TASFAA Community Blog

  • 28 Apr 2016 8:33 AM | Anonymous

    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.


    John Brooks 
    Acting Service Director, Operations 
    Federal Student Aid

  • 22 Mar 2016 8:35 AM | Anonymous

    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.


  • 10 Mar 2016 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    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

    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

  • 07 Mar 2016 12:17 PM | Anonymous

    Register now to reserve your spot for the training workshop on March 11, 2016 at TCAT at  Nashville.  The sessions for the day include the following topics:

    Overview of Financial Aid                                                                                                                                         

    Resolving Conflicting Information

    NSLDS Update

    State Grant and Scholarship Programs

    Lottery Scholarship Program

    Tennessee Promise Program


    Please click on the following link to register to attend http://tn.gov/collegepays/article/tsac-new-aid-officers-training-event. Directions and parking information will be provided once you’ve registered to attend.  Refreshments will be served from8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and the workshop sessions will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m.  Lunch will be provided.  The deadline for reserving your space is March 8th.  

  • 25 Feb 2016 7:29 AM | Anonymous

    Take Our CDRs Quiz, Check Out Important Reminder

    Submitted by Dave Bowman, Regional Director
    Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.

    Reviewing your draft Cohort Default Rates can test your brain power—and figuring out whether a student belongs in a particular cohort year might be harder than you think. How well do you know the factors that determine cohort year? Take our three-question quiz to find out.

    Quiz: Can You Place These Students in the Correct CDR Calculation?

    1.       Emma, History Degree

    • Emma graduated and received her degree in history from your school in December 2012. She defaulted on her loan in June 2015. According to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), she transferred to another school to begin graduate school. Should Emma’s loan be included in your fiscal year (FY) 2013 CDR calculation? What information do you need to answer that question?
    • 2.       Miguel, Engineering Degree
    • Miguel graduated from your university’s School of Engineering on June 1, 2013. A stellar student and budget-conscious planner, Miguel landed a high-paying job right out of college and promptly paid his loan in full on July 16, 2013. Should his loan be included in your CDR calculation for FY 2013? Why or why not?
    • 3.       Gavin, No Degree
    • After a year in school, Gavin decided college wasn't for him, and withdrew from your school in May 2012. He defaulted on his loans in July 2013. He later realized college was the best path to a financially stable career, and consolidated his loans in December 2013 in order to regain Title IV eligibility. Should Gavin's loans be included in your school's FY 2013 CDR calculation?


    Quiz Answers


    • 1.       Emma You need the actual date Emma entered repayment (DER). The key here is that, if the DER is delayed by re-enrolling in school prior to the end of grace, inclusion in a CDR calculation is also delayed. If Emma entered repayment in June 2013—six months after she graduated from your school—and enrolled in graduate school after her grace period, her loan would be included in your calculation for FY 2013. But if Emma started a graduate program at another school before her grace period ended, and entered repayment in October 2013 or later, she will be included in a later fiscal year CDR for your school.
    • 2.       Miguel
    • Yes, his loan should be included for FY 2013. His estimated date entered repayment (DER) based on graduation is replaced by a new repayment date based on the paid-in-full date. Since Miguel repaid his loan in full on July 16, 2013 (in FY 2013, which runs from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013) rather than entering repayment as anticipated in December 2, 2013 (FY 2014), his loan should be included in CDR calculations for FY 2013 rather than for FY 2014. This also holds true for loans discharged due to death, bankruptcy, and disability.
    • 3.       Gavin
      Yes. The date his underlying loans entered repayment is the date used in the CDR calculation. In this case, Gavin entered repayment during FY 2013 for the underlying loans on which he defaulted—and these loans should be included in your FY 2013 CDR despite the consolidation in FY 2014.


    Important CDR Reminder: Regulatory changes recently announced to the CDR challenge process for the Participation Rate Index do not take effect until 2017!

    Dave Bowman is a Regional Director with Great Lakes, serving schools in Kentucky, Tennessee and Southern Ohio. You can reach Dave at (888) 685-1604, or by email at dbowman@glhec.org. Additional information about Great Lakes can be found online at schools.mygreatlakes.org

  • 03 Nov 2015 9:34 AM | Anonymous

    TASFAA friends, we need nominations for YOUR Executive Board!!  Please take a few moments to consider who would make a great candidate for each of the positions below.  Be sure to ask your nominee if they are interested in running before submitting their name.  Maybe YOU would make a great candidate!!  Keep in mind that running for office is a big, yet very rewarding commitment.

    Positions open for 2016-2017:

    President-Elect: Will serve as TASFAA President for 2017-2018.

    Secretary: Recorder of the Association and the custodian of its records.

    Sector Representatives: Voting members of the Executive Board who represent their respective sectors.

    • ·        Community College Representative
    • ·        Private Institution Representative
    • ·        Public 4 Year Representative
    • ·        Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT) Representative
    • ·        Proprietary Institution Representative
    • ·        At-Large Representative (Represents all of those included in the TASFAA membership)

    If you have any questions or would like more information about any of the open positions or the TASFAA election process, please contact any member of the Nominations and Elections Committee.


    Celena Tulloss-                University of Tennessee Knoxville

                   Sandra Rockett-               Dyersburg State Community College

                   Cara Suhr-                      TCAT Nashville

                   Marian Dill-                      Lee University

    Nominations will be accepted through December 4, 2015 and may be sent to ctulloss@utk.edu.  All nominations will be kept confidential.  TASFAA elections will begin in January.  We look forward to receiving your nominations!

    Celena Tulloss

    TASFAA Past-President 2015-2016

  • 01 Oct 2015 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    TASFAA Governmental Relations Update

    Government Shut Down Avoided

    The Senate passed a short-term Continuing Resolution Wednesday that allows the federal government to remain open through December 11, 2015.  During the interim, budget talks will continue regarding a two-year budget deal that is desired.  Due to the current differences between the two parties and the Presidential election in 2016, it would not be surprising to end up with another short-term continuing resolution that goes through the November elections.

    Federal Perkins Loan Program in Wind-Down

    The Senate did not extend the Federal Perkins Loan Program yesterday, which ended the federal fiscal year.  Although the House of Representatives passed a one-year extension on a voice, consent vote last week, the unanimous consent vote was blocked by Senator Alexander, who chairs the Senate HELP Committee.  The USDE provided the guidelines for the wind-down of the Federal Perkins Loan Program in a Dear Colleague Letter (GEN-15-03) published January 30, 2015.  Additionally, the Department of Education provided wind-down Questions and Answers regarding the Perkins Program on the Campus-Based Processing Information page on the IFAP website. 


    Submitted by Ron Gambill

    TASFAA Governmental Relations Committee 

  • 21 Sep 2015 1:57 PM | Anonymous


    Registration for the TAFAA Fall Training is ready! 

    Our current President Dick Smelser has chosen to focus on Legacy for Leadership for the 2015-2016 year. 

    For those of you in a leadership position, who is the person in your office who would step into your role when you are no longer available?  What legacy will you leave behind to ensure that your office and your college are left in capable hands?  Ensuring that you provide your office with a well trained staff is vital in leaving a legacy for your school.

    TASFAA/TSAC Fall Training Series is coming soon to provide training to help fulfil your Legacy for Leadership.  It will be a well-rounded event providing sessions to develop you and your staff’s knowledge on a multitude of subjects.

    Our Federal Session will be presented by the one and only Dave Bartnicki.  Any of you who have seen Dave in action know that when he is done we will be well informed and thoroughly entertained!

    Robert Biggers and James Snider from TSAC will present on our state programs such as TSAA, Hope, and Tennessee Promise. Robert and James will provide you with their wealth of knowledge to assist you with the ever-changing complexity of our state programs.

    Another awesome addition this year is the NASFAA Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Training Session.  Not only will you learn all you need to know about SAP, if you complete this 

    training you are allowed to take the NASFAA Credential test for SAP at no cost to you!  This is a savings of $99.00.  If you want to know more about NASFAA Credentialing click here.

    You must be a TASFAA member before registering.  Please click here to visit the membership application page if you are not currently a member of TASFAA. 

    Select from the following locations to attend training:

    Workshop West TN – Union University in Jackson on October 28th

    Workshop Middle TN – TN State University in Nashville on October 29th

    Workshop East TN – Johnson University Knoxville on October 30th

    The cost of the training is $65.00 per person. 

    All regions have the following agenda:




     8:15 - 9:00



     9:00 - 10:00

     Top Ten Compliance Issues

     Dave Bartnicki

     10:00 - 10:15



     10:15 - 11:45

    Federal Update, Verification, 
    and Enrollment Reporting

     Dave Bartnicki

     11:45 - 12:30



     12:30 - 2:00

     TSAC Update

     Robert Biggers and  James Snider

     2:00 - 2:15



     2:15 - 3:45

     NASFAA SAP Training

     Janie Burns and Larry Rector

  • 09 Apr 2015 8:44 AM | Anonymous

    TASFAA Spring Update!!

    It’s one of the busiest times of year for most of us, but as we celebrate National Volunteer Week beginning on the 12th, I’d like to take some time to recognize all of the TASFAA folks who volunteer in our association and beyond.

    First, TASFAA Governmental Relations Committee Chair Ron Gambill (Edsouth) and member Larry Rector (Johnson University) visited Washington, D.C. to lobby for various Federal Student Aid issues.  Larry’s account of the trip was featured on the SASFAA Nine News blog.  They met with two Senators and three Representatives over the two day trip.  Thank you Ron and Larry for representing TASFAA and advocating for our Tennessee students!

    Next, former TASFAA President and Director of Financial Aid at Lee University, Marian Dill was chosen to serve as a Primary Negotiator, representing private, non-profit institutions for the U.S. Department of Education’s Negotiated Rulemaking on Title IV loan issues.  Marian is currently serving as the Vice President of SASFAA and was recently voted SASFAA President-Elect for the 2015-2016 year.  Kudos to Marian on her achievements! 

    Most recently, President-Elect Dick Smelser attended the NASFAA Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo.  The conference helps prepare state association presidents and leaders from across the United States.  Dick was also able to advocate for our students on Capitol Hill, even being invited to the “Tennessee Breakfast” with Senators Alexander and Corker.  We look forward to your year as President Mr. Smelser!

    Last but not least, I want to acknowledge the work of Leah Louallen and the 2015 TASFAA Conference Committee.  We have an amazing agenda this year, full of great presenters (including David Bartnicki), as well as lots of fun.  We have a new conference location at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, a powerhouse opening speaker in June Cline, and surprises you won’t want to miss.  Please make plans to join us April 26-29, for “TASFAA: A Growing Family Tree”.  http://tasfaatn.com/Conference

    As always, I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve as President of this amazing association, with such a spirit of friendship and volunteerism.  I salute each of you this National Volunteer Week. 

    Thanks for all you do TASFAA family!


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