Distinguished Service Award- Pat McTee

Continuing with our RMASFAA Distinguished Service Award series. Throughout the series we will be asking past recipients of this award to share their stories and experiences with RMASFAA. The next post in this series features Pat McTee, Director of Student Success Services at American Indian College Fund.


McTee-97669 cropped


What does receiving the Distinguished Service Award mean to you?

Being recognized for one’s contributions is a special honor, but when that recognition comes from your peers it’s much more special.  When looking over the list of recipients it strikes me as to how many of them I have looked up to with awe over the years.  It’s very humbling to now see my name besides theirs on the list.

What was your first experience with RMASFAA?

Quite honestly I don’t recall my first RMASFAA experience.  It’s been a few years.  I became a RMASFAA member when I moved to Nebraska to work at the University of Nebraska Kearney.  Getting involved with the Nebraska association introduced me to many amazing financial aid professionals, and quite a few were very involved with RMASFAA.  It seemed only natural to follow their example, and it only took a few years before I was helping with my first RMASFAA Summer Institute in 1988.  Since then I’ve either been on the committee or served as faculty for about 15 Summer Institutes.

If someone was interested in joining RMASFAA, what would be a few things you would suggest?

I made a career move that took me away from RMASFAA for about 7 years.  During that time I was involved with the Midwest region (MASFAA).  It’s a good association but nothing like RMASFAA.  The conferences, summer institutes, training, and camaraderie provided by RMASFAA are second to none.  Join and get involved!

When an Assistant Director at one of the schools I worked at was retiring after over 20 years in financial aid, she commented to me that her only regret was that she had not gotten involved with either RMASFAA or the state association sooner.  I worked with her for only 5 years and encouraged her to attend meetings and become involved during that time. She commented on how much she grew professionally and personally just as a result of those few years.  I’m confident that if she had been involved for her whole career that she would have been one of RMASFAA’s top leaders.

What’s the best thing to happen since you started working with RMASFAA?

I’d have to say that without a doubt the best part about involvement with RMASFAA is the connections I’ve made throughout the years with other financial aid professionals all across the country.  I have an amazing peer support network that’s both professionally and personally important to me.  The opportunity to work with these amazing individuals, ranging from a brief phone call to a DC committee trip to the hill, has been awesome.  To be able to call many of them friends and laugh and cry through life with them has also been invaluable.

Get involved!  You’ll never regret it!

Leadership Pipeline: Beth Vollan

Continuing the Leadership Pipeline series. The eight participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s professional development program.




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

I am an assistant director of financial aid at South Dakota State University.  I started out 23 years ago at NSLP (now Inceptia) as a claim reviewer.  I held positions as a loan discharge specialist and student loan ombudsman before making the switch to the school-side 7 years ago.

Who is your Leadership Pipeline mentor and describe your relationship with them?

My mentor is Joe Donlay. Joe exemplifies great leadership.  He is approachable, self-sacrificing, and a great listener.  Joe and I have monthly phone conversations, and I am always grateful for his perspective and candor.  Having a mentor to go to for guidance and advice is one of the best things about Leadership Pipeline.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

I was asked to take on a leadership role in my state organization, and I didn’t feel prepared for the task.  I thought Leadership Pipeline would provide me with the tools and resources that I needed to be a more effective contributor and help me feel comfortable in a leadership role.

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

In one of our first meetings, we talked about servant leadership.  The conversation really helped me see leadership is less about being assertive, decisive, and a good public speaker and more about listening and giving back.

What is it that you are hoping to come away with at the end of the program?

I have met some amazing people through this program, and I hope to have a lasting network of peers and mentors who I can connect with in the future.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

Leadership Pipeline is a great way to learn about our profession, meet people, and develop leadership skills.  It is also a lot of fun!  I think we are really lucky that our regional association provides a leadership/mentoring program.

399 Pinata Palooza

As the bulk of the 399 nastiness came to an end recently, a few financial aid employees at Brigham Young University in Utah decided to celebrate by taking out their frustrations in a lively manner.

Only a few people were maimed by candy projectiles, but it was totally worth it to get out months of pent-up stress!


How has your office celebrated/de-stressed?



Eleanor Roberts
Association News Chair

Our Outstanding Committees – Leadership Pipeline

Amazing!  That is the word that I would use to describe the 2016-2017 RMASFAA Leadership Pipeline mentors, mentees, and committee members.

Leadership Pipeline 2016

Our journey with the current Leadership Pipeline group began in Rapid City, SD with a welcome that ended up being very impromptu but so fun also!  The mentees and mentors attended one session together and had a few meet up times to help get to know one another and to do some networking together.  The full program started off just as the conference ended with great sessions on leadership skills, advocating for students, managing and organizing personal technology and so much more!

After the conference the mentees and mentors had assignments to complete each month.  They could choose to meet once per month or twice per month whichever worked better for them.  Each mentee facilitated a discussion on one of the chapters from the “You’re the Director” NASFAA book with the entire group.  Every mentee was so well prepared and the discussions were so informative!  Along with these assignments, every mentee also contributed to the RMASFAA blog in the “Getting to Know You” series.

It will be a proud moment to honor each of the mentees when they graduate from Leadership Pipeline during the Fall Conference 2017 in Wichita, KS.  The 2016-2017 graduates are:

Shelby Garner, Casper College, WY
Brenda Haseman, Northern Wyoming Community College District, WY
Darcy Johnson, Emporia State University, KS
Katie Nelson, Black Hills State University, SD
Dani Reynolds, Newman University, KS
Hayley Shipton, University of Utah, UT
Beth Vollan, South Dakota State, SD
Kelly Whittekiend, Dixie Applied Technology College

Before we get to honor these graduates, we will be welcoming our new 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline mentors and mentees.  They are in for an equally exciting ride through the next year when they attend the Fall Conference in Wichita and begin their journey.  The new 2017-2018 RMASFAA Leadership Pipeline mentors and mentees are:

Jessica Francisschetti (MT) – Crystal Roach (KS)
Kent McGowan (MT) – Micah Hansen (SD)
Jenny Lee Adler (CO) – Steve Enriquez (KS)
Rob Drybread (CO) – Ashley Stevenson (UT)
Sara Vancil (KS) – Karina Moulton (MT)
Cindy Hejl (CO) – Justin Beach (MT)
Lois Madsen (KS) – Bailey Jorgensen (NE)
Art Young (UT) – Jana Parks (KS)
Dori Roth (KS) – Sarah Standley (NE)
Sheelu Surender (KS) – Carissa Koerner (SD)

Shauna Savage
Shauna Savage
Assistant Director, Financial Aid
Montana Tech

7 Ideas to Boost Your SAP Communication Strategy


7 Ideas to Boost Your SAP Communication Strategy

Want to beef up your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) communication strategy for students?  Consider one or more of these tips for students on Financial Aid Warning or Financial Aid Probation:

  1. Send notification via more than one method (i.e., email, snail mail, and notifications in your student information system) to notify students on Financial Aid Warning or who are disqualified for financial aid because they failed to meet SAP. This emphasizes that the school wants the student to understand this important information.
  2. During the first 2 weeks of the enrollment period, remind them of the student success services on campus. Highlight tutoring, learning communities, disability resources, library hours, and more.
  3. Monitor if these students drop classes and re-direct them to academic counseling. Intervention is key.  You want to ensure that they don’t falter again, so point them in the direction of someone who may be able to help them keep the course load they need to maintain SAP.
  4. Consider adding a Financial Literacy Component to a SAP Academic Plan. You have an excellent opportunity to provide students with a series of recommendations and pertinent information by personalizing academic plans for students on Financial Aid Probation.  Suggest completion of the Department of Education’s Financial Awareness Counseling Tool on studentloans.gov, an online financial literacy workshop, or completing a GPA or budget calculator.
  5. Prior to midterms, cheer them on. Congratulate them on their success thus far.  Summarize student success services that can help them prepare for mid-terms and gently remind them of the consequences of failure. This is also a great opportunity to remind students to make an appointment with your office if they have any questions or concerns regarding their current progress towards reestablishing SAP standards.
  6. Remind them they are on home stretch prior to finals. Inspire them to maintain their academic progress.  Consider an inspirational message from your institution’s President, a Dean, or the Director of Financial Aid.  It’s also another great opportunity to recap the student success services.
  7. Congratulate those who make it. When you run SAP again, make certain that you “high five” those students who succeeded.  Let them know that the financial aid team supports their educational goals.


If you are looking for more ideas about how to successfully communicate about SAP, then join FATV’s free webinar entitled, You Don’t Know SAP! Effective Strategies for Student Communications and Policy Development on October 18 at  12:00 PM MST.


Register:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/124810344698546691


Dianne Fulmer
Director School Partnerships