Grinchly Greetings


Grinch Kilt

Greetings RMASFAA. Tis the season as they say. Hope you have the opportunity to be refreshed with family and close friends during this slow (ha ha) time in financial aid.

Exciting news and if you read the previous blog from Electronic Initiatives, you know we have a new website in transition. Take a look at https://rmasfaa.org/ is now live.  The Electronic Initiatives Committee has done huge work on this over the last many months and I want to offer a big thank you to them, awesome work. Big box with bows on it under the tree. We have much work still to do in the transition so please be patient. Members will be contacted in December with instructions on how to get your membership profile set up so you can access features such as the membership directory, job postings, listserv and eventually event registration. 

Primary members, look for membership renewal early in 2020 if not sooner.

What we do: dating back to 1968, RMASFAA has been dedicated to supporting this profession by providing effective training and leadership development. This work can be hard and complex, and a supporting network of colleagues and peers is significant in complimenting what we can all do individually at our institutions. In your individual mission to serve students and families, this group serves to support you in making that more effective and efficient. We stand ready to serve member institutions and states by being actively engaged with you and additionally with our National Association (NASFAA).

The 2019-2020 Board of Directors is honored to serve you. Our board is dedicated to preserving the ideas and practices of those that have come before us and kept this organization strong. We want to hear from you. Reach out to me or anyone on the board in respect to ideas and collaboration and questions. We are here for you.

RMASFAA is planning wonderful training and conference opportunities for members to network and get involved in many different activities. Look for dates and announcements regarding our nationally recognized (and it is fair to say that) Summer Institute this summer. We will be back in Colorado Springs this June. Come October, we will be in Nebraska to wrap up the year. In between, stay tuned. We will have leadership available at each State Conference to relay relevant regional and national information.

The winter board meeting is coming up soon. If you have items you would like to be brought before the group, please let me know.

James Broscheit

RMASFAA President 2019/20 

Final 2017-18 President Update


It was so great to see many of you at the 2018 RMASFAA Annual Conference in Fargo.   We had a terrific conference from start to finish with an excellent program and a very special 50th Anniversary celebration.   My very favorite part of serving you this past year has been the opportunity to visit and meet with RMASFAA members.   Here is an update from the final 2018 RMASFAA Board Meeting:

Thanks to wonderful input from our membership, Association Governance and your RMASFAA Board, the Board voted on and approved our new strategic loan range plan for 2019-2021.  Our new strategic long range plan concentrates our efforts in three major areas:

  1. Strengthening the Annual Conference Experience
  2. State and Regional Collaboration and Support
  3. Fiscal Stability and Transparency

This year we implemented a new orientation program for our incoming state delegates to the board, which was in conjunction with the transitional board meeting.  This orientation assists them in preparing for their duties and responsibilities on the RMASFAA Board.

The Board implemented more controls for additional oversight of the Treasurer’s duties.  Consistently our auditors have asked us to put in more controls and security measures for the Treasurer.   With input from our Treasurer and Finance and Audit, we have put in additional safeguards regarding credit card usage for the treasurer with oversight from the Vice Chair of Finance and Audit.  The Board also approved adding the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee as an approved individual on the investment accounts for greater oversight of financial transactions.

The Board approved granting the Treasurer and Treasurer Elect permission to utilize online banking.  This move streamlines the payment procedure, increases oversight over reimbursement and billing, provides faster turnaround in sending out payments and uploads checks directly into QuickBooks.  There were no additional fees moving to online banking.

It has been an honor, privilege and pleasure serving you this past year.  As I stated in my farewell remarks:

“I’ve been trying to come up with something profound to tell you about the experience I’ve had this past year as your president, but only two words keep coming to mind – “THANK YOU”.  I hope I have given back to you a fraction over this past year of what you have given to me.  This past year you have welcomed me, included me, challenged me and taken me out of my comfort zone.   Most of all you have provided me friendship and support and I will value the time I’ve spent with you always.”

All my best,
Ken

Ken Kocer

President’s Update


Where has the time gone?  Seems like I just finished sending out an update on our winter board meeting and here we are in the heat of summer.  Here are some updates on what’s happening in this wonderful region we call RMASFAA:

State Conferences:  I had the pleasure, honor and I have to say an absolutely wonderful time, visiting the state conferences for MASFAA, KASFAA, NeASFAA, NDASFAA, WyASFAA, SDASFAA and CAFAA.   Each conference was unique in their own way, but all were well planned, informative and so welcoming and fun to be a part of.  This is truly one of the biggest perks of being RMASFAA President and one I will always treasure.   A special thank you to Past-President Vicki Kucera for attending the UASFAA conference on my behalf while I attended the North Dakota Conference, which fell on the same days.  I’m hoping to be able to travel to the Utah conference next year, God willing and Myra willing.

Electronic Initiatives Committee:  As reported in the last update, the RMASFAA Board approved an upgrade of our website.  Lisa Westendorf and the Electronic Initiatives Committee is hard at work in implementing the upgrade.  You will be seeing a new look for our website in the near future.

50th Anniversary Committee:  Our 50th Anniversary Committee has been working with our associate members and our RMASFAA Committees to compliment and make our RMASFAA Conference in Fargo one to remember.

Elections:  Great job Myra Pfannenstiel for putting together an excellent slate of talented candidates for the coming year.  A special “thank you” to all the candidates for stepping forward as leaders for our association.  If you are a voting member for your institution and have not already voted, please make sure to do so.  Best wishes to our candidates.

Summer Institute:  This year Summer Institute moved back to Colorado College in Colorado Springs and was an extremely successful training event.  Carolyn Halgerson, SI Chair and John Curl, Faculty Dean along with our dedicated faculty and staff reinforced the status of the RMASFAA Summer Institute as one of the premier training events in the country.

NASFAA Conference:  The NASFAA Conference in Austin was not only a great professional development opportunity, but a great opportunity for networking.  We had forty RMASFAA members attend our “RMASFAA Dinner Night Out”.   The room was filled with love, laughter and friendship and provided a nice opportunity for us to come together as a group.  It was also announced at the NASFAA Board meeting that NASFAA would continue to provide the free vouchers for NASFAAU Credential Courses provided through RMASFAA sponsored credential training, which is a great added benefit.

RMASFAA Conference in Fargo:  If you haven’t noticed yet, the 2018 RMASFAA Conference registration and the conference program are out on the RMASFAA Website.  Kudos to North Dakota for putting together an excellent program with a wide variety of sessions for attendees to choose from.     Make sure to attend RMASFAA’s 50th Anniversary Conference in Fargo and celebrate our past and future!

As we go through summer and into fall, know that your RMASFAA Board is hard at work for you.  I am truly blessed to be a part of this dedicated group of individuals and especially blessed to serve you.  If you have any questions or input you would like to provide, feel free to contact me by phone at (605) 668-1589 or email kkocer@mtmc.edu.

Ken Kocer

All my best,

Ken Kocer

RMASFAA President

Winter Board Meeting Update


Winter Board cropped

Good Day RMASFAA!  Your RMASFAA Board has been hard at work for you and we had a very productive Winter Board Meeting in Denver on March 15th and 16th.

Here are some highlights from the meeting:

  • The Board reviewed the current RMASFAA Strategic Long Range Plan (SLRP) to assess how well we have met the goals of the plan. Overall the Board felt many of the goals of the current SLRP have been satisfied, but there is still room for improvement on some goals.  Vicki Kucera reported a wonderful response from the membership regarding the RMASFAA SLRP on-line survey.  Vicki and I will be looking for more input from the membership on ideas for our 2018-2021 SLRP at state conferences.  Our goal is to have our 2018-2021 SLRP in place by the October 2018 RMASFAA Board Meeting.
  • With recommendations from the “Website Ad Hoc Committee” and evaluation of options, the Board voted to approve an upgrade of our website. This includes increasing certificates of security for the website, increasing utilization of website functionality and approval of the purchase of E-Merchant to assist in more efficient use of electronic transactions for members.
  • NASFAA has approached RMASFAA on a proposal to collaborate on some functions such as “Membership”, “Website” and “Events”. There was a very lengthy discussion on the benefits/drawbacks of this collaboration.   The Board voted to continue to discuss this possibility, but felt the impact of this decision so important that member input from the individual RMASFAA states would be requested before any further action.   Vicki and I will be asking for your input at the state conferences.
  • President –Elect Myra Pfannenstiel has been working with the “Nominations and Elections Committee”, along with input from the Board, seeking nominations for the next election ballot.
  • This is the first year for the new Vice President Elect Position. The Vice President Elect also serves as the “Vice-Chair” for the Finance and Audit Committee.   This year there was a major undertaking in evaluating the association budgeting process.  Stephanie Covington, serving as Vice President and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, did an extraordinary job in putting in place a comprehensive budgeting process that worked effectively and efficiently.    The Finance and Audit Committee is continuing to fine tune the budget process.
  • The 2018 Conference Committee, chaired by Bethany Vincent and Sherry Bisek, reported plans for the Annual Fall Conference in Fargo October 7-10 are going strong and on schedule. There is added excitement for this year’s conference as RMASFAA is celebrating our 50th  Mark your calendars as you do not want to miss this conference!
  • The Diversity & Multicultural Initiatives Committee chaired by Manuel Gant requested the committee’s name be changed to “The Diversity and Inclusion Committee”. It was felt this name better reflects the scope and purpose of the committee’s work.  The Board agreed and voted to change the name of the committee as requested.
  • Dani Reynolds and the Association News Committee have been busy submitting blogs and updates for the membership. The committee is doing an excellent job of keeping members informed.
  • The Training Committee chaired by Ashlee Dutton, has organized seven training events to assist our members with compliance, professional development and personal growth topics. NASFAA also informed me at the NASFAA Board Meeting last month that they will be providing condensed training webinars for regions to use.  These webinars are expected to be ready this spring.

A big “Thank You” to all the committees, state delegates and officers for all your hard work and dedication to RMASFAA!   This group has provided wonderful insights and leadership and I feel truly blessed to be a part of this Board and Association.  I encourage anyone that has questions on events or topics related to our association to please contact me at kkocer@mtmc.edu.  I would love to hear from you.

All my best,

Ken

Ken Kocer

 

President’s Update


Good Day RMASFAA!

Hope you are all settled in for the spring term and all is going well.  Spring is on the horizon (well maybe not yet in SD) and RMASFAA activities are going strong.  Your 2017-18 RMASFAA Board of Directors have been hard at work insuring another amazing year for our association.  Here are some highlights:

  • Membership Chair. Alexa Freeburg and her team have launched the 2018 membership drive and the response had been wonderful. If you haven’t already renewed your membership, please do so today.   Renewing your RMASFAA membership now ensures you continued access to RMASFAA resources, news, and the best rates for Summer Institute and the Annual Conference, and allows your institution to participate in the upcoming election.
  • Corporate Support Chair. Ruben Reyes has been working with our 50th Anniversary Taskforce, Conference Committee Chairs Bethany Vincent and Sherry Bisek, along with our associate members to highlight the Milestone Event of RMASFAA’s 50th Anniversary during our annual conference. You won’t want to miss this year’s RMASFAA Conference in Fargo, ND October 7-10!
  • The Summer Institute. Committee lead by chair Carolyn Halgerson, held their Mid-Winter Planning meeting on February 9th to kick off planning for our premier RMASFAA Summer Institute training event to be held June 3-8. Summer institute will be held at the beautiful setting of Colorado College in Colorado Springs.  The faculty and staff members of the SI Committee are dedicated to making this year’s training the best ever.  Look for registration to go live on March 1.
  • President-Elect and Nominations and Elections. Committee Chair Myra Pfannenstiel has sent out a call for nominations to run for RMASFAA Office. Take this opportunity to nominate a colleague or yourself to run for RMASFAA Office.  The following positions are open for nomination: President-Elect, Vice President-Elect, Treasurer-Elect, Secretary and Associate Member Delegate.
  • Regional Presidents Meeting Washington DC, January 17-18. I had the privilege of attending the Regional Presidents Meeting with the Regional Presidents and NASFAA Leadership this past January.  It was a wonderful opportunity for the Regional Presidents to discuss issues facing all our regions and exchange best practices.  Some of the topics we discussed included regional exchanges, membership & conference contracts, identifying candidates to run for regional office, training practices, possible joint ventures between regions in areas such as audits and training.  We had a meeting with FSA personnel on effective ways for FSA to work with aid administrators regarding how to review/evaluate financial aid issues and topics.   We also had a round table discussion on financial aid topics with three members of the media.  It was a great experience and opportunity for exchange of ideas for the regional presidents and also served as preparation for serving together on the NASFAA Board.

NASFAA

  • SASFAA Conference February 10-14, Alexandria, VA.  Talk about Southern hospitality!  As part of our Regional Presidents Exchange, I attended the SASFAA Board Meeting, New Board Member Orientation and Conference February 10-14.   The SASFAA Board and members were just wonderful and made me feel at home from the time I landed at the airport until departing.  SASFAA President-Elect, Bryan Erslan had attended the RMASFAA Board Meeting and Conference in Wichita and this was my opportunity to observe SASFAA Board proceedings, conference offerings and co-present a NASFAA U session on “Verification”. I really liked the training that was provided by SASFAA to newly elected state delegates, which prepared them for board service.  The state president exchanges were also very popular between SASFAA member states. Being so close to Washington DC, their conference included several presenters from the Department of Education and they had a nice mix of options for sessions.  SASFAA had approximately 350 in an attendance for the conference.

SASFAA
It is such an honor and privilege to serve you as president.  Our regional association remains strong due to the involvement from our membership, our caring volunteers and our enduring commitment to professional development to better serve our students and our profession.

Thank you for all you do for RMASFAA!

Ken Kocer, RMASFAA President

Ken Kocer

President’s Update


As 2017 comes to a close, I look back at many great RMASFAA memories. Here are some highlights:

• Summer Institute – Our SI Committee did an excellent job in continuing the reputation of this week of learning as being one of financial aid’s premier training opportunities. This year’s Summer Institute, to sum it up, was an outstanding, encompassing event. So exciting to see the dedication of the faculty and committee along with the enthusiasm of the attendees come together for another successful event. The NASFAA University materials provided a strong base for our faculty and the NASFAA credentialing options provided additional opportunities for our attendees. SI went completely electronic from the training materials to the e-newsletters. Mark your calendars for June 3-8, 2018 for next year’s Summer Institute located in the beautiful setting of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO.
• Annual Conference – The 2017 RMASFAA Conference in Wichita, KS hit near record attendance levels and was an amazing conference. The conference started out with a night of fun, laughter, entertainment and great food at the “Mosley Street Melodrama”. The conference was filled with a wide variety of sessions and great opportunities to network. Outstanding job Kansas! Mark your calendars for RMASFAA’s 50th Anniversary Conference in Fargo, ND October 7-10, 2018 where the conference theme is “North of Normal”!
• I held my transitional board meetings where the soon to be 2017-18 RMASFAA Board met for the first time. I was so impressed by the level of interaction, enthusiasm and volunteerism demonstrated by this dedicated group of individuals. I am so excited for the upcoming year of service with this board!
• In November I had the opportunity to attend the NASFAA Board Meeting as an observer. It was a tremendous experience and wonderful opportunity. I had the privilege to see in action our own Vicki Kucera (Past President) serving as RMASFAA Regional Representative and Brenda Hicks serving as Representative at Large. I was very impressed by the board proceedings and the dedication displayed by the board in NASFAA’s efforts to advocate for students. This was a wonderful opportunity for me as I prepare to become the RMASFAA Representative Board Member after the NASFAA 2018 Conference in Austin.

It is such an honor and privilege to be a part of this wonderful association and to serve you as RMASFAA President. Thank you for all your dedication and service which makes RMASFAA such an outstanding organization. I’m looking forward to all our events coming up in 2018.

All my best to you this Holiday Season and best wishes in the New Year!
Ken Kocer, RMASFAA President

Ken Kocer

President’s Welcome


On behalf of the RMASFAA Board of Directors, I would like to extend our warmest greetings and best wishes. We’re looking forward to an exciting and eventful year ahead. Here are some of the many exciting events we have planned:

Our premier training event and nationally recognized Rocky Mountain Summer Institute will be coming to Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO June 3-8, 2018. This excellent training event, located in the beautiful Rocky Mountain range, will provide an outstanding learning opportunity for individuals new to the profession as well as experienced administrators.

In 2018, we will be celebrating RMASFAA’s 50th Anniversary of service to the financial aid profession. RMASFAA’s mission, from the beginning, has been to promote preparation, leadership development, effectiveness, and mutual support of persons involved in financial aid administration as well as assisting in the implementation of programs that will have a positive impact on students’ ability to pay for higher education. Make plans to attend the 2018 RMASFAA Conference in Fargo, ND October 7-10 and join in celebrating fifty years of RMASFAA excellence. The conference committee is already well on their way in putting together an exceptional program and event.

This year we will also begin the review and implementation of a new strategic plan for our association to be completed in 2018. What makes RMASFAA so unique and vibrant is the involvement from our membership. The Board of Directors will be looking for your input on where you feel RMASFAA should be concentrating our efforts for the future. Please provide your feedback on the direction you would like to see us move in the future.

I am so looking forward to the year ahead and I want to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me with your views and ideas on how to keep our RMASFAA legacy of excellence going strong.

All my best,

Ken Kocer

Ken Kocer
President, Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators