I am relatively new to the world of financial aid. While I have worked in Higher Education for over 12 years, I have only been in financial aid for a year and a half. It has been a fun-packed time with much to learn. Stress is currently on my mind, particularly as I cleaned blueberry smoothie off my ceiling this morning (that is another story in itself).
As we are headed into a very busy time of year for all of us, I encourage everyone to not only take care of yourself by taking deep breaths and anything else that helps to decrease your stress level (not scrubbing ceilings), but also becoming familiar with the many resources available that can help to decrease your stress level. We have resources available to us through the Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, NASFAA, RMASFAA, and state organizations.
This often leaves you with the feeling of where do I even begin to look. Well, here are a few of my favorites:
- IFAP Handbook (http://ifap.ed.gov)
- NASFAA – Askregs (https://www.nasfaa.org/AskRegs? )
- Federal Student Aid (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/ )
- Federal Aid Toolkit (http://www.financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/tk/ )
Summer Institute offered through RMASFAA was for me, an incredible learning experience and has helped me many times over the past year. I find myself referring to my notes, and “The Book”, often for information. I would encourage everyone to attend this at least once for the education, the friendships, and the networking. I do think the Verification song will always be imbedded in my memory.
Now, this just names a few of the resources. Be sure to talk with colleagues and not just those at your institution. Reach out to others as well. One thing I have noticed in my time in financial aid is that this is a dedicated and truly unique group of people.
Candace Graus, Colorado Mesa University, Systems Manager and Counselor