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!

Read More

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.

Share Best Practices: Online Students – By Kerry Hallahan

Hello Masfap friends…I need to know your best practices with online students.

Do you disburse aid immediately at the beginning of the term the same time you disburse aid for your on campus students? Or do you hold the online population disbursements until you know they have begun their classes?
What mechanism have you found that works in order to notify financial aid that the students have begun their classes?
Have you been able to engage others in knowing when to notify financial aid if a student stops attending classes? If so, which departments have willingly worked with you?
Please share any helpful tidbits when working with the online populations by commented to this post or email me at [email protected] – thank you!

Read More

MASFAP Leadership Development Program Cohort

A visit with the MASFAP Leadership Development Program Cohort or Ramblings on Why I love my Professional Association By Gena Boling

On Friday, I attended the first half of the meeting of the 2015 Leadership Development Program cohort. The group has been meeting throughout the year in various locations around the state, and this past week, they were in Rolla on the campus of East Central College and I decided it was an excellent opportunity to stop in, hear and contribute to the conversation, and see how the program was running along.

Read More

The Future is BRIGHT! By Janice Barnes

The future of MASFAP is BRIGHT! I was honored and privileged to coordinate the MASFAP Elections this year as part of the Past President duties. This is my fifth year involved in the election committee process and I can tell you from experience that having too many Masfapians eager and interested in running for an elected position is a wonderful problem to have. There have been years when the committee would spend hours on the phone trying to “convince” people to run. The eagerness and excitement of all those who ran will be one of my fondest memories of this year.

I want to congratulate and thank all members who volunteered or were nominated to run for an office. This talented group of individuals represents just 15 of the amazing financial aid and bursar colleagues that make up our organization. I am excited about what MASFAP will do in the future and am so proud to be a part of this organization, but most of all I am grateful for the relationships that come out of this organization. Trusted colleagues and friends that are only a phone call, email, text message or tweet away. We banter regulations, best practices and processes. We scour each other’s websites and “borrow” forms and ideas. We laugh till it hurts and pick each other up when we cry. What we do is not easy or sometimes reasonable or maybe even practical as federal regulations continue to mount and institutional policies continue to be made without our input, but what we do truly does matter and I wouldn’t want to do it without the support of my MASFAP colleagues.

Read More

The MASFAP Money Challenge! By CortneyJo Sandidge, Early Awareness Committee Chair

Ready, set, CHALLENGE!! When you were 21 – 22 years of age preparing for your first year on your own financially with your first job, did you ever complete an annual budget ahead of time to plan? Well, that is what these college students did on a beautiful, sunny day this past April!

Read More

Attention Newcomers (and Mentors) By Sara Edwards

Happy Spring and Happy Friday!! What a wonderful time to be outside…….if you can get out of the office.

It has been five months since our Fall Conference and I wanted to check in with our newcomers to see how things are going?? I am sure you are continuing to absorb all the information that is being sent your way each and every day, and finding that no two days are alike in the Financial Aid world!

Read More

Awarding Reminder By Kathy Elsea, MASFAP Delegate

Remember the information provided in DCL GEN-15-03 (Wind-down of the Federal Perkins Loan Program) as you are awarding the Perkins Loan and communicating with students. GEN-15-03 DCL

MASFAP Membership is Invaluable By Caroline Falkner

As the 2015 Membership Chair, I get the opportunity to network with a lot of intelligent, highly motivated individuals. It has been such a rewarding experience working with MASFAP leadership. And one that I wish more people in the financial aid community had the chance to experience.

I joined MASFAP three years ago (seems like a lifetime!) as a brand new financial aid administrator. I don’t think I can overestimate the impact this organization has made in my career. I have made friends, connected with mentors, and generally engaged in conversations that I wouldn’t have the chance to otherwise.

Read More

MASFAP Board Meeting has been called to order

The March MASFAP Board meeting is in progress today! There is great conversation happening – all for the good of this state organization! I, for one, am missing the Spring Conference this year and seeing everyone at the Lodge. Looking forward to the Fall Conference and I hear it is already shaping up to be an awesome conference.

Speaking of the fall conference, do you have any ideas for session at the fall conference? Even if it is just a little idea, please fill out the session proposal. You don’t have to complete every field on the short session proposal form, just fill out some ideas and the program committee will take it from there!

Read More

Hill Day Recap by Zach Greenlee

The rescheduled MASFAP Hill Day in Jefferson City allowed our organization an important opportunity to speak directly with legislators on both sides of the aisle, in both the House & Senate. We had fourteen MASFAP members attend and have personal conversations meet with 12 representatives (at last count). Many appointments had to be cancelled because budget hearings were taking place, and because the General Assembly goes on their own spring break last week, they had a lot of activity keeping them from being in their offices.

We took every opportunity we could get to share with them the deep history of MASFAP, our mission, values, and friendly faces. Some of us found ourselves walking with them in the hallways between their meetings just to get two minutes to talk, and others were able to get a side alcove meeting with a representative during the general session. When it wasn’t possible to meet with someone or if a meeting was cancelled, we left them with our one-page briefing document and contact information for MASFAP.

Read More

MASFAP Professional Development is going strong! By Chelsey Giles

We are excited to announce that throughout the 2015 year the MASFAP Professional Development committee will be offering six, one-day drive-in training opportunities for members to get credentialed in a variety of CORE financial aid topics. Participants will learn from MASFAP experts using NASFAA CORE training materials. Upon completion of the training participants will be eligible to apply for NASFAA credentialing. Topics are listed below, some dates have been set and others are yet to be determined.

Credentialing #1: Verification and Packaging – April 1st REGISTATION NOW OPEN!

Read More

Public Hearing on Financial Aid

On Monday, Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education and the Missouri Department of Higher Education Steering Committee held a Public Hearing for the development of a new coordinated plan entitled Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education. This Steering Committee has held public hearings throughout the state in an effort to gain public input during the development phase of the coordinated plan. On March 16, 2015 they met to hear public testimony on a very important topic to our community – affordability, state and federal student financial aid programs, and financial literacy.

Read More

President Boling having “Coffee with Claire” this week

What DO you do as a Financial Aid Director? By Crystal Bruntz

MASFAP Friends

When someone says, “So what DO you do as a Financial Aid Director?”……… Do you ever find yourself struggling for an accurate response that they can comprehend!?!?! I’ve been working in Financial Aid most of my adult life and that question has come up far more than once or twice. I always have to ponder… do I tell them about my craziness of never enough time, never enough resources and the ever constant changing regulations, not to mention trying to interpret them??? OR do I just tell them that I help students get money for college and achieve their dream of a college degree. Usually the latter wins out and they get the smile on my face with the shimmer in my heart of what I do REALLY does matter!!!

Read More

MASFAP Listserv is NOT working and we have information for you!

We have been trying to send you a lot of information via the listserv, but the MASFAP listserv isn’t working! There are new events for you to register for

MASFAP Missouri Hill Day will be February 17 from 8 am to 2 pm in Jefferson City. Don’t miss this event – we will meet with representatives, attend committee hearings, and represent MASFAP in Jefferson City at the Capitol.

Read More

Save the date and register for MASFAP Hill Day – February 17

This message is posted on behalf of Zach Greenlee, Chair, Legislative Committee

Registration for MASFAP’s Missouri Hill Day is now live, so go online to register today! On the MASFAP homepage under training opportunities is a link to register for the Hill Day, as well as other professional development events scheduled for February.

Read More

Registration for DE focused training for Registrars and Business Officers

This message is posted on behalf of Crystal Bruntz and Chelsey Giles, 2015 MASFAP Professional Development Committee Co-Chairs

We are pleased to announce registration is now available for U.S. Department of Education focused training for Registrars and Business Officers. U.S Department of Education trainer Zack Goodwin will be joining us on February 25th and 26th to discuss important topics on which we work with our colleagues in both the Registrar and Business Offices on a regular basis. Topics include 150% Subsidized Usage Loan limitations, Enrollment Reporting, Special Programs, R2T4, Withdraws, Academic Calendars, Certificate Programs, Modules, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Cash Management, Title IV Credit Balances, Prior Year Charges, Early and Late Disbursements, Title IV Rules and Regulations miscellanea. Registration is free for all MASFAP members and lunch will be provided.

Read More

Draft framework for the implementation of a new college ratings system

Last week, ED has released a draft framework for the implementation of a new college ratings system. Here are a few suggestions from Zach Greenlee, MASFAP’s Legislative Chair, of what you can do regarding this topic:

  1. Read the MASFAA blog post: This post has some great links to catch up on new articles and commentaries.
  2. Bookmark the page to follow future updates, as well as have quick access to submitting comments.
  3. Get this topic on the agenda for your next executive council meetings and have copies of the printable fact sheet available to share.
  4. Send a short summary to key stakeholders at your institution soon to begin the conversation.
  5. Finally, submit comments on the draft by February, and share those thoughts with your associations. MASFAA will be going to DC at the end of February and MASFAP’s views need to be represented! Comments on the framework are due by February 17, 2015, and can be submitted on ED’s site or by emailing [email protected].

Happy Holidays MASFAP!