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  • 24 Apr 2013 9:43 AM | Anonymous
    Perspective: Communicating more effectively with Spanish-speaking families
    Andrés Cordero, Jr., TG Senior Writer/Editor

    As a Latino, a former first-generation college student, and now a volunteer outreach ambassador for a public nonprofit, I’ve been on both sides of the college exploration process. I can appreciate the obstacles faced by students who want to go to college but who may be challenged by language, by a lack of family legacy in college attendance, and by the sometimes intimidating process of finding ways to finance a higher education.

    And let’s be honest undefined it isn’t exactly easy to get to college even if you aren’t hindered by these factors. Figuring out the path to college can be difficult, even in the best of circumstances.

    So when I can help families and students find their way, I enjoy doing it.

    If you, or others on your team, are planning an outreach event or activity and you anticipate interacting with Spanish-speaking families, here are a few things to consider.

    Recognize that college exploration can be a family affair

    Because of factors that include the level of financial commitment, relevance to a student’s future, and the possibility that the student will soon be separated from the family unit, many Latino families will explore the college-going experience together. Parents/guardians and siblings are likely to join the student as they attend events to learn more about college. Grandparents or aunts or uncles may participate as well. Because of this, you will want to be prepared to share information based on the perspectives and needs of others besides the student. For the student and his or her family, the event may be a shared experience, so be sensitive to these informational needs.

    Be courteous, open, and friendly undefined your body language will signal your approachability

    Learning something new can be intimidating to anyone, so pay close attention to the way you dress, to your body gestures, to your movements, and to your facial expressions. You will want to be approachable, without making people uncomfortable; casual glances and reassuring smiles are often subtle ways of inviting conversation. Some students and their families may look confused or overwhelmed; a simple “how can I help?” and an appreciative smile may be enough to get the conversation going. When it comes to clothing, business casual or casual wear is often best; avoid dressing in formal business wear that can imply you are selling something or are “too important” to be interrupted.

    Be respectful of and acknowledge adults and parents

    Many Latino cultures emphasize respect for older generations. Even if it’s clear that the student will be the one “conducting business,” be sure to recognize or acknowledge the student’s elders. A simple greeting will do, but neglecting this acknowledgement can be seen as a signal of disrespect, making it more difficult to establish rapport and trust. If you are speaking Spanish with the family, some Spanish-speaking parents may eagerly jump in once they realize you can answer their questions as well.

    Be an active listener

    When you invite a question or a conversation, stay with it through its conclusion as much as possible. Generally, students’ questions are the easiest to answer; parents and other elders may pose more complex and thoughtful questions. Avoid staring directly at the questioner; it is considered disrespectful and confrontational. Instead, glance slightly away, but shake your head back and forth, and give verbal cues that you are listening. Repeating what you are being asked is a good way to demonstrate that you understand, and gives others nearby a second opportunity to listen to the question before you provide the answer.

    Demonstrate you relate to their situation or circumstances

    Families in many cultures can feel that they are alone in not understanding a process or knowing the answer to a specific question. For families of first-generation students, this sense is often even more prevalent. To help families be more open to your responses, listen to their situations, as these often set the stage for their questions. Acknowledge their circumstances, restate their question, and, when possible, share similar examples. This “storytelling” approach to answering questions helps many remember what was said.

    Ask about a family’s needs before you begin

    Even if you determine that a family needs information in Spanish, avoid making assumptions about their situation. Spanish-speaking families are as diverse in fluency, level of acculturation, socioeconomic status, and other factors as English-speaking families. You may be dealing with a family that has recently arrived from another country and is unfamiliar with the U.S. educational system, or you may be dealing with a third- or fourth-generation Spanish-speaking family that simply has not assimilated fully to U.S. culture. Spanish speakers can come from many different countries, and so their choice of terms, tone, pitch, and annunciation may differ dramatically. They may have been highly educated in their country of origin, or they may be struggling to build a new life in the United States. 

    Know that many Spanish speakers appreciate your efforts undefined and they aren’t expecting perfection

    As with other segments of the population, professionals and volunteers who help students and families understand the college-going process have varying levels of Spanish-language proficiency. Some may understand Spanish, but may not be comfortable speaking it. Others find that they can speak it, but are uncomfortable writing in the language. Often, what is most important, and most valued, is the effort. Just as with English, Spanish is often spoken in a manner that is not strictly correct, and there is considerable license to modify language in whatever way is necessary to make it easiest to understand. Except in rare circumstances, most Spanish speakers are forgiving when it comes to minor errors. Their goal in these situations isn’t to grade your fluency; it is simply to gather whatever information they can to make the important decisions related to attending college.

    As you prepare for the busy season of educating students and families about going to college, recognize that your efforts do make a difference. These simple tips can help you better support those who are reaching out to Spanish speakers. Ultimately, any effort you and your institution can make in communicating this information will be appreciated by those seeking to build a better future for themselves and for those they love.

    Andrés Cordero, Jr. is a Senior Marketing Communications Specialist with TG. 

    Doug Savage is a senior regional account executive with TG serving schools in TASFAA. You can reach Doug at (800) 252-9743, ext. 6711, or by email at Additional information about TG can be found online at
  • 18 Apr 2013 1:38 PM | Anonymous
    We hope that everyone that was able to make it out to TASFAA this year enjoyed their time and learned all about the great many changes forthcoming.

    If you were unable to join us, you may view a few of the presentations that were given during the conference. You can find these right here on this site by navigating to the Annual Conference 2013 on the toolbar and finding Conference Downloads.

  • 03 Apr 2013 10:11 AM | Anonymous
    The Department of Education servicer - Great Lakes - has put together a document that goes over the regulatory changes involved in the IBR and Pay as You Go student loan repayment plans. This tool should help to keep it all straight and to understand the implications of policy changes.

  • 04 Mar 2013 10:59 AM | Anonymous

     Posted Date: March 1, 2013

    Author:      David A. Bergeron, Acting Assistant Secretary

    Subject: Impact of Sequestration on the Title IV Student Financial Assistance Programs

    On August 2, 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which put into place an automatic process of “across-the-board” Federal budget cuts, known as the sequester, to take effect if Congress failed to enact legislation to reduce the Federal deficit.  Unless Congress acts by March 1, 2013, these budget cuts will go into effect.

    The Department is preparing more detailed guidance for students and institutions about how the sequester will affect the Federal Title IV student financial assistance programs.  In the meantime, this Electronic Announcement provides the financial aid community with general information on how the sequester will impact those programs.

    Federal Pell Grant Program

    The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended (BBEDCA), specifically exempts the Pell Grant Program from the effects of the sequester. Therefore, both the 2012-2013 Award Year Pell Grant Payment Schedules, as well as the 2013-2014 Award Year Payment Schedules that were released on January 30, 2013 in “Dear Colleague Letter” GEN-13-06, will be unchanged under the sequester.

    FWS and FSEOG Programs

    The campus-based programs are fully funded at the start of the award year.  Therefore, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) programs for Award Year 2012-2013 were fully funded in Federal fiscal year 2012 and are unaffected by the sequester.

    However, under the sequester, Award Year 2013-2014 funding for FWS and FSEOG would be reduced by a total of approximately $86 million. The Department will include the reduction when it uses the expected reduced final full-year appropriation in the institutional allocation formula, which will result in final FWS and FSEOG institutional allocations that are expected to be released later this Spring.

    Federal Direct Loan Programs

    The sequester does not change the annual or aggregate loan limits for  Direct Loan Program loans, or the rules governing a student’s (or parent’s) Direct Loan eligibility.  However, the BBEDCA did specify that certain loan fees paid by borrowers be increased during the time the sequester is in effect, as follows:

        For Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans where the first disbursement of the loan is after the sequester takes effect, the current loan fee of 1 percent of the principal amount of a loan will increase. We presently anticipate that the rate will increase to approximately 1.05 percent. With such an increase, for example, the fee on a loan for $5,500 would increase from $55.00 to $57.75, an increase of $2.75.  We will provide the actual increased percentage when it becomes available.

        For Direct PLUS Loans for both parent and graduate and professional student borrowers where the first disbursement of the loan is after the sequester takes effect, the current loan fee of 4 percent will increase. We presently anticipate that the rate will increase to approximately 4.20 percent. With such an increase, for example, the fee on a $10,000 Direct PLUS loan would increase from $400.00 to $420.00, an increase of $20.00. We will provide the actual increased percentage when it becomes available.

    The Department’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) office has begun developing the processes necessary to implement the higher loan fees mandated by the sequester. One step is informing borrowers of the increased fee percentage so they have the opportunity to cancel or reduce their loan.  FSA plans to send email (and where necessary, paper) notifications to student and parent borrowers who have a Direct Loan where the first disbursement occurs during the period of the sequestration. The notification will advise borrowers of the increased loan fee percentage and advise them that if they wish to cancel or reduce the amount of the loan they should contact the financial aid office at their school.

    Subsequent to the sequester order, FSA will provide institutions (and their software vendors) with details on when and how their institutional systems must be changed to ensure that Direct Loan origination records are submitted with the updated loan fee amounts. In the meantime, institutions should continue their normal procedures for awarding and disbursing Direct Loans and for submitting Direct Loan records to the Department’s Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system.

    Iraq - Afghanistan Service Grants

    The Iraq - Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG) Program is also subject to the across-the-board budget cuts under the sequester law.  The IASG is provided to certain students whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11.

    Under sequestration any reduction in the amount of an Iraq - Afghanistan Service Grant would only apply to awards where the first disbursement was made during the time the sequester is in effect.  Until we are able to provide further guidance on the timing and amount of the sequester required reductions, we recommend that institutions not make a first disbursement of an Iraq - Afghanistan Service Grant to a student.

    TEACH Grants

    The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program is also subject to the across-the-board budget cuts under the sequester law.  The TEACH Grant program provides grants to students who are completing, or plan to complete, coursework needed to begin a career in teaching and who agree to teach for at least four complete academic years in a high-need field at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families.

    Any reduction in the amount of a TEACH Grant would only apply to awards where the first disbursement was made during the time the sequester is in effect.  Until we are able to provide further guidance on the timing and amount of the sequester required reductions, we recommend that institutions not make a first disbursement of a TEACH Grant to a student.


    The following is a summary on the impact of sequestration of the Title IV student assistance programs:

        Federal Pell Grant Program – No impact.

        FWS and FSEOG Programs – No impact for 2012-2013, but funding reduced for the 2013-2014 award year.

        Direct Loan Programs – Increase in Loan Fees for Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans and for PLUS Loans.

        Iraq - Afghanistan Service Grant Program – Reduced award amount for any grant that is first disbursed during the time the sequester is in effect.

        TEACH Grant Program - Reduced award amount for any grant that is first disbursed during the time the sequester is in effect.

    We will provide additional updates as more information becomes available.
  • 04 Mar 2013 10:43 AM | Anonymous
    Publication Date: February 27, 2013
    DCL ID:    GEN-13-07
    Subject: Guidance on Implementing the Net Price Calculator Requirement
    Summary: This letter provides guidance pertaining to the Net Price Calculator requirement added to the Higher Education Act by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. This letter highlights responses to recurring questions that institutions have raised about this requirement.
    Dear Colleague:
    As required by section 132 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) each institution of higher education that participates in the title IV, HEA programs must post on its Web site a net price calculator that is designed to help current and prospective students, families, and other consumers estimate a student's individual net price at that institution based on what students in similar circumstances paid in a previous year. In meeting this requirement, institutions may develop their own net price calculator or use the template developed by the Department of Education (the Department), which is available at our Net Price Information Center Web site at
    The net price calculator requirement is statutory and has no implementing regulations; however, the Department has compiled relevant frequently asked questions (FAQs) based on responses that we have provided to individual institutions. We have posted these FAQs on the Net Price Information Center as a resource for institutions, and we periodically update the list of FAQs as needed. The following are a few recurring FAQs and our posted responses:
            1)      When and how often do colleges have to update their net price calculators?
    We expect institutions to update their calculators on an annual basis when new data become available. Please note that cost of attendance data and grant aid data should align and be from the same year. Institutions using the Department's net price calculator template will need to update their net price calculators after the Department posts updated versions for each award year. The latest version of the Department template uses 2011-2012 data, and the Department plans to release updated versions in January annually. For example, the Department template for 2012-2013 data is planned to be released in January 2014. We will notify institutions when an updated template is released via the Information for Financial Aid Professionals Web site and other channels, such as 'This Week in IPEDS.'
            2)      Where on my institution's Web site should the net price calculator reside?
    The HEA provides that an institution must make a net price calculator available on its Web site, but it does not specify where on the Web site it must be located. We strongly urge institutions to make their calculators easy to find by posting them prominently in locations where students and families are likely to look for information on costs and aid, such as on the Financial Aid, Prospective Students, or Tuition and Fees pages of the institution's Web site. It might be helpful for institutions to refer to a recent report of the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative, which includes suggestions on how to make required disclosures more accessible and understandable to consumers. The report is available at In particular, the report recommends that information be available with a minimum amount of searching on a Web site, meaning within no more than three clicks from the home page.
            3)      Can I rename the Net Price Calculator when posting it to my institution's Web site?
    Since the HEA provides that institutions must 'make publicly available on the institution's website a net price calculator…,' the calculator posted to your institution's Web site must be called 'Net Price Calculator' in order to be in full statutory compliance.
            4)      Is there a minimum number of full-time, first-time students for which a Net Price Calculator is required?
    An institution that has any full-time, first-time students, no matter how few, must have a net price calculator. If necessary, the institution should consider using data for multiple years of full-time, first-time students in order to make the calculator more robust. An institution that is only a graduate/professional school that does not enroll any full-time, first-time students is not required to have a net price calculator on its Web site.
            5)      Can I include loans in the net price calculator?
    The HEA requires that an institution's net price calculator clearly present a student's estimated individual net price. The definition of net price is the amount that a student pays to attend an institution in a single academic year after subtracting scholarships and grants – forms of financial aid that a student does not have to pay back. To be in full statutory compliance, an institution must provide a net price calculation that does not take loans into consideration.
    The National Center for Education Statistics collects the Web addresses for institutional net price calculators through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and these URLs are subsequently displayed on the Web sites for the College Navigator ( and the College Affordability and Transparency Center ( The URLs are also displayed as part of the Department's College Scorecard tool, accessible at Institutions must ensure that the URLs that they provide for their net price calculators are functional and that they link directly to the institution's net price calculator, instead of, for example, to the institution's Web site home page. A downloadable zip file containing the full list of net price calculator URLs is available at the Net Price Calculator Information Center.
    We encourage institutions to review the FAQs and other materials that are currently available at the Net Price Calculator Information Center Web site. We also strongly urge schools to review the URL that they have provided to IPEDS for accuracy. Correct and consistent information that is easy to find will make it easier for millions of students and their families to use this tool when comparing postsecondary institutions.
    For additional assistance with the net price calculator requirement or the Department's template, please contact our Help Desk at 1-877-299-3593 or
    David A. Bergeron
    Acting Assistant Secretary
    Office of Postsecondary Education
  • 04 Mar 2013 10:42 AM | Anonymous
    Posted Date: February 21, 2013
    Author:    William Leith, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid
    Subject: 2013-2014 ISIR Guide (February 2013 Update)
    We are pleased to announce the posting of an update to the 2013-2014 ISIR Guide. The ISIR Guide assists financial aid administrators (FAAs) in interpreting student information on the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). ISIRs contain processed student information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as key processing results and National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) financial aid history information. ISIRs are sent electronically to institutions by the Central Processing System (CPS).
    The February 2013 update contains the following revisions:
    •    Minor revisions to the main section of the guide to correct the SSN Match Flag value of 'Blank' to '8' and update the SSA Citizenship       Code description.
    •    Revision of Appendix C to update several Federal Loan Servicers, ED Servicers, Selected Servicers, and Guaranty Agency values.
    For more information on the revisions, consult the tracking log of changes posted with the guide or in the Appendix.
    In addition to its current availability on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site, the guide will also be available in the next several days from the Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site, located at
    If you have questions, contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support at 800/330-5947 (TDD/TTY 800/511-5806) or by e-mail at
  • 04 Mar 2013 10:32 AM | Anonymous
    Great Lakes Free April Trainings for TASFAA Members
    Susie McCormick

    April 2013 SmartSessions

    Counseling Borrowers on Pay as You Earn and Income-Driven Plans
    Pay as You Earn and changes to IBR and ICR can help borrowers successfully manage repayment. Learn more about these plans so you can better counsel students. This session will help you understand how students qualify for the various income-driven plans as you prepare for upcoming exit counseling sessions.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Borrower eligibility criteria
    • Plan comparisons and loan terms
    • Forgiveness provisions

    April 10th @ 11 AM, Central time
    Counseling Borrowers on Pay as You Earn and Income-Driven Plans

    Tax Filing Rules: What Financial Aid Administrators Need to Know
    Get a refresher on tax filing rules in advance of the 2013-14 verification cycle to better identify and resolve issues during the file review process. This webinar will take you through tax rules to ensure the data elements used to calculate the expected family contribution are correct.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • IRS filing guidelines and thresholds
    • Comparing filing status to FAFSA results
    • Tax filing status and verification processes
    April 22nd @ 11 AM, Central time
    Tax Filing Rules: What Financial Aid Administrators Need to Know

    New Professionals

    Loans I: Understanding the Basics
    Learn the basic details of the different federal loan programs so you can better understand, process, and encourage your students to make good borrowing decisions.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Guidelines for educating students on the impact of borrowing loans
    • Types of federal loans and how they compare
    • Using NSLDS
    • The consequences of delinquency and default and what you can do to help borrowers avoid them

    April 11th @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Loans I: Understanding the Basics

    April 25th @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Loans I: Understanding the Basics

    Loans II: Helping Students Succeed in Repayment
    Gain a deeper understanding of preparing students for repayment. This session will cover borrower options for repayment and the consequences of default. You’ll come away with a thorough knowledge of loan basics that will help you educate your students on the impact of borrowing student loans.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Repayment options available to students
    • How to prepare your students for repayment
    • The consequences of delinquency and default and what you can do to help borrowers avoid them

    April 16th @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Loans II: Helping Students Succeed in Repayment

    April 30th @ 11:00 PM, Central time
    Loans II: Helping Students Succeed in Repayment

    Financial Aid for Beginners
    Learn the basics of financial aid and gain an understanding of how different programs work and how financial need is determined. This session will review how students apply for financial aid and how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) fits into the application process to help you better respond to the needs of your students and help them see that a college education is possible.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Deciphering the language of Financial Aid
    • Student eligibility requirements
    • Types of financial aid programs
    • Importance of FERPA privacy provisions

    April 2nd   @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Financial Aid for Beginners

    April 17th @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Financial Aid for Beginners

    Understanding the Verification Process
    Baffled by the complexities of verification? This session will give you the information you need to simplify the verification process into three easy steps. We’ll also define some common issues found during the review process and how you can resolve them.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Understanding verification requirements
    • Step-by-step instructions for reviewing documentation and completing the verification process
    • How to resolve verification findings

    April 10th @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Understanding the Verification Process

    April 16th @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Understanding the Verification Process

    Applying Federal Methodology
    How is a student’s financial need determined? Learn how Federal Methodology is used to calculate a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC)undefinedand be able to calculate an EFC. You’ll be better prepared when making financial aid awards.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Purpose of Federal Methodology
    • Guiding principles of Need Analysis
    • Components
    • Manual EFC calculations
    • Special circumstances

    April 9th @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Applying Federal Methodology

    April 23rd @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Applying Federal Methodology

    Database Matches: Resolving Common Comment Codes
    This session reviews how the database matches following FAFSA completion impact student aid eligibility and what you can do to help resolve any issues that arise. Leave feeling confident about resolving C-codes and conflicting information.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Review of the Central Processing System database matches
    • Guidance on resolving database mismatches
    • Types of conflicting information and how to resolve them

    April 11th @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Database Matches: Resolving Common Comment Codes

    April 24th @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Database Matches: Resolving Common Comment Codes

    Understanding the FAFSA: It All Starts Here
    Get a comprehensive overview of the FAFSA. This session steps you through the FAFSA line by line. We’ll help you feel comfortable assisting your students so they can correctly complete this crucial first step to receiving federal financial aid.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Applying for financial aid
    • Answering dependency questions
    • Processing the FAFSA

    April 4th   @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Understanding the FAFSA: It All Starts Here

    April 18th @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Understanding the FAFSA: It All Starts Here

  • 25 Feb 2013 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    Brick and click: The promise of blended learning
    Doug Savage
    TG Senior Regional Account Executive

    Blended learning, sometimes called “brick and click,” is the practice of combining in-person and online educational approaches. Its popularity has risen, and its research results are promising. Still, attempts to combine approaches can bring risk as well as excitement. Is the combination going to be like a new recipe that brings together complementary flavors to create something delicious? Or will it include the worst of both elements? What one doesn’t want is something like John F. Kennedy’s famous characterization of Washington, D.C. undefined that it combines Northern charm and Southern efficiency.

    Respective strengths

    A list of the respective strengths of in-person and online learning might include the following:


             In-person education offers the possibility of specific engagement in a way that online education does not. For example, reading an FAQ online is not the same as having a teacher answer your specific question in real time during a teachable moment when the question occurred to you, using examples that come from the class’s shared frame of reference.

             In-person education offers the possibility not only of spontaneous and specific teacher-student interaction, but also the possibility of generative student-student interaction. For example, hearing a student who “gets it” make a point in a class discussion may help a struggling student grasp a concept more securely. Similarly, a question asked by a student who fails to understand some part of a concept may trigger an explanation that helps the whole class better understand the material.


             Online education works well for teaching students at different levels. Most students have, at one time or another, been in a classroom where some students felt bored while others felt lost or left behind. There is something very attractive about being in control of the flow of information, and this may be one of online education’s biggest strengths. Teachers have long sought creative solutions to the problem of students in the same class whose different levels of understanding call for different paces. With online education, no solution is required (because the problem doesn’t arise).

             Online education scales easily. Problems of personnel, available space, and calendar constraints (which are all problems of budget, to some extent) can be solved easily when one high-quality course is available online for many students to log in and complete at a time and place of their own choosing.

     More respective strengths could be listed, but the idea should be clear: each approach has its own merits, while the challenge of blended learning is to create an educational experience that draws on these respective strengths. Given that goal, is blended learning getting good results?

    Overview of research

    Research suggests that the news is good. In 2009, the Department of Education released an Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. The analysis found that online education generated slightly better results than in-person education alone, but that the best student outcomes resulted from blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction. The analysis noted some complications with the results, two of which bear repeating: (1) the analysis resists generalizing to K–12 education because much of the data was drawn from adult learners, and (2) the online settings tended to have increased learning time.

    In a college context, the first “complication” undefined that these positive results occurred with adult learners undefined is obviously promising. The second complication raises the question of causation in an interesting way. If it’s true that online settings only got better results because of increased learning time, might there be something about online settings which facilitates increased learning times? We don’t need to know the answers to those questions to see the Department’s analysis as encouraging.

    Further, while academics have increasingly used online models for instruction, it is widely understood that some kinds of learning are better experienced in person. To elaborate, in Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States 2011, the Babson Survey Research Group noted that from 2003 to 2010, the percentage of college students taking at least one online course grew from around ten percent to 31 percent. That same report noted that in blended learning situations, the proportion of content that was delivered online can range from less than a third to more than three-fourths. A majority of academics surveyed felt that, while online chat and other features can offset the lack of direct student-student interaction in online education, student-student interactions were superior or somewhat superior in in-person settings.


    These results suggest that part of the appeal of digital media and online education is the flexibility it allows an instructor. For example, Teresa Bobadilla, the product manager of the TG Learning Center, an online training resource (, envisions how the resource could lend itself to a blended approach. She notes that, “In freshman orientation, or in a mandatory training class for students struggling with Satisfactory Academic Progress, our financial literacy content could work very well with a blended approach. For example, the student may be encountering a lot of material at once, and the online content could reinforce what they’ve learned. There’s also an assessment component, so they could attend an in-person session, then later go online to see what they’ve retained. The material could be used individually, or with a whole class at the same time, where you go through it together. There are a lot of ways an instructor could use the online resource along with in-person class time.”

    One key to successfully blending the two, according to a 2011 National Education Association (NEA) Policy Brief, is that classroom time should be used primarily for experiential learning (rather than, say, lecture), and that the online portion of the course should provide multimedia-rich content. This approach is sometimes referred to as “the flipped classroom.” In this model, students experience direct instruction through an online channel such as a video lecture (perhaps posted on YouTube or on a class website), and then use class time for deeper discussions and/or experiential group exercises. This effectively prioritizes the human element for in-person instruction, “flipping” the standard idea that “instruction” is what happens in class. Instead, class time becomes a more engaging experience that complements, enriches, applies, or even challenges the concepts the student has encountered.

    New roads and new destinations

    Many educators have encountered a long list of pedagogical developments that have lost their shine. Whether we’re talking about multiple learning styles, decentralization, or an integrated curriculum, some formerly trendy ideas have proven to be less world changing than proponents had first promised. Education reporter John Merrow was recently quoted in The Washington Post expressing his view that the “potential of blended learning is vast, perhaps unlimited,” but he worried that blended learning’s current buzz would ultimately have a negative effect. There are a lot of ways good ideas can be badly implemented. For example, if online materials aren’t challenging or relevant, or if the in-person instruction doesn’t enrich what students have learned online , then real learning is unlikely to take place. In that scenario, this exciting development will devolve into a tired catch phrase rather than a positive change.

    With the right approach, however, blending the strengths of two different educational approaches can create new and better educational experiences.

    Doug Savage is a senior regional account executive with TG serving schools in TASFAA. You can reach Doug at (800) 252-9743, ext. 6711, or by email at Additional information about TG can be found online at


  • 18 Feb 2013 10:47 AM | Anonymous
    Jeff Gerkin
    TASFAA President

    I am pleased to announce that Governor Bill Haslam has signed a proclamation to designate February 2013 as “Financial Aid Awareness Month” in the State of Tennessee. A special thanks goes to Dick Smelser, Chair of the Financial Aid Awareness Committee, for his efforts to secure this proclamation on behalf of TASFAA earlier this month. View a copy of the proclamation by clicking the following link : 2013 Financial Aid Awareness Month Proclamation.pdf

  • 13 Feb 2013 10:24 AM | Anonymous

    Jeff Gerkin
    TASFAA President

    I am pleased to announce the results of the 2013-14 TASFAA Election.  On behalf of the Association membership, I would like to express my appreciation to all of the candidates who were willing to run for elected office this year.  

    The elected officers and sector representatives of the 2013-14 TASFAA Executive Board are:

    President - Ashley Bianchi, Rhodes College 

    President-Elect - Celena Tulloss, University of Tennessee Knoxville

    Secretary - Gwendolyn Fleming, Tennessee Technology Center Memphis

    Treasurer - Leah Louallen, Nashville State Community College

    Member at Large - Melissa Smith, Vanderbilt University

    Private 4 Year Sector Representative -Janie Burns, Bethel University

    Proprietary Sector Representative - Debra Stratman, Miller-Motte Technical College

    Public 2 Year Sector Representative - Dick Smelser, Pellissippi State Community College

    Public 4 Year Sector Representative - Robbie Snapp, Middle Tennessee State University

    Tennessee Technology Center Representative - Joe Paul Bryant, Tennessee Technology Center Crump

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