From the desk of the President…

Can you believe that 2018 is coming to a close? Where did the time go? As I look back over 2018 and remember all that I “Got to Do”… it was a pretty amazing year.

Here are some of my highlights:


Summer Institute – Even though I had to miss it (for my daughter’s wedding), the SI Committee put on an incredible week of training at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. I am always in awe of everyone in our profession who “show up” and are willing share their knowledge, expertise, support, and friendship with so many who are just entering our profession. The move to Colorado Springs provided 114 students with the opportunity to learn from some of the best, meet new people, and make life-long friendships. Once again we utilized the NASFAA University materials and offered faculty/students the opportunity to earn NASFAA credentials. The results were a success: 130 individuals drew down 276 exams and 212 exams were passed. Great job SI committee! Don’t forget to put SI on your calendar for June 2-9, 2019 – Colorado College, Colorado Springs.

Annual Conference – we were North of Normal in Fargo, North Dakota. The conference committee did a great job providing us with an amazing conference and learning environment. The conference was kicked off with our 50th Anniversary Banquet and a walk down memory lane. Our opening speaker spoke about “Creating Community “, we heard about what NASFAA is doing, what is happening inside the Beltway, and received updates from the Department of Education. NASFAA also announced that Joe Massman would be joining the NASFAA team and this would be his last RMASFAA conference presenting as a Department of Education trainer. Congrats Joe!

My first transitional board meetings were held and I can confidently say we are in in good hands. I am looking forward to the upcoming year as RMASFAA President; it will be exciting, productive, and very rewarding. President-Elect James Broscheit is currently working to finalize committee vice-chairs and volunteers to fill the committees. RMASFAA members are top-notch when it comes to volunteering and getting the job done for our wonderful organization.

In November, I traveled to Scottsdale, AZ and attended my first NASFAA Board meeting as an observer. Past-President Ken Kocer serves as our Regional Representative during this coming year and after the 2019 NASFAA Conference, I will bgroupecome an actual board member – moving out of the peanut gallery!! RMASFAA is well represented on the NASFAA board – Ken Kocer – regional representative, Brenda Hicks – representative at large, and Art Young – commission director. Watching the board in action confirmed to me that RMASFAA members are an incredible group inside our region and beyond. Justin Draeger (NASFAA President) announced a possible opportunity to meet with Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, at the FSA conference in Atlanta. Ken Kocer and I were part of the group who did meet with the Secretary and her staff. This was definitely a great experience and opportunity as I prepare to serve as RMASFAA’s representative on the board after the NASFAA conference in Orlando.

I cannot say it enough, I am truly honored to have been chosen to represent RMASFAA as your regional President, and I am looking forward to the amazing year that will unfold in front of us. Your dedication and willingness to “show up” for our profession, our organization, and our students is leaps and bounds above others. Thank you for being you and all you do. 2019 will be here and well underway before we realize it! I will leave you with the following thought: “My life is a gift not an obligation and I get to make the most of it.” – Jon Gordon

Embrace your gifts and enjoy your journey. See you all in 2019.Myra Pfannenstiel President Elect

Myra Pfannenstiel, RMASFAA President

Call for Volunteers!


Sign me up to help!

Below you will find a description of RMASFAA’s committees. If you have never considered, have considered, or have served, here is a chance to get engaged or stay engaged in your regional association. What we would love to have is the problem of placing you. We have some, we can always use more. Many volunteers often reflect that getting involved not only positively impacts their life but the lives of others as well. Use the gifts you have in service to others. This is a great place to start. Give it a thought; submit a form today.

Association News – This committee keeps the RMASFAA blog up to date and looks for members to share their impressions of the things happening in their states. Expect to interview a few people for interesting blog posts. All meetings will happen remotely so this is a good committee for someone who wants to get involved but can’t commit to a lot of in-person projects.

Conference – If you’re in Montana (or close to it) and want to get involved in helping to put on an amazing 2019 conference in Billings, this is the committee for you. They are looking for people to help with publicity, registration, materials, coordinating and finding trainers, curriculum, entertainment, decorations and site arrangements.

Corporate Support – This committee reaches out to the corporate members to help with advertising and exhibitions. If you’re interested in enhancing the association member experience, this might be the committee for you.

Diversity & Multicultural Initiatives – This committee addresses the needs of our diverse membership. If you have seen a place where RMASFAA can work to become more inclusive of our underrepresented membership, please volunteer for this one.

Leadership Pipeline – If you’re passionate about professional development, check out Leadership Pipeline. Leadership Pipeline has recently switched from a biennial program to annually, so there will always be plenty of interesting conversations.

Membership – If you want to meet new people, this is the one for you. Membership helps with recruiting new members and checking in on the existing ones.

Summer Institute – If you’ve been to one of our Summer Institutes, you know how many people are involved to make sure the event is a positive educational experience for everyone. They are looking for people to help with publicity, registration, materials, coordinating and finding trainers, curriculum, entertainment, and site arrangements.

Training – The goal of the Training committee is to make a robust calendar of training events available for RMASFAA members.

Volunteer now!

Faces of Leadership Pipeline: Class of 2019

The Exchange Blog will post monthly mentee blogs from the Leadership Pipeline: Class of 2019 throughout the year.

This month’s mentee is Tabitha Haynes. Tabitha is at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her mentor is Chelsey Springer from the University of Utah.

What is your current position and how long have you worked in financial aid?

Hi everyone!  My name is Tabitha Haynes and I am a Financial Aid Advisor in the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am one of the “faces” of our office. I get to meet with students daily, answer all of their questions, and be a support figure in their financial aid journeys. While I have only been in my current position for a little over two years, my financial aid experience began while I was still an undergraduate. I was able to work for Nelnet for three years while I was in school and after I graduated. I gained a boatload of knowledge about the federal loan system and it helped in my transition to higher education administration.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I had the opportunity to attend Summer Institute this year, after graciously being awarded a scholarship through my state association, NeASFAA. It was really a life-changing experience. Before going, I was unsure of whether or not financial aid was going to be my permanent home. SI afforded me the ability to network, learn, and decide that I was going to stay put. When I returned home, I inquired with a colleague who was in Leadership Pipeline this past year and she really encouraged me to apply. LP appeared to be a great “next step” in developing my abilities to help students, and my colleagues.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?

I think that the greatest lesson I have learned so far is that we cannot succeed as leaders unless we are brave enough to put ourselves out there. Upon returning from RMASFAA in Fargo, ND, an opportunity presented itself to volunteer as a mentor for a specific scholarship program in Nebraska. I jumped right in.  I was unsure of how I could develop this relationship between myself and my mentee, but we clicked right from the start. Actually, the student didn’t want our first meeting to end. I felt so fulfilled that day and walked back to my office with a smile on my face. I have never been so brave to do these things until I came into contact with the colorful and bright leaders in the Pipeline, and I am so happy I did.

What is it that you are hoping to gain at the end of the program?  Personal goal?  Skill set?

I would love to develop as a leader, which is the whole point, right? I am not currently in a supervisory position, but many of my colleagues come to me with questions or concerns. I am hopeful that by the end of this year I can truly foster those relationships so that we can maximize our success as a team. I think being a leader means that you have the ability to encourage your teammates by finding the strengths within each one of them. 

Why would you recommend this program to others?

RMASFAA and the Leadership Pipeline specifically have allowed me to connect with individuals from all different backgrounds and positions. The Leadership Pipeline affords an individual who is passionate about helping students an opportunity to grow professionally so that maybe, that passion can have a larger impact. I really want to empower those around me to be the best financial aid professionals that they can be.

Tabitha Haynes Picture

My 2018 RMASFAA 50th Anniversary Experience


My 2018 50th Anniversary RMASFAA experience was great!  I had never been to Fargo, North Dakota.  I had seen the movie!  However, it was nothing like the movie.  I arrived on Saturday, October 6 to frigid temperatures for October.  I came prepared from Wichita, Kansas along with my co-workers (Donna Carter and Angie Zeorlin) with my coat and gloves!  We had checked out the temperature before we left.   I was pleasantly surprised of how the city reminded me of Wichita on my hotel shuttle ride from the airport to the beautiful Delta Hotel by Marriott.   The diverse hotel staff were warm, friendly and welcoming!   My co-workers and I enjoyed dressing up for the State pictures and the 50th Anniversary dinner.   The meal was delicious, and the keynote speaker Janet Dodson, provided invaluable information on the establishment of RMASFAA.  A fun fact, Idaho was out and Kansas joined RMASFAA in the late 1980’s.  I think?  I will let the RMASFAA Archivist committee set it straight 🙂  The sessions that I attended were also very insightful and informative…social media, SAP, Verification, Tax Transcripts and IRS DRT are still Hot Topics!!  Overall, I enjoyed the conference and look forward to serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  Fargo didn’t disappoint!  It even snowed on the last day of the conference!

–Karen Porter, 2018 Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Recipient

November’s Training Tip

RMASFAA Training Committee Training Tip

I suppose it’s due to the fond memories of the recent 2018 RMASFAA Fall Conference in Fargo, but when I was thinking of a topic for the Training Committee’s next training tip I kept coming back to the benefits of being involved in industry associations. So, this month’s training tip is to get involved in your state’s association, in RMASFAA, and in NASFAA.

There are many benefits to being involved in our associations, listed below are a few:

  • Expand your network – Developing professional relationships with others in financial aid is a great way to share ideas and learn best practices.
  • Learn new skills and gain professional experience – Our associations provide excellent and relevant training opportunities as well as volunteer opportunities, such as serving as a board member or a committee chair.
  • Find (or be) a mentor – We all need someone to turn to sometimes. And, sometimes we have knowledge we can share. This could be something informal with someone you’ve worked with on a committee or spent time with at a conference, or participating in something more structured like RMASFAA’s Leadership Pipeline or Summer Institute.
  • Enhance your reputation – Participating in a panel discussion or presenting at a conference or webinar will help you to be seen as an expert in financial aid and will help build your confidence in your own abilities.
  • Have a voice for advocacy – Our industry associations bring us together, turning many small voices into one collective, persuasive voice to help influence financial aid legislation.

Those are just a few of the benefits to being involved in financial aid associations. There’s no doubt you’ll experience many more. And don’t get me started on the benefits of volunteering, that’s a long list and a training topic for another day.


RMASFAA’s 2018 Honors Banquet Recipients


2018 Quarter Century Club Inductees:
Erin Anderson, Kansas City Kansas Community College
Stasi Bottinelli, Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology
Jan Burton, Ogden-Weber Technical College
Eric Cronkright, Colorado School of Mines
Robert Gamez, Kansas State University
Rheta McCammo, Utah Valley University
Jamie McEwen, Washburn University
Janet Riis, Carroll College
Suzanne Ruetschle, Fort Lewis College
Shauna Savage, Montana Tech of the University of Montana
Jed Spencer, Weber State University
Sunny Staninger, FATV
Ron Swartwood, Pikes Peak Community College
Jo Tederman, University of Nebraska Lincoln
Melissa Troyer, Southeast Community College – Lincoln

2018 Committee of the Year:               Finance and Audit Committee

2018 Oscar R Hendrix Award:            Shawn Rosaasen

2018 Distinguished Service Award:   Ruben Reyes, Becca Dobry

2018 Ron Smout Award:          Janet Riis

2018 Hall of Fame Award:       Jeff Jacobs