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MASFAP LDP is in action today

MASFAP’s Learning and Development Program (LDP) group is at the MDHE offices today to learn about the state and federal legislative process, as well as the role of the MDHE and the MASFAP Legislative Committee. Updates and training from Leroy Wade, Assistant Commissioner, Financial Assistance, Outreach, and Proprietary Certification at the MDHE; and  MASFAP’s Legislative Co-Chairs Keri Gilbert and Will Shaffner. MASFAP President Kerry Hallahan and Past-President and LDP Leader Amy Hager are also supporting the group. Great day of learning and collaboration!

       

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MASFAP’s March 2018 Hill Day

Yesterday, March 28, MASFAP members went to Jefferson City to increase awareness with legislators about important state financial aid programs and bills. Thanks so much to MASFAP’s Legislative Co-Chairs and Committee for putting together talking points /MASFAP Briefs on HB 2408, HB 1273, HB 1368, HB 1723, HB 1275 and HB 1744. Check out those briefs here: MASFAP Brief – March 2018


MASFAP in Jefferson City on March 28, 2018

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Hill Day is Tomorrow, March 28! By Keri Gilbert

 

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Say yes By Kayla Klein

Have you ever been asked to present a financial aid session or a training? Picture this… You sat through a class and learned all the information… you may have been in your current job for just a few months or even a few years. You took in all the information and got nervous as the test deadline approached. And then the day finally came and you did it, you passed the test! Next thing you know, you receive an email asking if you will teach others on this topic, helping them through the credential process. You take a deep breath, and do it. You respond yes. Now what?!

This is where I was a few short weeks ago, and I felt a sense of honor being asked to and then teaching a credential.

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Finding Balance By Dawn Hines

  I work full-time at State Fair Community College, work a part-time job as a CMT at a nursing home, am taking 12 credit hours this semester, have two teenage girls at home, and help take care of my brother’s three young children. Oh, and two weeks ago I moved into a new home. As we all do, I feel like I should be a professional juggler! Here’s some tips for nontraditional students – which have helped me tremendously when it comes to juggling/balancing work, family and school.

1. Start with classes that you are comfortable with to get yourself acclimated to the college setting before undertaking more challenging classes. Now that I have become acclimated to the college setting again, I take a mixture of classes that I am comfortable with and classes that are more challenging so that I am not left taking all of the challenging classes at one time.

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Don’t Blink By Sarah Bright

As a parent, the phrase “Don’t blink” is strongly advised. The beginning of parenthood can be a shock to the system… doctor visits, endless feedings and many diapers are just a few rituals that make time feel as if it comes to a standstill… and that’s just during year one. “Will it ever end?” is a question you would ask yourself if you could find a moment among the chaos.

However, things change. Quickly. You don’t know how or when, but soon that baby can stand and kick things (usually things they’re not supposed to) and say things (sometimes words they’re not supposed to say). Then they start school, play sports, go on dates, and eventually fly the nest. “That went fast,” you think to yourself, partially sad but mostly in awe. You rolled with each change, the small ones and the enormous changes. Moreover, you think back nostalgically, “How did I handle all that?” Through no choice of yours, that child evolved and you had to change to meet those needs whether you were ready or not. Accepting the inevitability of change is tough, especially after investing so much into it.

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A Soap Box Rant By Keri Gilbert

      I love a good soap box rant. Of course, what I really mean is that I love to go on a good soap box rant. Want to know what the most recent topic my coworkers, husband, Mom, and cat have had to listen to? Verification selection rates. Ohhhhh don’t get me started! I remember when the selection rates started getting out of hand. I saw a few tweets, heard a few grumbles, and then when we all figured out what was going on, some mobilization. NASFAA’s Rapid Response Network went out with a call for data, data, data to present as evidence of increased rates. The issue was fixed, and rates were supposed to go down. But did that really happen? Depends on who you ask.

At Mizzou, we saw a verification selection rate of 63% between November 20th and December 15th. Sixty-three percent! That’s only 37 percentage points less than 100%. Isn’t that just crazy?! Once the algorithm was corrected, our rate dropped to 18% between December 18th and January 12th. Which is wonderful! But, it seems we are in the minority with seeing a drop that large, or even a drop at all. With verification rates around 30%, plus these weird spikes, administrative burden increases. Many of us are already told to do more with less, and just to add verification to the pile. David Sheridan, the Director of Financial Aid at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs in New York summed it up nicely in an e-mail correspondence from February when he said “[I] compared the alleged 30% verification requirement to the IRS, which is responsible for a lot more money than the Department of Ed is. The IRS audits approximately 1% of all tax filers, and the estimated loss to the US Treasury from tax fraud is over $200 billion – not million, billion – dollars a year. But heaven forbid someone fill out a FAFSA and leave out the $1,117 from boxes 12a through 12d, codes D, E, F, G, H or S from their W2. Gotta get to the bottom of that. So Financial Aid staff need to spend time sweating those details while students can’t figure out how much to borrow or how to repay their loans…and then we get criticized for that…which we don’t have time to help them with because we’re busy verifying”*. I think David likes a good soap box rant, too!

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MASFAP’s Who’s Making a Difference Scholarship By Alex Miller and Kayla Klein

Last year the Early Awareness Committee (EAC) was ecstatic to be able to offer a scholarship to a Missouri graduating Senior in May 2018. The MASFAP Who’s Making a Difference Scholarship submission requirements were to submit an entry form, write an essay (300 word maximum) describing a person in the student’s life who was inspiring them to fulfill their post-secondary education dreams, and submit a selfie of the two together. The scholarship can be used in the fall of 2018 at any Missouri institution for tuition, institutional fees, room, board, or books.

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Volunteering for a MASFAP Committee By Kerry Hallahan

All my life I have loved to volunteer! As a young child in elementary school, it began with agreeing to help my teacher. Then in high school when I could drive, my best friend and I volunteered for ‘Meals on Wheels.’ Later in my college days, I volunteered to be a side walker for Therapeutic Horsemanship. As I became a mother, I volunteered as a room parent, a Girl Scout Leader/Cookie mom and an Advancement Coordinator for Boy Scouts. Heck! I was even a PSR teacher for second graders. My family has volunteered together at the Emmaus Homes. As a professional, when I think about volunteering the first thing that comes to mind is MASFAP. I have volunteered to serve on committees and to serve on the Executive Board for MASFAP. I even volunteered to run as MASFAP President… and here I am! Although my involvement and extent of volunteerism has progressed over the years, all of these have many things in common. They all have made me feel more fulfilled, enabled me to meet new people, helped me grow as a person and grow my network of colleagues to call on for thoughts and opinions – I have learned so much from others through volunteering!

Volunteering to be on a committee for MASFAP is like any other activities you have volunteered for in your life, and I know you will not regret it! You will collaborate with like-minded people, feel like you belong (which makes you feel good), probably learn something new and definitely expand your financial aid circle of friends! Of course all of this happens through giving, because when you give of your time and talent, there is nothing greater! Together we accomplish so much.

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Happy Holidays MASFAP!

2018 MASFAP Board Kick-Off Meeting

Yesterday, the 2018 MASFAP Board met to collaborate on the coming year for MASFAP. The day included reviewing responsibilities and expectations, a budget and finance overview, board use of the website including reaching out to volunteers, setting goals, planning the year on the calendar and teambuilding. Attached are some pictures taken yesterday at this 1-day board retreat in Columbia.



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Kind of Nostalgic By Karen Walker

Karen Walker


You kind of get nostalgic when you go through photos, newsletters, and memorabilia that spans several decades… particularly since I will be retiring soon. Not many of us MASFAPIANS (the term coined by Cindy Butler) can look at stuff from 30+ years ago and remember when it actually happened. There were four of us on the Archives Committee during this past year that were able to do just that to some degree or another—Melinda Wood, Cindy Butler, Karen Harden, and myself. It was a privilege to work with Melinda and Cindy as life-time MASFAP members and current members, Kelly Fleming, Erika Holzinger, Ashley Richardson, Karen Harden, and Kathy Dixon to prepare a display of archived materials collected over the years and to publish the MASFAP 50th Anniversary Memory Book. It was a labor of love and we felt so honored to be recognized at the conference by President Hager for our committee work. We really had wished Cindy could have been there with us to celebrate. This is such a wonderful group of people to work with who were so dedicated, creative, and productive. Erika way out did herself on the committee and producing a new little human being this past October —Adalyn Violet. Congratulations and kudos to Erika who was definitely the committee over achiever!

 

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EXCITING! Opening Remarks and Keynote Speaker NOW at MASFAP Conference!

Congrats MASFAP on 50 years! #masfapturns50

MASFAP President Amy Hager’s Opening Remarks (Amy is AWESOME):

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50 Reasons to Attend the MASFAP Conference By Jamie Davis

Whether you are a newcomer or you have an overwhelming number collection of conference badges on your office wall, the 2017 MASFAP Annual Conference is the one NOT to miss! This year, MASFAP is celebrating 50 years with the theme, “Celebrating Our Past, Inspiring Our Future.” And, here are 50 reasons why you should attend the MASFAP Fall conference November 6-8 at the Lodge of Four Seasons:

1. Everyone will be there!

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MASFAP State of Mind By Samantha Matchefts

Not too long ago, I was puzzled how September passed by in a blur… and now I feel the same way about October. Time is flying by! Fall keeps trying to make an appearance… one chilly morning for my daily walk with our dog I wore a down vest … in contrast a few days later at the pumpkin patch with our grandson the temperature was 80 degrees. Ghosts, ghouls, skeletons and other assorted decorations have appeared throughout my neighborhood, and the stores have Halloween candy prominently displayed… as well as even some holiday displays. This can only mean one thing… the MASFAP conference is around the corner!

This time of year always puts me in the MASFAP state of mind. Crazy temperature changes, Halloween decorations and the holidays right around the corner, it just gets me thinking about and looking forward to MASFAP! I look forward to learning new regulations and best practices from my esteemed colleagues, and I look forward to seeing all of your friendly faces. This year, I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, renewing friendships and meeting new friends. And I know we are going to have a fabulous time at the 50th celebration! If you haven’t already, please register for the annual conference at http://www.masfap.org/docs/conferences/site/index.html – here you can complete your registration, book your hotel, and view the draft program agenda.

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What Has MASFAP Done For Me Lately? By Matthew Kearney

As you prepare to hit the road to travel to the MASFAP conference, you might ask yourself, “Why am I going?” Or in my case, I have the cutest 4-year-old little boy asking, “Daddy, why are you going to a conference?” Having gone to a number of these things over the last several years, I’ve begun to actually think about my answer.

I used to say I was going for work. That was sufficient for a 2-year-old…but a 4-year-old, that’s not going to cut it. Because inevitably, I’ll get the follow-up questions, “What do you do at a conference?”, “If it’s for work, why do you have to go somewhere?”, “Who goes to your conference?”, “Do they have a pool or a playground?”, and lately, when I say Nick Prewett will be there, I get the question, “Will my friends Maddi and Collin be there?” (we visited Columbia a few weeks ago and they are now, in his mind, his BFF’s).

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Happy Financial Aid Day to YOU!

Today, October 18 (3rd Wednesday in October) is a special day set aside to celebrate and recognize the contributions of all financial aid professionals for helping students make their college-going dreams a reality! What is your office doing today to celebrate??? Please comment below…and HAPPY Financial Aid Day to you – YOU make a difference!

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Workshops – REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

The registration link is now live for the MASFAP High School Counselor Workshops at https://goo.gl/forms/XjfFfXbfrAuQJwJC3

MASFAP Members – please help spread the word to high school counselor contacts that registration is open!

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MASFAP meets with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

L to R Steve Garman, Gena Boling, Keri Gilbert, Rep. Cleaver, Dena Norris, Crystal Bruntz, Amy Hager, Jennifer Moore

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Tomorrow is Not Guaranteed By Laura Steinbeck

As I wondered about what to share with you, I thought about my recent personal experiences and information we all need to remember and can relate to. Not necessarily work related, but more importantly about life.

During the past few months, I’ve come to realize that life is too short. I came to this realization after losing five friends in the past two months that had so much more life to live. They had plans but were not able to see them through.

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