Top 10 Resolutions for Financial Aid Professionals


  1. Resolve to simplify. Too much paper in your office? Make time each day or a couple of times per week to sort through it and file what is important and shred what isn’t needed. Less clutter is less stress!

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  1. Resolve to volunteer for at least one committee in your state or regional organization. We’re all busy, but if we all pitch in and get involved, it strengthens our organizations.
  1. Resolve to spread some kindness by saying “Hello” to students and staff you meet in the hallway. You never know when a simple greeting may be just what that person needs at that moment.
  1. Resolve to take time for yourself during the day. This can be something as simple as taking a break to taking a 10-minute walk down the hallway or checking out the new fashions in your bookstore.
  1. Resolve to take a lunch break. It’s too easy to get into the routine of, “I’m too busy to leave for lunch. I’ll run to the cafeteria and grab something and eat it in between students, e-mails, and phone calls.” We all need that physical and mental break from our desks!
  1. Resolve to come up with one new idea for your office. Maybe you’ve always wanted to create a financial literacy plan, but you haven’t made the time to do so. Come up with one simple idea and implement it. Better yet, get others in your office involved and delegate some of the planning.
  1. Resolve to leave on time (or limit your overtime). It’s too easy to get into the routine of staying until 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. every night. We all know the work will be waiting for us in the morning!
  1. Resolve to embrace change. Face it, we’re in an industry that is constantly changing and we don’t always like those changes, but we usually find a way to “grin and bear it and make it happen.”

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  1. Resolve to do a random act of kindness at least once a month. Send an e-mail to a colleague and tell him or her how much you enjoy serving on a committee together. Send a note to someone at your school to let that person know how much you appreciate him or her. Send a note to a student who has received an honor or who might need a little bit of encouragement.
  1. Resolve to “disconnect” periodically. Face it, too many of us find ourselves “connected” to our phones, e-mail, and social media accounts way too often. In the evenings and on weekends resist the urge to check your school e-mail. If you feel you must check it, have a cut-off time where you won’t check it again until the morning.

 

Marlene Seeklander
Association News Committee

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New Year, New Membership


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RMASFAA’s 2017 Membership Application is LIVE!

Membership is institutional, so only PRIMARY CONTACTS need to apply
or renew for 2017. Go to rmasfaa.org/docs/forms/memApp.html to complete your membership renewal or to join RMASFAA today!

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The membership year runs from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. Please keep in mind that in order to maintain voting privileges, your membership dues MUST be received by March 15!  Payment should be submitted to:

Becca Dobry, Work Study Coordinator/Financial Aid Counselor
Office of Financial Aid
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Memorial Student Affairs Building
905 W 25th, Kearney, NE 68849
PH: 308.865.8520 F: 308.865.8096

dobryrd@unk.edu | www.unk.edu/financialaid

President’s Update


Well my RMASFAA friends, it appears that 2016 is nearing its close.  I really could swear that it was just yesterday that I was making my 2016 New Year’s resolutions, none of which were actually sustainable, but hey, ancient history…right?  In a few short weeks I’ll have the chance to start over. The beauty of a new year is always that spirit of hope and renewal.

There are a few things I won’t miss about 2016 (the election, recertification for yet another GE program, the election…).  But overall, it’s been a pretty amazing year. Here are some of my highlights:

  • Summer Institute – Once again the SI Committee put on an incredible week of training that as a faculty member, always regenerates my enthusiasm for this industry. We rolled out the new NASFAA University materials replacing the old CORE, met an incredible new group of neophytes in the industry as well as some individuals who have been around awhile, did some credentialing, and as always had a ridiculous amount of fun!  If you haven’t done so already, put Summer Institute on your calendar for this coming June…either for yourself or for one of your staff.  No region in this country does SI like RMASFAA does!!
  • Annual Conference – We rocked Rapid City!! What an amazing conference it was! The South Dakota crew treated us to an amazing opening night at Mount Rushmore, complete with Joe Massman singing America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner with those amazing heads in the background. What an inspirational way to start a conference!  I had my first Transitional Board Meetings with a great group, which left me confident that this coming year as RMASFAA President will be productive, rewarding, and exciting. The Conference itself was amazing, and hats off to the Conference Committee for a job well done.  Between board meetings, conference, and the post-conference Leadership Pipeline activity, I spent seven days in Rapid City, but wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.
  • Committee Construction – President-Elect Ken Kocer has been putting the finishing touches on recruiting Vice-Chairs for all of our committees and the full committees will be updated on the RMASFAA website soon. As always, RMASFAA never falls short in the volunteerism department.  We are the smallest region in the nation, but the mightiest in terms of member participation. Hats off to all of you for your spirit of commitment and service!!
  • Regional Presidents Meeting Washington DC – in October I had the privilege of attending a meeting with all of the Regional Presidents and the NASFAA leadership to have a conversation about Alignment between our professional associations. We’ve been having conversations for years about delineating the roles of the state, regional and national associations so that we aren’t duplicating efforts between them.  We all agreed that it was time for the rubber to hit the road, so each region has now set up their own four-member task force to put together their thoughts and ideas regarding this topic, and we will all convene on February 6th in Washington DC to bring our regional thoughts together and move the conversation forward.  This task force is a minimum three-year commitment, therefore providing continuity to this movement rather than re-starting the conversation every year when the Boards turn over.  The four RMASFAA members who have been assigned to this Task Force are:  Brenda Hicks, Southwestern College, Winfield, KS; Art Young, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT;  Mary Sommers, University of Nebraska at Kearney, NE; and me, Vicki Kucera, Central Community College, NE. We’ve already met and put together what we believe to be a very insightful position paper, and we are very excited about sharing this with the other regions and the NASFAA staff. I hope to be able to share the progress of this Thought Force with you when I see you at your State Conferences in the spring!
  • In November I attended my first NASFAA Board Meeting as an observer. Past-President Joe Donlay serves as our Regional Representative during this coming year, and after the NASFAA Conference in San Diego, I will become an actual board member and move out of the peanut gallery!!  Justin Draeger and his crew of professionals are doing an amazing job representing us and voicing the concerns of our industry during this transitional period.  None of us know what post-election changes may be in store for us, but I feel confident that as we move into the new administration, the NASFAA staff will keep the needs of our students at the forefront.

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:  I am incredibly honored to have been chosen to represent RMASFAA as your regional President, and I am looking forward to the amazing year that lies ahead.  Thank you all for your commitment to this industry and to our students.  I am so very proud of our region and can’t imagine this industry without all of the wonderful connections I’ve made with all of you.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and best wishes to all of you!!!

Vicki Kucera, RMASFAA President

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Thankful


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What is better than getting to go to RMASFAA? Getting to go to RMASFAA on a scholarship!! I was a lucky and incredibly grateful recipient of a DMCI scholarship to attend the RMASFAA conference this fall in Rapid City, SD and what a great opportunity this was.

I had never attended RMASFAA before this year and I was incredibly excited to not only be a first-time attendee, but also a presenter of a session as part of the RMASFAA Training Committee. The location for this conference couldn’t have been better and spending the first night’s dinner being serenaded by Joe Massman’s beautiful rendition of America’s anthem, while looking out at Mt. Rushmore lit up under the night sky, was truly an experience. Those who set up this whole conference should be proud of the wonderful event they put on and the local and historical experiences they brought to everyone.

Getting to not only learn from peers in my region, but being able to present to them what we worked so hard on in the Training Committee was extremely rewarding. The financial aid community is so willing to learn and open to sharing their own experiences, trials, and even their lunch tables (considering I hardly knew anyone and attended alone). I valued this conference so much more than FSA because being in the same region we tend to face a lot of the same obstacles and it is extremely beneficial to collaborate on solutions.

I would not have been able to attend this conference and develop myself more as a financial aid professional without the DMCI scholarship, so for that, I am extremely thankful.

 

Ashlee Dutton
Assistant Director of Financial Aid Customer Service/Technology
Pikes Peak Community College

iHELP Student Loans


iHELP offers both private student loans and a consolidation option, but we do it with style. We’re parents – so we treat our customers as if they were our own children going off to and graduating from college. We’re not your typical lender, and we’re proud of it.

Our student loan program provide students and their families a way to cover that gap in their college financing. We work with two and four year post-secondary schools that are non-profit and Title IV certified.

iHELP also offers consolidation loans for recent college graduates. A consolidation loan gives graduates the opportunity to unify student loans into one, potentially money-saving account.

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What makes us different?

We work with a number of community banks all across the country. The Independent Community Banks of America (ICBA) is the nation’s voice for community banks and it sponsors the iHELP programs through member banks. We collaborate with community banks because they share similar philosophies to iHELP. Our program gives students the option to work with a bank they are comfortable with and trust.

Customers are assigned to one of our student loan experts to serve as their single point of contact. Call center environments may work for other companies, but they don’t work for us, and they don’t work for our customers. Our servicing company and the program’s administrator, Reunion Student Loan Finance Corporation, has over 38 years of experience with student lending. We provide servicing for the entire life of our loans and borrowers aren’t handed off from one servicing company to the next.

Transparency is important us, because it’s important to students and their families. We don’t hide origination or repayment fees in the paperwork and we take the time to help borrowers understand their loan and how it’s structured. We treat students and their parents as the people they are, not numbers.

With iHELP, students and their families receive the best bang for their buck. Not only do we offer competitive rates, but we give borrowers an opportunity to work with a real person, who knows education loans inside and out. We’re college graduates, parents, and we’re here to help with resources and answers about financing a college education. In an industry dominated by automatic recordings, we’re happy to cut through the clutter and be a choice customers trust and enjoy working with.

To learn more about iHELP visit www.ihelploan.com or you can contact Craig Green at craigg@slfc.com or 605-622-4507.

Brought to you by:
Craig Green
Marketing Director
iHelp Student Loans

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2016 RMASFAA Award Winners


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A big congratulations to the following committee and individuals who received awards during the annual conference last month in South Dakota.

Committee of the Year: Annual Conference Committee

  • Carolyn Halgerson (Co-Chair)-South Dakota State University
  • Laura Schultz (Co-Chair)-Wells Fargo Education Financial Services

Along with numerous committee leads and their teams.

RMASFAA Hall of Fame:  Robb Cummings from Sallie Mae

Oscar R “Jack” Hendrix Award:  Donna Carter from Wichita State University & Becca Dobry from the University of Nebraska-Kearney

Distinguished Service Award:  James Broscheit from the University of Northern Colorado

Ron Smout Award for Teaching and Mentoring:  Jim Swanson (retired) from Colorado College

 

Thank you all for your service to RMASFAA.