Tom Ochsner (President-Elect of NeASFAA), the Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid at Nebraska Wesleyan University, and Marty Habrock (Treasurer-Elect), Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, attended the NASFAA Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. March 4-6, 2012. In attendance were approximately 70 other new leaders of State and Regional financial aid associations. Highlights of the event included hearing from:
Dr. Michela Perrone who is a faculty member of Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, a Senior Associate of BoardSource, and a consultant and trainer for the Center for Nonprofit Advancement in Washington D.C. She works with hundreds of Board members, organizations, and Chief Executives annually to support their development and increase their effectiveness.
Rep. Robert Andrew (D-NJ), House Committee on Education & the Workforce. He is a leading national voice on workplace, education, budget, and national defense.
Mr. Rohit Chopra, who is the Student Loan Ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Mr. Jason Delisle, who is the director of the Federal Education Budget Project at the New America Foundation and develops and manages content for the project. He oversees the management of a database of information on federal funding for every school district in the country, writes issue briefs on the education budget process, and conducts research on funding for federal education programs.
Ms. Amy Jones who is the Education Policy Counsel and Senior Adviosr for the U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce. Amy specializes in higher education and student loan policy and legal issues arising in education policy.
Ms. Zakiya Smith who is a Senior Advisor for Education at the White House Domestic Policy Council, where her focus is on higher education policy.
Mr. Ben Miller is a policy advisor in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development where he works on higher education and innovation.
Ms. Joan Wodiska who is the director of Education, Early Childhood, and Workforce Committee at the National Governors Association (NGA), where she leads and oversees all education and labor-related legislative and regulatory issues for the nation’s governors.
There were also opportunities for the participants to spend time visiting with each other about such topics as Conflict Resolution/Reaching Consensus, Contracts, Ethics/Transparency, Legislative Affairs, Long-Range Plans, NASFAA & ED Overview, Outreach, and Running a Meeting/Roberts Rules.
We were treated to a reception at the NASFAA Office and a guided night-tour of the various monuments and other attractions of our nation’s capital on Monday evening. The following morning we were able to visit with staff members of Sen. Mike Johanns and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s offices regarding some of the more current financial aid issues including: maintaining full Pell funding, Federal Direct Loan interest rates and DL servicers, The President’s proposal of a College/University “scorecard” on effectives and value, complications of the verification process, and a standardized award letter.
Overall, we enjoyed the opportunity to attend this conference and feel it was a very worthwhile event. Not only did we gain insight into what the leaders and elected officials are currently discussing regarding higher education and how it impacts the national budget, we were able to connect and network with a new group of colleagues who we can look to for assistance if needed during our time of service to NeASFAA.