TASFAA Community Blog

  • 09 Apr 2014 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    Please join us!  The TSAC DAFRs will be hosting a one hour webinar, Basic Introduction to EDconnect and NSLDS, on Thursday, April 17th at 10:00 a.m.(CDT)/11:00 a.m. (EDT).  This session will overview setting up and using EDconnect to access National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) report resources to aid in your institution’s efforts to reduce student loan defaults.  Email Jill Vickers at Jill.Vickers@tn.gov to reserve your spot today!


    Debby Nuchols

    Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation

    Default Aversion Field Representative, E. Tennessee


    Suite 1510,, Parkway Towers

    404 James Robertson Parkway

    Nashville, TN 37243

    Tele:  865.599.7459


  • 09 Apr 2014 10:38 AM | Anonymous

    It Takes a Campus to Prevent a Default: Gathering Internal Support to Promote Financial Education

    Submitted by Carissa Uhlman, Inceptia Vice President of Student Success



    When I first began working in financial aid, I was amazed at how much I did not know about the student aid process. My time in academics, records, admissions and student services had never required that I learn anything beyond how to file the FAFSA; the rest of the details were to be covered by the experts in the financial aid office. It was only after I became part of their ranks that I realized what a travesty it was that more offices weren’t made aware of financial aid policy, not only to help educate students, but to make the most of our clearly interconnected working relationship.



    Fast forward several years, and I now see the same situation playing out as it applies to financial education. Although important to all, the execution of a financial education program almost always falls squarely on the shoulders of the financial aid department. For an all hands on deck approach, such a massive and critical undertaking is daunting and may simply be a system overload for one department to manage alone. Here are the reasons and data as to why financial education is everyone’s job, and how to gain buy-in for campus-wide collaborative efforts.



    Why: Doing well by doing good

    Schools need students to survive, plain and simple. Thus a renewed focus on retention is a hot topic on many campuses. But seldom do discussions address the influence that external factors (like money) can have on student retention levels. This is surprising, given that financial pressure is the number one reason that students leave school (Chiang, 2007). An absence of consideration for this leading cause is presumably because a student’s finances are considered to be outside the college’s sphere of influence, or too taboo to discuss. However, an ESDA study shows that students disagree and are looking for schools to address this need: 100% of respondents feel their schools should provide financial education, but 79% find school efforts inadequate (2010). Clearly, higher education is doing itself a huge disservice by viewing student retention through a purely academic lens and not utilizing a holistic approach.



    Additionally, 89% of survey respondents indicated that they would have a more favorable view of schools with financial literacy programs (NFEC, 2013). So by addressing the number one drop-out factor, helping students understand how to  manage money while balancing education costs, and providing comprehensive  financial education, schools may be able to see an increase in retention rates and a competitive advantage over schools with no financial education programs. All while doing immeasurable good for the students they serve.



    How: Help create top-down momentum

    Let’s face it, your program has a much increased chance of success if your leadership team makes student financial literacy a priority.  And yet that support is hard to come by; just ask any financial aid director who has been banging this drum for years.



    Fortunately, those at the top are usually motivated by numbers and hard data. Even more fortuitous is the recent focus on shopping sheets, college ratings systems, and other proposed legislation that has put the financial aid office in the spotlight. These developments, in addition to the aforementioned retention facts, can be used to spark an interest at the higher level. Some key points to consider:


    • Help upper administration to understand how cohort default rates work, where yours currently stands, and the consequences of an increased rate. It is possible that they are not aware of the effect of CDR on an institution’s Title IV eligibility.
    • Highlight specific components of your program that would focus on default prevention (i.e. mandatory entrance counseling every year, for every student) and decrease the amount of students who over borrow (i.e. staggered disbursement schedules). With shopping sheets allowing students to compare default rates and median borrowing amounts, it is important for leaders to understand how increasing financial literacy can help to improve those numbers.
    • Stress the advantages to be gained from a proactive approach.  A number of pending new legislative proposals will continue to require schools to take more responsibility for student borrowing and default management:
      • The college ratings system (Pay for Performance) will evaluate factors such as keeping tuition low and helping students avoid excessive loan debt to determine a school’s financial aid eligibility.
      • The Smarter Borrowing Act would hold schools accountable for entrance and exit counseling requirements.
      • The Protect Student Borrowers Act would require schools with high default rates to pay a penalty that represents a portion of their students’ defaulted loan amounts.



    By forming your argument for a financial education program and presenting your case for approval, you will have taken two big steps in positioning your program for success. In part two of this article, we will address how to inspire and empower other campus departments to become program ambassadors.



    If you have tips or suggestions for turning financial literacy into a campus initiative, we’d like to hear your thoughts. Email carissau@inceptia.org.



    To learn more about how Inceptia can help you train and prepare your campus for financial education, please contact us via email at inceptiasales@inceptia.org or dial 888.529.2028.


  • 31 Mar 2014 9:09 AM | Anonymous

    Ann Tinnon was my colleague and one of my best friends.  In 1993, we lost her due to a brain tumor.  That year, to honor Ann and her dedication and work with TASFAA, the “TASFAA Presidential Scholarship” was renamed the “Ann Tinnon Memorial Scholarship”.   Each year the TASFAA President presents the scholarship to a student at their school.   Students are always so grateful for the support.  The Ann Tinnon Memorial Scholarship is certainly a worthwhile cause.

    Ann was already in the financial aid profession when I first started my career as a Director of Financial Aid.  Early years we didn’t have much money in our budgets for travel and we would share rooms so that we could attend conferences and workshops.  Just imagineundefinedhow many pairs of shoes could four women possibly have in one room?

    Ann was TASFAA President in 1982-83.  She was a wonderful presenter, trainer and loved helping students.  She was a loyal and supportive member of our profession.  Let’s keep her memory alive by donating to the Ann Tinnon Memorial Scholarship.

    Crusie Lucero

  • 24 Mar 2014 2:41 PM | Anonymous

    Ann Tinnon’s contributions to serving students were the focus of her professional life.  Ann realized the importance of developing lines of communication among the various professional associations that focused on helping students in their transition from high school to postsecondary education.  Ann was not only a leader in TASFAA, but accepted leadership roles in the Tennessee Personnel and Guidance Association (now called the Tennessee Counseling Association) and the Tennessee College Personnel Association (now part of TCA).  Through her leadership, joint meetings were held and TASFAA membership was encouraged to be active in the other associations to coordinate the efforts to serve high school students in Tennessee. 



    While Director of Financial Aid at U.T. Chattanooga, Ann was a strong supporter of TSAC.  During the spring state legislative session in 1985, a national guarantor made an attempt to take over TSAC legislatively going around the TSAC Board, TASFAA and THEC.  The newly appointed Executive Director of TSAC was a neophyte when it came to the state legislature and was extremely concerned about the impact on students and the agency.  It was Ann that said, “Have you talked to my friend, Paul Starnes?”  At that time Representative Starnes was Chairman of the House Education Committee and through that introduction to TSAC’s Executive Director, the legislation was stopped and TSAC protected.



    Ann worked in public higher education and after retiring from UTC, she worked in financial aid at a private, for-profit institution in Chattanooga and continued her service to students and the profession. 



    Ann was actively involved in the training of new aid officers for TASFAA, training high school counselors and college admissions officers.  She was a kind, compassionate friend to students and fellow professionals.  It is very appropriate that TASFAA honors her memory with the Ann Tinnon Scholarship. 



    Shared by Ron Gambill

  • 19 Mar 2014 10:11 AM | Anonymous
    The Ann Tinnon Scholarship Fund is being revitalized and newer TASFAA members are being introduced to Ann through articles on the TASFAA President's Blog. Ann's legacy of caring for TASFAA, the Association, its members, and the students we serve is honored in a scholarship given each year to a student attending the TASFAA President's school. Ann Tinnon and so many other wonderful financial aid professionals/colleagues may have departed from us too quickly, but they did bestow their legacy of caring. Let’s remember each of those and continue to carry their gift of service as a light into the future though a yearly gift to a student.

    Please Support the Ann Tinnon Scholarship Fund during the conference. There will be many opportunities to give, including a silent auction to be held in the Exhibit Hall. Share in a TASFAA Legacy!



    Ann Tinnon was an amazing woman.  



    She touched the lives of those of us who had the honor to call her a friend.  In my case, not only was she my friend but she was my boss when I first entered the world of financial aid.  When I became a member of the financial aid community she welcomed me into the profession as did many of her friends.



    Ann often said "we work hard and we play just as hard".   It wasn't unusual for us to work all day, leave the office, get something to eat and then go to a campus event such as a basketball game or a play offered by the theater department.  She had us all feeling like family.


    Ann loved her family and friends.  She was a frequent traveler all across the U.S. and Europe and always had interesting stories to share when she returned.  Besides travelling, her other passions were shopping and needlepoint.  When we travelled to financial aid workshops and conferences, it was assumed that shopping was on the agenda. She loved to laugh and could tell the funniest stories about things that happened to her.



    This wonderful woman shared with me her love of financial aid and her commitment to help others to be able to go to college.  She was my boss and became my friend and mentor.  I wish that those of you, who didn't have the opportunity to know her, could have had the chance to just be in her presence.  I miss her still and when I do I always smile, she was a joy to know and I am a better person for it.



    Shared by Darolyn Porter



  • 11 Mar 2014 10:13 AM | Anonymous

    TASFAA’s Fundraising Event




    Each year, TASFAA chooses a worthy cause to support during the Annual Conference.  Our fundraising event this year is one that is close to all of our hearts.  Each year, funds are appropriated in our budget for the TASFAA President to award a modest scholarship to a student of his/her choice.

    A goal of our TASFAA President, Jeff Gerkin, is to work to ensure the perpetuity of the scholarship by raising money with the possibility of establishing an endowment.

    For many years, the award was simply the “TASFAA Presidential Scholarship”.  That changed in 1993 when TASFAA suddenly lost a dear friend and colleague, Ann Tinnon.  In her memory, the TASFAA Board changed the name to the “Ann Tinnon Memorial Scholarship”.   You can read more about her on the TASFAA blog.

    We need your help.  There will be a Silent Auction set up in the Vender Area of the conference and we need items to be auctioned. Here are a few examples of possible auction items:


    • ·         Craft Items-Are you a crafter or know a crafter?


    • ·         Sports Paraphernalia

    • ·         Autographed pictures/books/etc. of famous people (country singers/ athletes/ celebrities)

    • ·         Items representing TN products/schools/universities/colleges

    • ·         Theme Baskets i.e. Mexican Food Basket, Coffee Basket, Baby Gift Basket, be creative.

    • ·         Anything else that you think someone would bid on that you would love to have yourself

    Any item that you feel could raise money or be a benefit for our cause would be great.

    Please send the name of the item along with a brief description if necessary to me, Sandra Rockett atrockett@dscc.edu.  If you can send a picture, that would help us with the advance publicity.

    We think this could be a lot of fun.  Please take time to think about donating an item.  However, if not an item please plan to visit the Silent Auction during the conference to place your bid.


    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Sandra Rockett, Chair

  • 11 Mar 2014 10:10 AM | Anonymous

    TASFAA Conference Hotel Information

    The TASFAA Conference, scheduled for April 6 - 9, 2014 is quickly approaching.  The Marriott Conference Center has a few rooms left in our block for Sunday, April 6.  The deadline to secure a room at our blocked rate ($139) is Friday.

    Since the Marriott is almost full, we have secured the Drury Plaza Hotel located 1.6 miles from the Marriott, off Interstate 65. This is a new hotel for the Franklin Cool Spring area. They are offering a room rate of $139.95 for TASFAA members. I will post the hotel link, with the TASFAA code, to the TASFAA website within the next 48 hours.

    Don't forget to send your newer financial aid personnel to the TASFAA New Aid Officers Workshop.  This is a one-day event scheduled for Sunday, April 6th.

    In the meantime...Register for the conference today!   Your Conference Committee has planned a full agenda! See you soon.

    Karen Hauser

    Conference Chair

  • 11 Mar 2014 10:08 AM | Anonymous

    It’s Spring Training Season at Nelnet. Click the blue links below to register for trainings taking place this week. Hope to “see” you there!!

    Creating a Default Prevention Team and Plan

    This session will focus on creating a Default Prevention team and action plan. Specific aspects of team development will be addressed, along with the components of the action plan. Additionally, the importance of specific steps schools should follow in their respective approaches will be discussed. A template for school use will be provided.

    Date:  Tuesday, March 11, 2014
    Time:  2:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
    Session Number: 
    804 227 778

    Social Media and the Financial Aid Office

    This session takes a look at the communication preferences of today’s college student. It covers how schools use social media and the steps needed to create a successful social media program on your campus. We will take a closer look at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with an eye toward how aid offices can use these forums to connect with and counsel students. Additionally, guidelines are provided for creating campus social media plans.

    Date:  Wednesday, March 12, 2014
    Time:  11:00 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
    Session Number: 
    802 596 740

    Date:  Wednesday, March 12, 2014
    Time:  2:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
    Session Number: 
    807 838 619

  • 11 Mar 2014 9:55 AM | Anonymous

    April 2014 SmartSessions

    The Student Loan View from the Credit Reporting Cycle

    The choices borrowers make with their student loansundefinedboth positive and negativeundefinedare reflected on their credit reports. Do you know how to explain the credit reporting cycle to your students? This session will walk through the credit reporting cycle to demonstrate the effects of timely loan payments, as well as the impact of delinquency and default on long term credit history. Attend this session to learn ways for educating your students.    

    Specific topics covered include:

    • ·         How and when loans are reported to the credit bureaus
    • ·         The impact on a borrower’s credit report based on their repayment plan and status
    • ·         Strategies for educating borrowers to improve their financial health

    April 10th @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    The Student Loan View from the Credit Reporting Cycle

    April 29th @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time

    The Student Loan View from the Credit Reporting Cycle

    Checks and Balances: Help Students Budget More and Borrow Less

    Budgeting is not fun but it is crucial to financial success. Do you know how to teach your students to budget wisely for long term financial health? During this session we’ll show you ways to encourage your students to budget carefully, manage spending, and prepare for financial emergencies. We’ll also provide resources that you can share with your students to help them develop responsible money skills.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • ·         How to develop a budget and common stumbling blocks
    • ·         Ways to curb spending
    • ·         How to minimize loan debt

    April 15th @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time

    Checks and Balances: Help Students Budget More and Borrow Less

    April 22nd @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Checks and Balances: Help Students Budget More and Borrow Less

    Preparing Graduate and Professional Students for a Fiscally Sound Future

    • Upon graduation, professional students often juggle family life and job searches, in addition to managing student loan debt.  Do you know how to help them plan for a fiscally sound future? Graduate and professional students need targeted financial counseling because their needs are different from your undergraduate students.  Learn how you can further your students' financial knowledge to ensure they'll be prepared for a fiscally sound future.
    • Specific topics covered include:
    • ·         Specific repayment challenges faced by graduate and professional students
    • ·         Skills needed for financial management           
    • ·         Techniques for educating your graduate and professional borrowers
    • April 17th @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time
    • April 23rd @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Student Employment: A Whole Different Class

    Student employment provides a valuable resource to both the campus and the student. Does your office know how to maximize this resource? Attend this webinar to learn about the benefits you can reap from your student employment office, regulations for using Federal Work Study, and techniques for improving the overall student experience.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • ·         The benefits of student employment
    • ·         The core components of the Federal Work-Study Program
    • ·         Ways to maximize efficiency
    • ·         Best Practices to Improve Your Program

    April 16th @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Student Employment: A Whole Different Class

    April 23rd @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time

    Student Employment: A Whole Different Class

    Transitioning from Grace to Repayment: Maximize the Opportunity

    During their grace period, students should plan for successful repayment. You can help maximize this planning period through strategic outreach and communication.  During this session, we will show you how Great Lakes communicates with borrowers during grace, review the various repayment options available to students, and share ideas for outreach efforts that you can implement at your institution.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • ·         Examples of correspondence Great Lakes sends to borrowers during grace
    • ·         Repayment options: finding the right fit
    • ·         Suggestions for outreach and communications that work for your borrowers

    April 2nd @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time

    Transitioning from Grace to Repayment: Maximize the Opportunity

    April 17th @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Transitioning from Grace to Repayment: Maximize the Opportunity

    FERPA: Interpreting the Intricacies

    Protecting student privacy is paramount. Understand what needs to be included in your school’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) policy and gain a working knowledge of how to ensure FERPA privacy requirements are met in real-world scenarios. Consider this course not just an introduction to the basics of FERPA, but also an in-depth guide to understanding the rights of students and their parents regarding student education records. The materials presented have been vetted by our privacy specialists to ensure that you get the most accurate and comprehensive assistance available.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • ·         Review of final rules
    • ·         Student and parent rights and FERPA
    • ·         Right to access, review, and amend an education record
    • ·         Compliance, complaints, and enforcement

    April 9th @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    FERPA: Interpreting the Intricacies

    Consumer Information Requirements

    Increased attention being paid to transparency in higher education has resulted in recent changes to consumer information regulations. This session will help you maintain compliance with a review of existing and new consumer information requirements.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • Overview of basic consumer information requirements
    • Loan counseling
    • Misrepresentation
    • Campus security

    April 3rd @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Consumer Information Requirements

    April 22nd @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time

    Consumer Information Requirements

    Satisfactory Academic Progress: Moving Students in the Right Direction

    To be eligible for FSA funds, a student must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP), and schools must have a reasonable policy for monitoring that progress. Learn the basics of the SAP policy and how it affects you. This session will review the requirements so you can respond to your students’ needs and move them toward successfully completing the program for which they are receiving aid.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • Understanding institutional requirements
    • Identifying student eligibility requirements
    • Appreciating the differences between qualitative and quantitative components
    • Exploring consumer information requirements

    April 8th @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Satisfactory Academic Progress: Moving Students in the Right Direction

    April 16th @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time

    Satisfactory Academic Progress: Moving Students in the Right Direction

    Loan Repayment Strategies Part 1:  Help your Students Choose the Right Plan for Success

    There are many repayment options available to help students plan for and successfully repay their student loans. Do you know which plans are right for your students? Research indicates that borrowers are more likely to successfully repay loans when they have selected a plan that fits their needs. This webinar will illustrate for you which of the seven repayment plans, including consolidation, will help them enter and successfully complete the repayment process.

    Specific topics covered include:

              The 8 available repayment plans – who qualifies and how?

              Pros and cons of each plan

              Borrower scenarios to help you with your loan counseling

              Techniques for helping your students develop a repayment strategy

    April 24th @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time

    Loan Repayment Strategies Part 1:  Help your Students Choose the Right Plan for Success

    April 29th @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Loan Repayment Strategies Part 1:  Help your Students Choose the Right Plan for Success

    Loan Repayment Strategies Part 2:  Understanding Forgiveness, Forbearance, and Deferment

    During the loan lifecycle, students may need to use the available Forgiveness, Forbearance, and Deferment Options as part of a successful repayment strategy.  Do you know how to counsel students about when and how they can and should use these options? This webinar will help you understand how students qualify for these borrower options and when they provide the most benefit to their successful repayment strategy.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Understanding deferment, forbearance, and forgiveness options

              Pros and cons of each option

              Borrower scenarios to help you with your loan counseling

              Techniques for helping your students develop a repayment strategy

    April 9th @ 3:00 PM, Eastern time

    Loan Repayment Strategies Part 2:  Understanding Forgiveness, Forbearance, and Deferment

    April 15th @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Loan Repayment Strategies Part 2:  Understanding Forgiveness, Forbearance, and Deferment

    Great Lakes Default Management Tools: Learn, Access, Implement

    Staying in touch with borrowers who are struggling with repayment can help you minimize your cohort default rate.  Great Lakes tools can help you with these important outreach efforts. This session will show you how to use our Borrowers at Risk report and Delinquency Letter Tool to connect with former students and steer them away from default. You’ll also learn how schools have successfully tackled specific default challenges using our tools.

    April 30th @ 12:00 PM, Eastern time

    Great Lakes Default Management Tools: Learn, Access, Implement

  • 11 Mar 2014 9:51 AM | Anonymous

    A Look Back on Financial Aid History
    Reflects Astute Perspective

    By Sara Whitwer, Inceptia Marketing Director

    In 1643, Lady Anne Radcliffe Mowlson gave Harvard College 100 English Pounds to support needy scholars. With that, the first financial aid event was recorded in what is now the United States.

    Three hundred and seventy-one years later, college-bound students still need assistance to help pay for college. The events that took place between Lady Anne’s gift and 2014 shaped our present-day financial aid offices.

    So, what were the major moments in financial aid history? Inceptia takes a look back to reflect on the events that shaped the financial aid industry in an interactive timeline.

    Add your favorite moment in financial aid history by tweeting to hashtag #FinAidHistory. Was it the signing of the Higher Education Act in 1965 or was it the day you paid off your own student loan? One of Inceptia’s favorite moments was in 2011 when school partners began benefiting from performance-based pricing.

    Join the conversation and make your own indelible imprint on Financial Aid History.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software