Powerlifting: My Stress Antidote By Jamie Davis


Every weekday morning I wake up at 4:30 AM, pick up my best friend and drive over to our local YMCA and we train our bodies to sometimes the point of exhaustion, and I absolutely love it! As unappealing as waking up at 4:30 AM sounds; it’s exactly how I cope and deal with stress. Being able to jump start my day with doing something I have grown to be so passionate about is so good for my soul. I love to lift, and I love to lift heavy. I started working out as a way to deal with the day to day grind. It was then I quickly realized that I am not a huge fan of running. When I was in high school and even throughout college, I considered myself an athlete and I was a farm girl, so I always felt strong. When family and kids came along, I kind of lost sight of that. About six months ago, I just stumbled into the world of powerlifting, which is funny, as that was how I got my start in financial aid.

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Reducing the Burden By Kathy Elsea

Good morning MASFAP and TGIF,fafsa verif

I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss the April 5, 2016 Dear Colleague Letter GEN-16-07:  2017-2018 Award Year:  FAFSA Information to be Verified and Acceptable Documentation. 

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Hill Day Happened Today! Check out some pics!

A proud day for MASFAP – a day full of meetings with key staff, a presentation to the Committee on Higher Education, talking about MASFAP to a lot of people… MASFAP’s Hill Day was a success! A summary of the day to come in the MASFAP Monitor, but for now here are a few pictures taken today!


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Ready to Challenge! By CortneyJo Sandidge

The MASFAP Money Challenge – College Edition is now available!  After a successful year of piloting our new financial literacy program for college students, it is ready for all!  The toolkit with all documents necessary to run an awesome MASFAP Money Challenge (MMC) workshop will be available for download on for MASFAP members by the end of the first week of April.  The MMC comes just in time to end the Spring 2016 semester with prepping your graduating seniors for life after college.  The MMC is designed for college students to practice budgeting for their first year after college.  They will be given a career based off their major, a beginning salary and several options to choose from such as housing, transportation, food, entertainment, repayment plans for student loans, etc.  As the Early Awareness Committee learned, it is a great way to get students thinking about financial responsibility in a different and fun way. 

 If you are interested in scheduling an event on your campus before this semester ends, a host instruction guide will be available in the toolkit to get you started!  The MASFAP Money Challenge is also a great way to build partnerships with other constituents on campus.  Connect with your other colleagues and plan a fun event!  The Early Awareness Committee will also be available to assist as needed!

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Experience MASFAP Hill Day By Valerie Moersch

 (L to R: Frederick staffer, Valerie Moersch (S&T), Tracy Wilson (S&T), Rep. Keith Frederick)

MASFAP Hill Day 2015
(L to R: Frederick staffer, Valerie Moersch (S&T), Tracy Wilson (S&T), Rep. Keith Frederick)

Behind the enormous bronze doors that had an eventful journey to Missouri from Brooklyn, the business of the Show-Me State unfolds during each legislative session.  Few Missourians know that the bronze doors actually went missing during World War I when the U.S. War Department had the authority to stop any train, unload the cargo, and reload it with U.S. Army supplies.  Thus began a search for the missing doors.  It wasn’t until a year later that they arrived in Jefferson City by train, completely unannounced, and no one ever learned where they had spent that year.  Today, those huge doors welcome visitors atop the Capitol’s front steps.  The question of which is the front and back of the Capitol is another story altogether!  On the inside, we can admire the breathtaking murals or be intrigued by the fascinating Whisper Gallery high in the dome; the Missouri State Capitol is a stunning structure, deemed the most elegant of the 50 states.  Most importantly, however, it is where the laws and business of our great state takes shape.

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Making a Difference by Jennifer Haynes

making a difference

Ever heard of food insecurity and/or housing insecurity?

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Credentialing Sessions Announced By Crystal Bruntz


We’ve already started off 2016 off with a bang! On Tuesday, March 1st and Wednesday, March 2nd Zack Goodwin from the US Department of Education joined us in Columbia, MO to speak with our Registrar and Business Office colleagues on the many regulations that have a hand, finger or entire foot in financial aid.  The turnout and reviews were great, and attendees left these events with a lot of answers and some questions to take back to their institutions.

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Engage, Educate and Advocate by Mya Walker Lawrence

we want you

With need-based aid programs in the forefront of our state legislature, MASFAP can be a voice for the students that we serve. On April 5th, 2016, MASFAP members will gather in Jefferson City at the Capitol for MASAP’s Missouri Hill Day, where our focus will be to engage, educate and advocate!

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January MASFAP Board Meeting

MASFAP Board Mtg Jan 2016

The 2016 MASFAP Board met today! Great meeting and a full day of learning about the MASFAP history, the board responsibilities, reviewing the MASFAP mission, and much more.

New Year – New Blogs by Melissa Findley

Good afternoon MASFAP!

We will soon be ramping up our blogging again in 2016 as another form of MASFAP communication! So, in thinking about the MASFAP Blog I wanted to pose a question to all of you who have joined the blog: What do you like about the blog and/or how can we better utilize it?

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Fall is here and so starts the conference circuit for financial aid and higher education professionals. Be sure to plan to attend the best one – the MASFAP Conference! What a nice, local chance to get yourself and staff out of the office to learn and meet other professionals within the state. The MASFAP Conference, which is November 9th-11th, will be on the lovely premises of the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake of the Ozarks.  The Lodge announced in January that it will be going through some property renovations as well as lodging and space updates. In early summer I saw some of the changes first hand, it is exciting and beautiful to see the renovations coming along.

Before I was MASFAP’s site chair, I hadn’t really realized all that our colleagues do to provide the excellent conference and special events throughout the year. The people who have led and are leading this association go above and beyond the call of duty as volunteers. I feel I can truly advocate for this association and all the benefits it provides because of what I see. Also, I’m forever indebted to those who guided me from the “rookie” stages of my career to those who continue to allow me to be a recipient of their knowledge and their experiences.  So before you decide to only follow Twitter, just log on to a webinar, only read articles instead of attending events in-person, I suggest you rethink what you are missing! Take it from a 15-year professional “rookie” who continues to grow and learn as this industry continues to grow and give, you don’t want to miss “IT”.   

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A Brave New World in 2017-18 By Zach Greenlee

Paradigm shift (noun) – a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

What better characterizes the changes to the FAFSA that are little more than a year away? President Obama, today, announced two crucial changes to the FAFSA process that not only changes the approach students have to the college search process, but also drastically changes the approach schools and governments will have to awarding students. The underlying assumptions I have about government’s willingness to make meaningful simplifications to applying for aid are out the window. What are these changes that are so earth shattering to the world of college financial aid?

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We’re Getting Fancy Folks… By Kristen Gibbs

Starting in June of 2015, MASFAP has started taking advantage of online bill pay options through our bank. We started off experimenting with reimbursements for expenses to members to see if the process would work well, and it has. We are able to use these online options for paying venders and for reimbursing individuals for organizational expenses.

So what does this mean for the organization? There are lots of benefits! It has reduced the costs associated with paying bills. We no longer have to pay for stamps, envelopes, and paper checks, and online bill pay is free! It reduces time requirements for budget and finance committee members by taking just seconds to set up a payee, and once the payee information is entered into bill pay, it is easy to make payment. No one has to make time to write out several checks, which means we are able to make payments timelier. And finally, we have reduced some of our financial risk. No one is carting around a large binder with lots of checks at risk of being lost or stolen.

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Breathe. Notice. Enjoy! By CortneyJo Sandidge

Ever gotten up early on a Saturday morning with an errand to run and found yourself in your parking spot at work? Ha! Well, maybe you haven’t made it all the way to work, but you were close when you remembered it was Saturday. What helped you to remember was the commute seemed quicker than normal as the streets had less traffic and you were beating your normal time. Finally when it dawned on you it was Saturday, you cracked up, shook your head, turned your car around and headed toward your original destination. Yep, this can happen sometimes, we get so used to our daily routine that we are on auto pilot, and we find ourselves just driving.

The work we do every day in Financial Aid is important! We are meeting with students and their families, answering phone calls, responding to e-mails, working reports, training, prepping for a presentation, etc. There may even be times when we stay late just to finish it all or get to a good stopping point. And yes, on these days we may feel it’s a lot, but at the end of the day, we know it is all worth it. Yes, our students are worth it. But guess what? You are too!

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Techno Talk By Bridgette Betz

Greetings MASFAPians!

I hope your first week or two of classes are going well and that the lines are short! I have been knocking on wood all week because our first week seems to be relatively smooth.

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Because You Work in Financial Aid By Kathy Elsea

Have you been yelled at today? Have you brought anyone to tears? But have you also been thanked by someone? If yes, then you must be working in a financial aid office and it is the beginning of the school year!

I just wanted to send my MASFAP colleagues a note to make sure you know that others are feeling the same way you are this week. We are in this together, and hope you have had minimal yelling, few tears and many thank yous in your office today.

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Stock Market Tips = Financial Aid Tips By John Brandt

Greetings MASFAP.

I recently read some stock market volatility tips, and I realized that these same tips can also be tips for financial aid professionals.

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Constitution Day is Around the Corner By Margie Schwent


Constitution Day is just around the corner on September 17, 2015. I was wondering if any MASFAP members have quizzes, information or suggestions for Constitution Day?  The Student Council/Student Government sponsors have been asking, and in the past MASFAP members have had some helpful ideas or suggestions. Please comment on this blog or feel free to email me directly at [email protected]. Thank you in advance for your input!

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Inaugural Leadership Development Class by Laura Steinbeck

The inaugural Leadership Development class is half way through its first year and I’m pleased to announce that several of our participants are already actively pursuing MASFAP leadership positions.  The most recent MASFAP Election ballot included four of our participants – Daniel Dick – Saint Louis University, Caroline Falkner – Avila University, Bridgette Betz – Missouri University Science & Technology, and Jamie Davis – Columbia College.  Congratulations to each of you for taking the step to become more involved in our association and congrats to Daniel for being elected Vice President!

One of the main components of the Leadership Development program is a class project.  The 2015 class participants are finalizing plans for several events/sessions to be conducted at our annual conference in November.  They are really setting the bar high for future class participants!

How to Conference by Matthew Kearney

For many of you, going to conferences may not be a common occurrence, or perhaps the Fall 2015 MASFAP conference will be your first, so as you prepare to go on your voyage, here are nine things to keep in mind to make the conference the best experience for you.  It may not work for everyone, but I know I’ve followed these tips for conferences and I believe I’ve gotten the most I could out of them.

  •  Be well rested before you get to the conference.  Conferences are all day and night affairs, so you want to be sure you don’t have any issues with nodding off during sessions or missing out on evening activities because you need more sleep.  If you want to get the most out of a conference, you will likely be burning the candle at both ends for a few days!  This leads to the second tip.
  • Don’t stay in your room right after dinner.  Getting together with colleagues in an out of the office or non-structured setting is a great opportunity to get questions answered, gain new perspectives on how to do things, or just vent your frustrations.  The sessions during the day are valuable resources and will give great insight to the field, but conversations go to a deeper level in the evening.  Use this time to also work on tip number 3.
  • Network, Network, Network.  MASFAP provides many opportunities for you to engage with individuals from across the state as well as region and national levels.  Take this opportunity to connect with others from similar and different types of schools, as well as representatives of our vendors!  You will call on many of these people as you move through your career and people are willing and able to help.
  • Don’t sit with the same people for every meal.  Sometimes you want to sit with people you know at a conference to share information that is fresh on your mind that you want to bring back to the office, but try to mix it up and meet some new people at meals.  This provides an opportunity to do number 5.
  • Share.  If this is one of your first conferences or you are new to the field, you may not have a lot to say about different topics, but as you gain more experience, start to pay back what you get from the association.  Take the opportunity to share what you do or how you see things with others at the conference.  You are a valuable piece of the organization, but it doesn’t help if you stick to yourself.  This takes us to number 6.
  • If you are not comfortable meeting new people, get to know one person who does and let them introduce you.  It is sometimes difficult to walk up to a group of people you don’t know who are clearly good friends and work your way into the conversation.  First, I’ll say you will rarely be rebuffed if you pull up a chair.  However, if it is still not in your comfort zone, try to find someone who can introduce you.  There are a lot of outgoing, fun, and caring individuals in this association who want you to grow both professionally and personally, so let them do that.
  • Be prepared.  Look at the sessions ahead of time and know which ones you want to go to.  If you are going with multiple people from your institution, don’t have everyone go to the same sessions.  Split up and share back so you can get more information for your office to have.
  • Connect with others in your office.  I’ve been telling you over and over to branch out from your office at conferences, but make some time for getting together with your staff.  Some of the best team building we’ve had for our office has happened at these conferences.  Whether it’s a mechanical bull ride or zombie run in Indianapolis, shopping for needy high school students at the lake, performing skits for MASFAP’s Got Talent, or dancing the night away, people still talk about the fun times had and has helped bring us closer together.
  • Have Fun!  Financial Aid people know how to have a good time, and some of the best laughs you will have will be with those at the conference.  There is plenty of time to talk about work, but sometimes, you just want to cut loose and not worry about being a financial aid administrator for a while.  Your MASFAP family are there for that and my hope for you is that you take advantage of this.