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TASFAA Community Blog

  • 25 Jul 2016 7:51 AM | Anonymous member

    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:

    Their collaboration with our schools is an important initiative that many of you will be participating in.  Please share your events with Cherry Johnson (, 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

  • 10 Jun 2016 12:36 PM | Anonymous

    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

    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 at 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


    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 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 Additional information about Great Lakes can be found online at

  • 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  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 

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