TASFAA Community Blog!

  • 13 Oct 2016 9:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the power of a personal phone call, Pellissippi State Community College is helping former students avoid defaulting on their student loans....More

  • 12 Oct 2016 9:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    State Programs Update

     

    The Tennessee Promise application opened on August 1st and application totals are ahead of the pace from the first two years of the program.  The application is available through the TSAC Student Portal and will close on November 1st. 

     

    Rule changes for the Tennessee Promise and Ned McWherter Scholars programs were approved by the TSAC Board on September 27th.  Significant changes to the Tennessee Promise rule included removing the August 1 verification deadline, removing the requirement that transfer students do not have to complete their degree prior to reaching a terminating event, and eliminating the renewal application. 

     

    For the Ned McWherter Scholars, the rules were amended to require enrollment within 16 months and a regain provision was added.  These changes mirror the HOPE Scholarship.  The retention of the award was simplified and a work requirement was removed from the institutional match.   

     

    For 2015-16, TN Promise had 16,300 students at a cost of $15.2M.  About 54% of the students received an award from the program.  Lottery-funded programs, including TN Promise and TCAT Reconnect, totaled $324M with 120,000 recipients. 

     

    TSAA had a record year with $80.1M paid to almost 45,000 recipients.  For the current year, TSAC expects to spend just over $91M.  The TSAC Board approved an over commitment ratio of 153% for the 2017-18 academic year.  This means almost 50,000 students could receive TSAA.  TSAC is truly appreciative for the commitment this administration has shown to the program. 

     

    The Community College Reconnect Grant (CCRG) began this fall and $1.5M has been disbursed to the community colleges.  The CCRG provides a last dollar scholarship to independent students who have earned 30 hours or more towards their associate degree.  The program is a pilot project and will be re-evaluated after funds have been expended. 

     

    The new legislative session will start in January.  We have received only one proposed piece of legislation of note thus far.  It establishes a new program for high school juniors enrolled in middle college programs. 

     

     

    Tim Phelps


  • 29 Sep 2016 9:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tennessee Students Need You

    Do you have one hour per month to help students in your community transition from high school to college? tnAchieves, local partnering organization to Gov. Haslam’s TN Promise, needs 9,000 mentors to work with high school students from the Class of 2017. Mentors remind students of important deadlines, serve as a trusted college resource and, most importantly, encourage students to reach their full potential. The time commitment is small, but the impact can be life changing for a first generation college student trying to navigate the college going process. Learn more or register at https://tnachieves.org/mentors/requirements/.

     

    To see how many mentors are needed and how many have registered in your county, visit: https://tnachieves.org/mentors/mentor-recruitment-dashboard/.

  • 06 Sep 2016 8:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    TASFAA Members!  TSAC needs your support for Financial Aid Awareness and Outreach events.  This is YOUR opportunity to support students and shine for TASFAA.  It is easy!  Volunteer for high school financial aid nights, TN FAFSA Frenzy events, FAFSA completion workshops to just name a few opportunities.  Check out the wonderful materials available at https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/gearuptn/attachments/TNFAFSAFrenzyToolkit2016.pdf  for our use.

    Please log into the TASFAA website and update your profile to volunteer.     Set your personal goal for September 9, 2016 to add “volunteer” to your TASFAA profile!   You can also email Diane LeJeune at diane.LeJeune@tn.gov to offer your assistance. If you plan your own event, please let Diane LeJeune, your TASFAA sector representative or me know. We can all work together to support college goals for our students and future TN students!

    Cherry Johnson

    Financial Aid Awareness Chair

    Cjohnson22@columbiastate.edu

     

     

     

     

  • 25 Jul 2016 7:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sustaining the Dream

    I just returned from the NASFAA conference where we celebrated 50 years as an organization. Student success stories were shared, affirming that education changes lives.  Being in Washington, DC at a time when our country is experiencing targeted violence and a tumultuous Presidential campaign challenged me to ask, “What can one person do to make a positive impact in our world?” As I found myself standing at the feet of the Martin Luther King, Jr monument, while hundreds of people gathered to pray and advocate for peace, I decided the answer is EDUCATION.  Education is key and we are at the doors of our institutions and organizations helping students with access and affordability for all who want to pursue their dream.  Dr. King said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”

    What a busy summer!  Your 2015-16 TASFAA Board met June 28th to wrap up their year. This was followed by a two day transition meeting for your 2016-17 Board members, during which we discussed how we can support our organization’s members and the TASFAA mission.  We spent time examining how we operate as a non-profit, how to be wise stewards of the budget we manage, and how we could enhance member benefits. 

    One of our first changes put to action was to increase our membership database with additional profile details. This information may be valuable to new and current members who would like to have a conversation regarding best practices, or how best to advance from interpretation to implementation. Think of them as subject expert mentors, available to all, realizing we work in an ever changing environment. Your board is creating a survey that will go out in August to all members.  Please take a few minutes (our goal is to keep it short) and send your feedback. And of course, training is on the calendar. Watch for details for our Fall Training Series, scheduled for October 19 – 21. 

    TSAC is promoting statewide collaboration for early FAFSA completion.  THEC, TSAC, TN DOE, tnAchieves, Southwest Tennessee Development District’s Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) and the Ayers Foundation have partnered together to create TN FAFSA Frenzy, a campaign to increase statewide FAFSA filing rates.  - See more at: http://www.tn.gov/gearuptn/article/tn-fafsa-frenzy-testing

    Their collaboration with our schools is an important initiative that many of you will be participating in.  Please share your events with Cherry Johnson (cjohnson22@columbiastate.edu), Financial Aid Awareness Chair, so we can celebrate these events to sustain the dream of education!  As your offices continue to package financial aid, respond to requests for reconsideration, and plan for orientations know with certainty that your work matters.  Education is Key!

    Karen Hauser
    TASFAA President
    2016-2017

  • 10 Jun 2016 12:36 PM | Anonymous member

    TASFAA – Looking Back to the Beginning…

    With TASFAA’s 50th Anniversary fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to look back at TASFAA’s beginning.  For those of you that have been a TASFAA member for a long time, you probably know about its history.  For those of you that are new to the Association, I thought you might enjoy learning how TASFAA began.  As I was looking through some of our historical documents, I came across a piece written by Everett Holmes for TASFAA’s 25th Anniversary about the Association’s early years.  Everett was TASFAA’s President for 1984-85 and was also its Poet Laureate.   The following was taken from Everett’s writing. 

    “The Tennessee Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, which came to be lovingly known as TASFAA, came into being in April of 1967.  Founded by a few, with a vision that was to lead to greatness, TASFAA came on the scene at a time of very small, initial beginnings.  Marc Maurer, in an annual presidential address delivered to the National Federation of the Blind, stated, ‘Once in a great while there comes a dramatic change—an event so striking in its effect that forever after a new direction is inevitable.  But more often, change does not have the appearance of drama.  Instead, there is a slight shift in emphasis—an alteration of mood.  Often the change that tips the scale is so slight that (at the time it occurs) it is completely unrecognized.  Only later, with the long view of history, can it be seen that this was a particular moment, the watershed, the critical juncture.’  Financial aid is like that.  Saturated with change.  Watersheds and benchmarks abound yearly.  Our early TASFAA leaders could not have known how their efforts of organization would impact those who would follow.  Their desire to equip themselves for service ultimately led to providing training and assistance not only for TASFAA members, but also to others from many states.”

    In a meeting that took place at the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 21, 1967, the group chose as its name, The Tennessee Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.  The 1967-68 officers the Association chose are as follows:

               

                Belt Keathley, President

                Middle Tennessee State University

                James A. Scholes, Vice President

                Vanderbilt University

                Sylvia Holloway, Secretary

                Tennessee Educational Loan Corporation

                Eunice Edwards, Treasurer

                Fisk University

    TASFAA offered membership to all persons in Tennessee who were primarily concerned with the administration of Student Financial Aid in institutions of higher education.  Fifty-two delegates from 42 state and private colleges and universities throughout Tennessee attended the organizational meeting hosted by Mr. George M. Talley (Executive Director) and Ms. Sylvia Holloway (Secretary) of the Tennessee Educational Loan Corporation.  Present at this organizational meeting were John G. Bannister, State Membership Chairman of the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, who called and chaired this organizational meeting; Tennessee Commissioner of Education, J. H. Warf; and Mrs. Marlan Watkins, U. S. Office of Education, who discussed with the group “Proposed Amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965.”      

    The second meeting was held October 30, 1967 once again in the Cordell Hull Building. Annual dues were $2.00 per member, active or associate.  The minutes of the meeting stated that a copy of the Constitution prepared by the Executive Committee was presented to each member.  The Constitution was adopted. 

    From the beginning, TASFAA held two major meetings each year.  A workshop, normally held in October, was built around the application for Federal funds.  An annual meeting conducted in April provided experiences for the professional development of the membership.  Special emphasis was given to programs for the training and equipping of the new financial aid administrators.

    During the state meeting at the February 1970 SASFAA Conference, a suggested change in the TASFAA Constitution and By-laws was submitted.  This change was a recommendation that an Annual Award be given each year at the spring meeting “to a member in good standing who has made a significant contribution in the field of Student Financial Aid Administration.”  This Award was titled “Outstanding Financial Aid Administrator of the Year.”

    The Spring 1970 conference was held in Nashville at the Ramada Inn.  Room rates were $11.50 for a single and $14.50 for a double!  As the 1969-70 year came to a close, John Bannister, Treasurer, reported a bank balance of $263.29.

    In 1971-72, Eunice Edwards from Fisk University became the first female, as well as the first member of TASFAA, to serve as SASFAA President. 

    Everett Holmes symbolized the care, pride, and dedication that have made our organization the success it is.  Everett passed away in December 2008, and is still missed by those of us that knew him.     

    Jan Lassiter

    TASFAA Historian


  • 28 Apr 2016 8:33 AM | Anonymous member

    Hello Everyone,

    This is a message from your TASFAA Training Chair, Janie Burns.  I want to share the information below with you just in case you did not see it on the IFAP website.  

    Subject: Online Training Modules - FSA Quick Takes

    Summary: This letter announces the availability of FSA Quick Takes, a new series of brief online recordings from Federal Student Aid on trending financial aid topics.

    Dear Colleague:

    We are pleased to announce the availability of a new online training opportunity for financial aid administrators. The FSA Quick Takes series offers short, focused recordings that integrate easily into a busy professional’s schedule. These recordings are accessible online and each is about 15 minutes long.

    The FSA Quick Takes series covers in-demand topics of current interest to the financial aid community, including:

    ·        Finding FSA Training

    ·        Conflicting Information

    ·        Paper Secondary Confirmation Part I and II

    ·        Professional Judgment

    FSA Quick Takes is available on the Federal Student Aid E-Training Web site, located athttp://fsatraining.info. To access the training series, log in to Federal Student Aid E-Trainingwith your username and password and select “Training by Topics” on the main menu bar. From the drop-down menu, choose "Quick Takes Videos" and then select "Start Here" to launch the series.

    Note: If you do not have a username and password for Federal Student Aid E-Training, click on "Create new account" on the home page and follow the instructions to create a username and password.

    In the future, watch for additional FSA Quick Takes training modules to be announced on the Federal Student Aid E-Training Web Site. We will also send e-mail notifications to Federal Student Aid E-Training account holders to announce the addition of new topics in the series.

    Thank you for your continued interest in and support of our training efforts. If you have questions about this new series or would like to suggest ideas for future topics to cover, please contact David Bartlett at david.bartlett@ed.gov.

    Sincerely,

    John Brooks 
    Acting Service Director, Operations 
    Federal Student Aid


  • 22 Mar 2016 8:35 AM | Anonymous member

    NASFAA signed a letter, along with 21 other associations, to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees to request support for student aid and research programs for FY17. The link to the letter can be found here.

    http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Letter-to-Appropriations-Committee-Leaders-on-Funding-Priorities-for-FY-2017.aspx


  • 10 Mar 2016 3:00 PM | Anonymous member

    Dear TASFAA,

    As TASFAA’s current President-Elect you afforded me the opportunity to attend the NASFAA Leadership Conference held in Washington D.C. February 23 – 25th.  


      NASFAA provided three conference tracks, including the Association Management Pathway.  The sessions were led by financial aid professionals who have current and prior state, regional and national association leadership roles.  The session topics were thorough and relevant to responsibilities of an association board member. I came away with increased confidence and knowledge of the year ahead in my role as your President for 2016-2017. 

    A dynamic and interactive presentation was made by Dr. Michela Perrone, faculty member at Georgetown University and president of MMP Associates. Other pertinent sessions offered time to examine our governing documents, strategic planning one year at a time, the fiscal business side of our association, and volunteer management. Many of us in attendance wrestled with maintaining board continuity year to year while introducing new board members and listening to new fresh ideas. Each session included time for in-depth discussions and networking with other association President-elects including our own Marian Huffman, current President-Elect of SASFAA.

    It became evident early in the conference that TASFAA is financially sound with a legacy of leadership provided by those colleagues who have and are serving our association. It is reassuring that moving TASFAA forward will not be a difficult undertaking.  We have great leaders and colleagues in our association that are willing to offer counsel, walk beside one another, lean in together to keep our association strong during challenging times in higher education.

    Wednesday, February 25 my trip to Washington D.C. ended with a productive visit to Capitol Hill. While the thought of meeting with legislative staff members of our state representatives in a historic city felt intimidating I was assured that they would be receptive to hear from a professional in the field of student financial aid.  I met with educational policy advisors Kathleen Smith, Andrew LaCasse, Lauren Davies, and Peter Oppenheim education policy director and counsel for the US Senate HELP committee.  In this meeting it was stressed that the biggest concern is the perception that students are not completing the FAFSA and therefore unaware of the aid that may be available to them. The group also expressed that Title IX is at the front of HEA. It was encouraging to hear them support a reduction of verification requirements with the PPY and DRT inception. The afternoon allowed visits with Justin Tooley from Representative Jim Cooper’s office and Kathleen Carlson from Representative Stephen Fincher’s office.  

    The conference followed by Hill visits was certainly a highlight of my 20+ years in financial aid. It allowed me the chance to step into an advocacy role where I could represent our education community at a different level.  I realize with fresh insight that in our service we provide to our students, the support we provide to our institutions and the time volunteering in our TASFAA organization makes the world better each day.  


  • 08 Mar 2016 1:15 PM | Anonymous member

    To encourage new members to pursue professional development opportunities and to enhance success within the financial aid profession, TASFAA is proud to offer the Clyde Walker Professional Development Scholarship.  The scholarship was named in honor and in memory of Clyde Walker who passed away September 23, 2013.  Mr. Walker was a Past President of TASFAA and had been a member of the association for many years.  He chaired and served on many TASFAA committees and a mentor to many.  He was Chair of the Association Governance Committee at the time of his passing.  This scholarship will cover the cost of registration for one (1) participant to attend the SASFAA New Aid Officers Workshop.  The 2016 SASFAA New Aid Officers Workshop, will be held June 19-24 at Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama.

    Eligibility Requirements:  To be eligible for the TASFAA Professional Development Scholarship, the applicant must:

    • Be a current TASFAA member who has not previously attended the SASFAA New Aid Officers Workshop.
    • Have five (5) years or less of financial aid experience.
    • Complete the application.
    • Submit a current resume and a letter of recommendation from the Financial Aid Director at the applicant’s institution.
    • Submit an original statement with the application. The statement should be at least one typed page in length on the following topic: Discuss the value and importance of student aid and how it relates to your choice of the Financial Aid profession.

    Additional Information:

    The scholarship will cover the cost of the SASFAA New Aid Officers Workshop registration.  The applicant is responsible for any remaining costs associated with the workshop (travel, etc.).

    Preference may be given to a past TASFAA New Aid Officers Workshop attendee.

    Applications (and all required documents) must be submitted to Janie Burns, TASFAA Training Committee Chair, no later than April 1, 2016.  The winner will be announced at the TASFAA annual conference, April 24-26 at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, TN.  All applicants are encouraged to attend the conference if possible.

    We look forward to receiving your application.

     

    Dick Smelser

    2015-2016 TASFAA President


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