KASFAA and RMASFAA conferences each year and I learned so much from the training and from the people that I met. In 2006, I was approached by Elaine Henrie and she asked if I would chair the conference planning committee for RMASFAA to be held in Kansas in 2009. I thought “that is 3 years away…sure…how hard can it be?” I had the pleasure of co-chairing with Brent Carpenter. We had an amazing conference planning committee and the state of Kansas was able to provide a fantastic RMASFAA conference and we raised over $7000 for our philanthropy. I was honored and humbled to receive the Oscar R. Jack Hendrix award that year.
Since then, I served as Vice President of KASFAA. My experience planning the RMASFAA conference allowed me to work with the KASFAA president to plan 2 state conferences. I have been at JCCC now for 16 years. I do not believe that many of us decided upon graduation from college to be a FA administrator but that is where my path has taken me and I would not change one step of that path.
On a personal note, I have a daughter, Kelsey that works and lives in Dallas, Texas. My son, Brandon, is a senior at Kansas State University. My step son, Brandon, is married to Desak and they live in Oakland, California. I have been married to my husband, John, for 12 years. We have 2 dogs, Emma and Sadie, and I have 2 grand puppies, Champ and Kono.
Debbie was the co-recipient of the Oscar R. Jack Hendrix award in 2009.
I found my passion for financial aid after being hired as the Financial Aid Director at Miles Community College (Miles City, MT) in 2003. I had never worked in a Financial Aid Office before but I was about to embark on an incredible journey that would lead me to where I am today. I can still remember the first training I attended with fellow MASFAA colleagues. The training topic was student eligibility and it was taught by Deborah Tarpley and Devon Croft. While I remember my mind racing to absorb everything I possibly could, I also remember the incredible comradery and the feeling that I had just entered into a very special family of people who were like no other people I had ever worked with before – I was hooked!
It didn’t take long for me to become active in MASFAA and RMASFAA. After about a year of settling into my director role, I began serving MASFAA as its Secretary/Treasurer. I was also invited to become a Decentralized Trainer and was able to travel to Great Bend, Kansas and Great Falls, Montana to provide NASFAA Decentralized Training.
During this time, my career was evolving and I had the opportunity to work for Student Assistance Foundation as a Campus Outreach Manager where I operated the branch campus office at Miles Community College. This amazing experience allowed me to share my passion for access to education with high school and college students across eastern Montana.
My passion for financial aid kept pulling at my heart and in 2007, I was hired back at Miles Community College as the Director of Student Financial/Enrollment Services. This position allowed me to assist the Director of Financial Aid while integrating enrollment management into my duties. This position also allowed me to springboard back into serving MASFAA and RMASFAA. I became the RMASFAA Membership Co-Chair in 2007 and Chair in 2008. In 2008, I was nominated as President-Elect for MASFAA and began my progression to President and Past-President of MASFAA. Additionally, I had the amazing opportunity to serve on NASFAA’s Access, Diversity, and Excellence Committee and sat on the RMASFAA Board as the MASFAA President. The final act of service that I had before being hired in my current position was being the RMASFAA Association News Co-Chair.
As I was volunteering my time to MASFAA and RMASFAA, I never expected to receive an award for doing something that felt so natural to me. When I was notified that I had received the 2008 Oscar R. “Jack” Hendrix Rookie of the Year Award for my dedication to the RMASFAA Membership Committee, I was deeply humbled. I still dedicate that award to all of the role models and mentors I had along the way who believed in me and taught me the ropes and inspired me to serve MASFAA, RMASFAA, and NASFAA.
In 2012, I became the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Success at Miles Community College, however, my financial aid heart still beats strongly. Every once in a while, I still get to help with a FAFSA or pop into RRAAREQ and RPAAWRD to help students. And, from time-to-time, when the sun shines through my office window just right, a rainbow prism forms from my Oscar R. “Jack” Hendrix Rookie of the Year Award and it catches my eye and reminds me of all the warm friendships and memories I have because of the years I served in MASFAA, RMASFAA, and NASFAA.
We’re only a few weeks away from RMASFAA 2014 in beautiful Snowbird, UT, so register now! Early registration ends this Tuesday! Use this link to register: http://rmasfaa.org/docs/forms/memConf14.html.
Check out our Facebook page for more information.
To get you excited about your trip to Utah, here are some facts you may not know.
Salt Lake City: 4,330 feet 1,320 meters
Snowbird base: 8,100 feet 2,469 meters
Climate – Expect it to be about 10 degrees cooler at Snowbird Average daily temperature January – 29.2 F February – 34.5 F March – 43.1 F April – 50 F May – 58.9 F June – 69 F July – 77 F August – 75.6 F September – 65 F October – 52.5 F November – 39.6 F December – 30.2 F
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Attachment 1: Register Now for RMASFAA 2014 http://www.rmasfaa.org/ListLock/zghGhdeJtxcP3fUn.jpg
“Financial Aid Elevated” is this year’s theme for the RMASFAA conference in Snowbird Utah scheduled for October 19 – 22 2014. Get ready for a fabulous time as our conference planning committee has put together a very well-rounded training conference. If you are not already registered and/or booked your hotel room, I strongly encourage you to do so before the early bird deadline which is September 16th 2014. Please visit the RMASFAA web site for additional information regarding this wonderful training event!
Voting members, please note that the annual business meeting will take place during lunch beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. The agenda includes annual reports of officers and committees as well as other updates from this past year’s Association business.
I am so looking forward to seeing you all in a few short weeks!
See you soon and safe travels,
Jeff Jacobs, RMASFAA President
I am sure your shop is as busy as mine this time of year. We are busily trying to get our new school years started, and in the midst of it all, along comes along Labor Day. A day to reflect upon our labors and the fruits thereof.
I confess that many a Labor Day has past and very little thought has gone into what it all means beyond getting a day off. This year as I reflect for a moment, I consider all of the great men and women who have worked diligently to build this great nation into what it is today. And not only them, but indeed all of us who continue to carry the workload and build on the foundation laid in prior years. We as financial aid administrators have our own special niche in this process. We not only build, but we build the builders, the educated, trained and skilled workers who will make up the workforce of the future. By the work we do, we open up access and opportunity for the students we serve by helping to secure the resources needed to attend our institutions.
So this year I want to express my gratitude for the things that make my labor possible and fulfilling and encourage you to do so along with me.
I am grateful for…
the students who are willing to dream and pursue their dreams
the challenging situations that help me grow as a person
my education which opened doors for me
my employer who gives me the opportunity to use my skills
my co-workers who share the load and are truly good to work with
colleagues at NeASFAA
colleagues at RMASFAA
colleagues at NASFAA
and the list goes on…
Certainly, there is stress, challenges, the mundane and more that attempt to rob us of the fulfillment. Let’s take a few moments this day to be thankful for the provision and accomplishment that result because of our labors and the labor of those around us.
I certainly hope you had a happy Labor Day!
NeASFAA State President
Have you checked out the agenda for this year’s conference?
You don’t want to miss it. Check out our the web or our Facebook page for more information.
I left college and immediately started my career working with students by teaching high school English and Speech/Debate. After 6 years, I moved to work for Western Wyoming Community College where I started as the Financial Aid Officer and then soon, the Director. Then, I was offered a great opportunity to work at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. They were all great experiences. I met so many helpful people and was able to participate in many RMASFAA committees. I made some of my best friends there….and a network of professionals that have been so supportive of me over the years. For the last 12 years I have been working at Nelnet. I lead our school team and assist with our Federal Student Aid relations. It is a dynamic and ever-changing environment for sure.
I believe I received the Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award for the years that I worked on the Summer Institute Committee. I felt so honored. To be recognized by folks that I hold so much respect. I think I wanted them to just think “I gave it my all” for my role on the committee. It really boosted my confidence.
I think Financial Aid, in general, is full of policy and regulations. I would remind a new professional to make all their decisions to be as “student-centric” as possible. They communicate differently now. Texting, email, social media and I think we are challenged to keep up with those changes rather than making students change to how we are most comfortable communicating. Also, lean on your RMASFAA peers for advice and counsel. Never be afraid to ask questions.
I have not had the opportunity to attend a RMASFAA conference in the last couple of years although folks from my team have certainly been there. I can’t wait to attend the very next one.
Jim was the Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award (formerly, Rookie of the Year Award) recipient in 2004.