Kickin’ It Old School with WyASFAA

WyASFAA 2018 Conference                                    Old School

WyASFAA rocked it the “old school” way at its annual spring conference April 26 and 27 in Casper, WY at Casper College. We had an excellent turnout with 42 attendees and some new presenters to our organization. As has been the case the last few years, we had our annual Hathaway Scholarship Program meeting on April 25, followed by our Financial Aid Directors meeting. During the directors meeting, we were able to collaborate (commiserate) together on challenges we all felt, specifically pertaining to the upcoming GLBA and GDPR requirements. We were fortunate to have a Vice President of Student Services from Laramie County Community College (LCCC), who serves as an advocate for us, join us briefly to help take some of concerns to the other VPs and hopefully college presidents.

The WyASFAA conference kicked off Thursday morning with some networking and getting physical! Feedback from last year showed interest in an icebreaking event, so Shannon Eskam of Casper College created and moderated “Human Bingo.” Attendees were given a bingo card with information about various WyASFAA members gleaned from our monthly newsletters in each square. Participants had to find people in the room who matched each fact and get them to initial the square to get a Bingo or blackout. This allowed attendees to get out of their seats and circulate the room. More importantly, it allowed everyone to meet each other in a new, fun way. To tie into the theme, Shannon used an old school overhead projector to give directions to the attendees.

Natalie Pique from Casper’s Educational Opportunity Center followed the first session with an informative presentation on the services that TRiO can provide, from paying for placement tests to helping complete a FAFSA.Scott McFarland

First-time WyASFAA presenter Scott McFarland from Central Wyoming College highlighted some ch-ch-changes we’ve seen with the implementation of Year-Round Pell. His presentation gave some institutional best practices, answered Colleague system questions, and set the tone for the federal update we received later in the conference.

For the first time we welcomed a remote presenter from Southern Utah University, Jared Hallows, who discussed cybersecurity in financial aid. Jared’s presentation was very informative and provided some great insight to the issues that surround us regarding keeping student information safe.

RMASFAA President Ken Kocer showed us “how all the cool kids are doing it” with his regional update. He shared RMASFAA’s goals and current projects, and asked for feedback from our state.

StatueNick Whipps, Special Populations Coordinator from Casper College, was the last presenter before lunch. Nick discussed his work with the college’s veteran students and how he has worked to ensure their success. He also encouraged all attendees to view the Eyes of Freedom memorial that was on the college campus. This traveling art exhibit is a tribute to the Marines and Navy Corpsman of Lima Company: 23 men who sacrificed their lives and served our nation.

Following lunch and keeping with the jam-packed schedule, Special Agent Sandra Ennis from the Office of Inspector General gave a fascinating presentation with riveting case examples on detecting and deterring financial aid fraud. This was another first for the conference, as an individual from OIG has never joined us before.

Department of Education Trainer Joe Massman joined us next for the “hot topics” update on Year-Round Pell. He provided the legislative background as well as detailed examples of situations we might encounter. We always enjoy having Joe join our group!

Nick Whipps and Kat Bohr-Buresh, both from Casper College, detailed the partnership that Casper College created this year between the Adult Learning Center and International Student Services, and gave tips on engaging and involving these students in various campus activities.

Another first-time presenter was Shelby Garner of Casper College. Following some goals she set for herself stemming from the completion of RMASFAA’s Leadership Pipeline program, Shelby presented on her contribution to implementing a “Tales with Tails” event among the Casper College Financial Aid office, library and the Humane Society. The event helps the FAO meet the literacy requirements for the FWS program, helps develop children’s reading skills, and benefits animals at the Humane Society with socialization skills, hopefully promoting earlier adoption. The results of the pilot program are promising!

Affiliate Member Julie Wilson of Ferrilli Technology Consultants gave an enlightening presentation on data security issues, “A Data Breach Caused the Explosion of the Death Star…” She was able to help explain what the new GLBA audit requirements may include and how to prepare.

Day one ended with members getting crazy at a wonderful dinner and banquet—all 80’s themed, of course—for which our totally tubular group dressed to impress! Susan Stephenson passed the tomahawk (we apparently don’t have gavels in Wyoming) to incoming president Shannon Eskam during the event. Brenda Haseman of the Northern Wyoming Community College District will continue as Treasurer and Shelby Garner of Casper College began her term as Secretary. Scott McFarland of Central Wyoming College is the President-Elect.Shannon

Friday began with a “Kingdomality” personality profile test from Shannon Eskam that helped the group learn their “place in the Kingdom” and was correlated with how to work with others in the office who may work, think, and act differently than you.

Joe Massman then engaged the group with his Federal Update, providing timely statutory and regulatory updates as well as general program guidance, security reminders and upcoming training opportunities.

Joanne Theobald of Casper College presented on Mindfulness and Meditation, which was a great way for everyone to “take a chill pill” and learn some techniques on de-stressing by managing their focus.



For the first time in known history, WyASFAA followed RMASFAA’s lead and chose to do a philanthropy project this year rather than exchanging school gifts. Seton House emergency shelter was chosen not only because of their focus on providing assistance to for homeless single parents and their children, but for their focus on education as a means to self-sufficiency. Deanna Frey, Seton House’s Executive Director, joined us at the end of day two to showcase the offerings that the organization provides and to accept the items donated. In all, members donated more than $325 in monetary funds and enough food and household items (including a new vacuum) to fill a van. We are so proud of our state!

The conference wrapped up with the annual Business Meeting, during which we discussed goals we met the past year and new goals we’d like to achieve this upcoming year. Some of these include working on our mission and long-range plan, updating our P&P, and encouraging volunteerism on committees, among others. We have a great group of individuals in the state and we look forward for the year to come! For more conference info, committee reports and tons more photos, go to: Scroll down for the gallery and click on individual pics to see both “old school” and “new school” full views of members!

-Submitted by Shannon Eskam and Susan Stephenson

State Update: North Dakota


The North Dakota Association of Financial Aid Administrators set sail and Cruised the Seas of Change April 11-13 anchoring themselves in Fargo for the annual NDASFAA Spring Conference. Our cruise agenda was full. Experienced seamen, DOE Trainer Rick Renshaw, guided us through sessions on Federal Update, Summer PELL Grant, and Administering Adds, Drops, and Withdrawals. First mate, RMASFAA president Ken Kocer kept us engaged in all that is happening within RMASFAA.

Our training also reminded us to remember the story of the Easter Ham, that there is life after program review, and six-sigma can work for financial aid too!


Our annual philanthropic project was another great success. This year’s recipient, Imagine Thriving, is a free resource for kids, teens, parents and educators that empowers mental wellness through education and awareness. Imagine Thriving taught us that one of the barriers to connecting kids and teens to needed mental health services is transportation. Members were encouraged to donate in increments equal to one ride or, in our case, one taxi on the wall. Look at all those taxis!


At our annual business meeting, the gavel passed from Lindsey Benson NDASFAA Past President (Minot State University) to Karrie Huber (University of Mary) NDASFAA President. Committee members presented updates and an amendment to the NDASFAA By-Laws was approved.

NDASFAA elected Chris Meek (Dickinon State University) president elect, re-elected Judy Hagar (University of Jamestown) secretary, and elected Amanda Woidyla (Bank of North Dakota) as associate at large.

Before our cruise ended, we took time to celebrate at our annual awards banquet. One of the greatest gifts our spring conference offered was the chance to re-connect with old friends and honor colleagues for their service.

Large Group




North Dakota is thrilled to host this year’s RMASFAA Conference, October 7-10 in Fargo, ND. Please mark your calendar and be checking your email for more information. We look forward to celebrating 50 years of RMASFAA with you!

Karrie Huber, NDASFAA President, University of Mary

State Update: Kansas

What were the high points of the KASFAA Conference? 
We again were fortunate enough to have a Department of Education trainer attend our event to host a couple of the training sessions.  From NASFAA,  we had Stephan Payne attend the conference and Ken from RMASFAA.  KASFAA was also fortunate to secure the services of U.S. House of Representatives member Ron Estes from the Wichita District.  Our theme was Financial Aid Master,  a grilling theme.
Our speaker at lunch was Ardie Davis,  a well-known judge on the barbecue circuit and is the founder of the American Royal International BBQ Sauce, Rub, & Baste Contest. He has been awarded several honors for his involvement judging barbecue competitions, including being inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2016.
We did session evaluations online for the first time.  We hosted a movie night after day one and a cork and canvas event,  this was a chance for about 50 members to get do some water color paintings while having a few cold ones.  🙂
What are the challenges for KASFAA this year?
Hosting one conference/training instead of our normal two since we were the host state for RMASFAA.
Where did KASFAA shine?
We were the host of RMASFAA for 2017 and many members pitched in to help make sure that we Kansas put forth its best to show the region what we have to offer.
What’s next up for training in Kansas?
We are moving to a drive through training module and will begin hosting those in Sept and we will host 3 others at different locations in the State.
-Nathan Buche was able to give us updates from the KASFAA Conference.

State Update: Montana

“Under the Big Sky”


Montana Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) recently marked its 50 year anniversary which celebrated by all at the annual conference held in Great Falls, MT March 21-23, 2018.  As always the conference was a great opportunity to catch up colleagues and friends, old and new.  Some of the highlights from the conference include federal training from our buddy Joe Massman from the Department of Education, a number of presentations, and our banquet.  We were also honored to have our RMASFAA President Ken Kocer in attendance; he sent the following letter:

It was my pleasure and honor to attend the MASFAA 2018 Conference and celebrate 50 years of MASFAA excellence.  I was able to attend the MASFAA Director’s Meeting and receive insights on the issues and challenges which the Montana schools are facing.  I also received some excellent feedback on the Regional/National collaboration model which NASFAA had offered to RMASFAA.  The directors’ views on where RMASFAA should be concentrating our efforts and relationships between RMASFAA, the member states and NASFAA were very valuable in future planning.
Cindy Kiefer extended a kind invitation for me to join the MASFAA Board Meeting and I was able to witness the MASFAA Board in action.  What a wonderful group of talented and dedicated leaders.  Along with a long list of association topics, it was exciting to hear the plans for the RMASFAA 2019 Conference in Billings.
Then it was on to the conference.  The Conference Committee did a terrific job of putting together a well-balanced agenda packed full of information and best practices.  MASFAA was the first state conference that I attended as RMASFAA President and I couldn’t have asked for a warmer and kinder reception.  Even though my trivia team tied for last place during the 50th Anniversary activities, it was an amazing event.  Thank you MASFAA for all the input you provided for Cindy, as your MASFAA President and me.  We will bring your input to the RMASFAA Board.  My time with you was a wonderful experience.
All my best,
Ken Kocer
RMASFAA President

Some of the other presentations included a NASFAA update from the keynote speaker, Tammy Lacey, Superintendent of Great Falls Public Schools spoke to the partnership between the public schools and financial aid. Speaker Mark Kantrowitz, a renowned expert on student financial aid, discussed current trends in higher education.

Additional highlights for the state of Montana from our new President Danielle Dinges:

I was the only person from Montana that attended the NASFAA Leadership Conference at the end of February.  It was a great opportunity to meet with all of Montana’s representatives in DC.  I was able to speak with them about what Montanan’s thought of the PROSPER act.  We shared with Senator Tester’s office the number of students in Montana that would be impacted if SEOG were to be cut as a funding source.  I was only able to get actual face time with Senator Daines. He was very impressed with the work that we all our doing throughout the state. He seemed very interested in coming to visit Dawson Community College.  I’m now hoping to get him to come over to Miles Community College.  During the two days that were spent in sessions, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information that was presented.  I never realized how much actually went into running a non-profit association.  I was able to connect with others from around the country to see what they are doing in their state.  It brought to light a lot of things that MASFAA can be working on to be a better and strong association.

New and Noteworthy:

Bozeman is gearing up to host the 2019 State Conference while Billings with the help from around the state is under way in planning the 2019 RMASFAA Conference.  The gavel or in our case, the pink boa and scepter were passed from Cindy Kiefer after her wonderful year of service as president to Danielle Dinges.  These will look simply fabulous on Kent McGowan next year when he begins his reign.  Rumor has it that a pink tutu will be added.

The following is a recognition of the Montana Folks that are participating on the state, regional and national levels of our Associations for the 2017-2018 year.


Board of Directors

President: Cindy Kiefer
Past President: Emily Williamson
President-Elect: Danielle Dinges
Vice President / Secretary: Julie Watson
Treasurer: Emily Linn
Member-at-Large: Ellen Smith
Member-at-Large; Diane Llewellyn
Associate Member: Mary Howard

Board changes going for 2018-2019: President-Elect: Kent McGowan; President: Danielle Dinges; Past President: Cindy Kiefer; Member-at-Large: Justin Beach

And it is with heart felt sadness and deepest appreciation that we must bid farewell to Mary Howard who is moving on to new adventures.  We will miss you Mary and wish you all the best!

Financial Aid Professional of the Year: Nancy Hanchett, Flathead Valley Community College


Summer Institute Committee – James Broscheit
Board of Directors Secretary – Leslie Olson
Board of Directors Montana Representative- Cindy Kiefer
Leadership Pipeline Program Chair- Janet Riis
Leadership Pipeline Committee – Shauna Savage
Leadership Pipeline Mentors – Jessica Francischetti & Kent McGowan
Leadership Pipeline Mentees – Justin Beach & Karina Moulton
Association News Committee – Julie Watson
Diversity and Multicultural Initiatives Committee – Beverly Lammey
Membership – Alexa Freeburg
Membership Committee – Danielle Dinges
Training Committee – Valerie Curtin
Conference 2019 Co-Chairs – Shauna Savage & Emily Williamson

Julie Watson
Assistant Director
Montana State University
Association News Committee Member

“Montana, The last best place”
-William Kittredge
University of Montana
Missoula, MT

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!?

ND 1

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.

ND 5

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.

ND 6

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.

ND 7

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

ND 8

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