State Update: Nebraska

NeASFAA celebrated its 50th anniversary during its 2017 Spring Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska this past March. The conference theme “Celebrating the past, embracing the future” gave conference attendees the chance to look back at how far NeASFAA has come and provided an opportunity to share memories with old and new friends.

Two guest presenters that started their career in Nebraska were invited back to present sessions. Doug Severs, of Oregon State University, started his career in Nebraska at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Doug presented a session on Working with the Campus Community and Being a Legislative Advocate. Joan Zanders, of Northern Virginia Community College, started her career in Nebraska working at Northeast Community College and Wayne State College. Joan presented a session on Coursework and Financial Aid Eligibility and a session on SULA. Other guest presenters included, Tom Melecki, College Affordability Solutions, David Bartlett, Department of Education, Dean Obenauer, Creighton University, Lisa Blaser, NASFAA Chair from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Kent Wolfe, Inceptia, Edd Cole. Office of Inspector General, Carol Swenson, Great Lakes, Janet Dodson, Tuition Exchange, Mark Araujo, Nebraska Methodist College, Linda Butcher, Doane University, Angelia Turner, University of Nebraska-Omaha and Mary Sommers, University of Nebraska at Kearney.


The conference also provided the opportunity for attendees to participates in two NASFAA credentialing sessions. Matt Johnson, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Sheila Johns, Western Nebraska Community College, did a great job in presenting Direct Loan credentialing. The Direct Loan credentialing session had 32 attendees. In addition to Direct Loan training, Penny James, Nebraska Methodist College, presented the NASFAA Return to Title IV Credentialing Session which had 17 attendees.


The highlight of the conference was the banquet dinner. Good food and fellowship were shared with first time attendees and several retired friends joined together to share old memories and create new ones as NeASFAA joined together to celebrate the past and embrace the future.


State Update: North Dakota


Our annual spring conference was held in Dickinson, ND, located on the western edge of the state. It is the gateway to Medora (a destination you must visit in ND!) and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is home to the Badlands. Our conference theme was “The Wild Adventures of Financial Aid….Fun in the Jungle!”  Which I think we can all relate to it being pretty wild sometimes….or maybe most the time!


And as alway’s it’s great to be able to reconnect and network with colleagues from across the state, catch up on life and see how things are going. After all, we are one big happy family, right!?

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We were fortunate enough to have Joe Massman from The Department of Ed present on a few topics including a Federal Update, assorted Title IV topics, and Verification/Conflicting Information. We also enjoyed having our very own RMASFAA President Vicki Kucera attend and give us an update on what’s going on in RMASFAA. Other session topics included Education Benefits for Veterans, updates on our ND state aid programs, and our Diversity Committee brought in a speaker that provided a session on Underrepresented Population: What’s Not to Know.

This year’s NDASFAA Philanthropy Project recipient was Bakken Paws. Bakken Paws is a non-profit animal rescue and foster group that was started by animal lovers who saw a need for dogs and cats around the Dickinson area. They provide animals with food, shelter and any medical needs they might have. The group did not initially start with the intent to offer pet adoption services but that is now a large part of what makes up Bakken Paws. We even got to cuddle and love up an a few furry friends that came for a visit!

During the conference, we held our annual business meeting, Scott Lingen, NDASFAA Past-President for the upcoming year passed the gavel to Lindsey Benson, NDASFAA President. During our annual meeting committees were encouraged to share updates and any changes for the upcoming year. Marcia Pritchert, Valley City State University was selected as our scholarship recipient. Marcia will receive funding to help with some of her trip expenses to this year’s FSA conference.

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NDASFAA also selected President-Elect Karrie Huber from the University of Mary, re-elected Bethany Vincent from North Dakota State University as Treasurer and re-elected Tom Ternes, from the Bank of North Dakota, as Associate Member at Large.

On our last night we held our awards banquet where we recognized years of service awards (350 years to be exact…WOW), congratulated and honored our retirees and recognized those who have gone above and beyond in the field of financial aid.

Scott Lingen, BSC, was awarded the Rookie of the Year award for his outstanding leadership as NDASFAA President, as well as leading our Financial Aid user group meetings.

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Bethany Vincent, NDSU, was awarded the NDASFAA President’s Award for all her hard work and commitment to NDASFAA, serving as our treasurer since 2013.

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Retirees: Sandy Klein (DSU), Bruce Helgerud (UND), Loretta Prather (UND), and Becky Rude (NDSU)

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NDASFAA is working hard on planning the 2018 RMASFAA Annual Conference in Fargo, ND. At the Fargo conference we will be celebrating RMASFAA’s 50th Anniversary. We look forward to seeing you all there!

I hope you all are enjoying your summer and wish you the best in this upcoming year!


Lindsey Benson, Minot State University, NDASFAA President
Heather Fink, Association News Committee


State Update: Montana

masfaa 2017 conference picture

Montana held its annual state conference this April over three days in Missoula, MT to the theme of Financial Aid Flower Power. Diane Llewellyn, member-at-large and President, Cindy Kiefer, were the conference co-chairs.

The conference had several guest speakers from varying backgrounds. Dr. Tom Crady, the University of Montana Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs conducted the welcome speech to the conference. Ron Muffick, the Director Of Student Affairs for the Montana University System notified the members of severe losses in state funding for state aid programs (i.e. need based grants and various merit scholarships) and the state-wide Default Prevention Unit (which provided services for all of MASFAA’s member institutions). Joseph Massman, a training officer for the Department of Education conducted two presentations on Financial Aid hot topics and on Federal Updates. Jennifer Madgic, the Regional Director for U.S. Senator Jon Tester conducted a short listening session in Tester’s stead and stayed for most of the conference. Vicki Kucera, the RMASFAA President provided the members with a RMASFAA update. Emily Williamson, the MASFAA President and Director of Financial Aid at MSU Billings and Cheri Johannes, the Registrar and Director of Admissions & Records at MSU Billings gave an update and advice on how to tackle a Federal Program Review as a result of MSU Billings completing their program review.

Additionally, the Director of the MUS American Indian and Minority Achievement Program (AIMA), Angela McLean, presented an update of the AIMA program and facilitated a conversation with the membership about ways to further assist American Indian and Minority students.

The members hosted a bingo night in order to help raise funds for the Mick Hanson Scholarship which helps members attend training conferences. They were able to raise over $500 and met their goal.

At this time MASFAA’s Past-President, Emily Williamson, and President, Cindy Kiefer, are attempting to work with the Montana University System to identify options for continuing to provide default prevention services for the state.

Alora Blue –Association News Committee, Montana

P.S.-Kudos to Alora for having THE COOLEST name in RMASFAA
-Ellie Roberts

Colorado: State Update


This year CAFAA celebrated its 50th Anniversary Conference in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. We had about 130 in attendance for our Spring Conference and this year we welcomed 41 first timers (largest group we can remember).  We honored nine Life Members at the banquet, where they shared their stories of what they were doing currently, gave us words of wisdom and shared their humorous financial aid stories.


Vicki, our Regional President, also graced us with her appearance at our conference to share a RMASFAA update . . . she was on her best behavior!

During the conference, we raised approximately $1000 through our silent auction – all proceeds were donated to the Family & Intercultural Resource Center of Summit County.

Key CAFAA updates include:

  • Revised our membership model-schools now have the option to pay a flat institutional fee for CAFAA membership, which allows institutions to add anyone on campus without paying an additional fee.
  • Survey monkey was utilized for our current member and our non-members to see how can better serve them-We are looking to see what we can do better!
  • Two Professional Development Workshops were offered-This year we offered CAFAA Nuts and Bolts Training in the fall and the CAFAA Professional Development Event in the spring.
  • Working with CESDA/TRIO Programs to continue to foster relationships-We are hoping to have our Financial Aid Awareness Committee put on a workshop for our CESDA/TRIO and High School Counselors yearly to keep them up-to-date on financial aid issues.
  • Monthly Blogs-CAFAA has monthly blogs available to both members and non-members. The blog is public, so if you would like to share on the CAFAA blog please email Cassandra Seamans.
  • Currently have FB, Instagram and Twitter pages-check it out!
  • New Website-Updates include a tiered membership directory, ease of registering for events, and a friendly view for non-members with access to view the board, the executive committee, and committee chairs.
  • Purchased a credit card square-This will allow members to pay at the conference with a credit card and can be used to bid on items for our Philanthropy project at the conference.
  • Purchased a music license-We can play music at our conference!
  • P&P and Bylaws have been updated-Our Past President and our Treasurer reviewed our P&P and Bylaws line by line to give them a good update.

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We have had a fun and productive year!

Eileen Griego
Emily Sams
Association News

emily sams

Kansas: State Update

Kansas held its 2017 Spring Conference in Topeka, KS this April on KASFAA’s Easy Street.  Organizers were pleased with the turnout of the spring training event especially since there won’t be a fall event in lieu of the RMASFAA annual conference in Wichita this October.


Over 20 people took advantage of the NASFAA Student Eligibility credentialing opportunity, bringing the total number to around 50 people who have done so.   RMASFAA President, Vicki Kucera came to Kansas to present a workshop about Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Two guest presenters were invited to speak, Jared Estes and Mea Austin.  Jared Estes presented about overcoming massive personal tragedy and Mea Austin spoke about tools to achieve personal and professional goals.

The secret speakeasy raised $1200-$1300 for KASFAA scholarships for members to attend Summer Institute.  Knowing the secret code got you in the door to the awards banquet but it would cost you unless you knew someone who knew someone.  Attendees were so generous, they were able to offer two additional scholarships.

These folks were able to attend Summer Institute!

Kristine Bryant – Benedictine
Jordan Boyles – Washburn
Kay Gordon – Allen CC
Kimberly Cashman – Cloud CC
Tegan Perry – Wichita State
Summer Bond – KCKCC

Don’t forget to tune into RMASFAA Wichita in October!

Dani Reynolds
Association News Committee-Kansas


Wyoming: State Update

feelin the love

Wyoming financial aid administrators were Feelin’ the Love at the WyASFAA annual conference April 27-28, 2017 in Cheyenne. Despite Wyoming’s usual late spring snow that delayed some arrivals and a falling rock event (no, really!), we had 34 attendees and enjoyed a day and a half of great sessions by WyASFAA members and guest presenters.

A house-sized boulder fell near the edge of U.S. Highway 20/Wyoming 789 causing Northwest College conference attendees to have a two-hour detour home.  Photo courtesy of WYDOT.

The annual Hathaway Scholarship Meeting on April 26 served as our pre-conference event. Institutional Hathaway Coordinators, financial aid directors and other staff met with Education Consultants from the Wyoming Department of Education’s Hathaway Scholarship Program to discuss best practices and learn about new legislation impacting the program. Staff from Wyoming’s Community College Commission also participated in the event.

Nicole Castillon discusses 399 codes.

The main conference started with a discussion about dealing with conflicting info; Nicole Castillon from Western Wyoming College moderated the Crazy About That 399 Code session, but put her audience at ease by providing bubbles. Just like a bubble is temporary—it pops and is gone—the 399 Code is only around for one year.

Next, Kelcie Hamilton and Susan Stephenson, both from Eastern Wyoming College, presented general info, best practices and specific school examples during Infatuated with Consumer Info. They tried to lighten the mood of such a heavy topic with funny videos and memes. Both presenters have NASFAA U credentials in Consumer Info.

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Joe Donlay clears up confusion about calculating subsidized loan limits.

We were delighted to welcome guest presenter Joe Donlay, Past-President of RMASFAA, again this year. Joe used his stellar presentation skills and calming tone to make us all Starry-Eyed over SULA.

Following lunch, guest presenter Tammy Shroeder shared her passion for high quality education by giving an upbeat interpretation of Gazing Ahead at the Future of Education in Wyoming. Tammy provided a broad perspective on the state’s education — she’s been a classroom teacher, previously worked for the state Department of Education, was recently elected to the Albany County School Board, has a daughter participating in the Fulbright exchange program and just completed law school herself.

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Joe Massman engages the audience during the federal update.

After a morning of heavy topics, Julie Wilson from Laramie County Community College lightened the mood in the afternoon with her Five Love Languages of the Workplace. Her colleague and GEAR UP Program Manager at LCCC joined us the following morning for FA Loves GU, a session on how the GEAR UP program helps their students and financial aid administrators .

Joe Massman, Training Officer for the U.S. Department of Education, gave attendees the gift of a Heart-Shaped Box of Assorted Title IV Topics. We were delighted to have Joe participate for the whole conference, contributing insight and answering questions during other sessions, partaking in our evening award banquet and providing a second session, Feeling a Fondness for a Federal Update, during the last day of the conference.

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Vicki Kucera gives a RMASFAA update.

RMASFAA President Vicki Kucera shared her passion for RMASFAA, encouraging members to become active in volunteering and participating in all of the great things RMASFAA has to offer such as Summer Institute, annual conference, and Leadership Pipeline. She gave updates on what she and her Board have been working on so far this year. We were pleased Vicki came for the whole conference to contribute her ideas and to share her experience with us.

The first day ended with the awards banquet and the traditional “passing of the tomahawk” (we apparently don’t use gavels in Wyoming…) to the new officers. Susan Stephenson from EWC took over as president from Julie Wilson; Brenda Haseman from the Northern Wyoming Community College District is giving DeeAnna Archuleta from Western Wyoming College a break from Treasurer Duties, and Tasha Plumb from Central Wyoming College is continuing for another year as Secretary.

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Julie Wilson thanks Kathryn DeWitt for her work on WyASFAA’s website this past year.

The day-and-a-half conference ended with the annual Business Meeting. Members agreed that they have a lot of work to do this year to get back on track after a difficult year with budget cuts, staff and association member turnover, and a general loss of focus. Some of our goals for the year are to look at our mission to see if it is still appropriate to our organization, then creating a Strategic Long-Range Plan. We also need to revise our Bylaws, a task that has been on the “to-do list” for several years, and align WyASFAA’s P&P with the revised bylaws. We plan to continue with and enhance our Wyoming High School Counselors Workshop, revise our website, look for ways to encourage and retain associate members, and remain a strong, viable state association.

Attendees listen attentively to a session.


Susan Stephenson, WyASFAA President
Kelcie Hamilton, Association News

Kelcie Hamilton

Utah: State Update

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UASFAA held its Spring 2017 Conference April 13-14, 2017 at Utah State University in beautiful Logan, Utah.  Meet the Challenge was the motto, as we all know we meet challenges professionally and personally on a daily basis.

Challenge #1 was met by having Joe Massman, the Department of Education trainer attend. He was gracious enough to present multiple breakout sessions: Calendar, Modules and Title IV; R2T4 for Modules in Terms, and the Federal Update.  As is demonstrated in our offices frequently, meeting the challenge with federal regulations is in constant flux; UASFAA’s members are thankful Mr. Massman was able to attend and present.

Challenge #2 was met by having multiple regulatory breakout sessions by our current members; 1718 verification and 399 comment codes, Current issues in Federal Work Study programs, EFC/Needs analysis, Consumer Information and Cash Management.  The RMASFAA Update was represented by Joe Donlay, who also presented on Consumer Information.

Challenge #3 was met by having sessions devoted to best practices in our offices; 5 must have for modern financial aid offices, Taking a Step Up (dealing with minority, DACA, and refugee students), Repayment plans, Fraud protection, Financial literacy, State-funded Financial Aid programs, and best practices surrounding PPY, PJ and Marital Status Changes.

Challenge #4 was met with the changing of UASFAA Leadership and our annual business luncheon. The new president is Jared Hallows, an Information Specialist at Southern Utah University.

UASFAA has committed to host annual fall trainings. In Fall 2016 UASFAA held a NASFAA U Sponsored Event, training 85 members to become credentialed in two topics (verification and SAP).  Fall training will continue as NASFAA U Sponsored Events in an effort to keep each other well prepared for the challenges ahead.

UASFAA members and conference participants are grateful for the continued support of RMASFAA.