The Retirement of a Legend

Mr. Governor Jackson, Executive Director of Financial Aid at Texas Women’s University (TWU) for 44 years, will be retiring March 31, 2018. A reception will be held in his honor on March 28th at TWU from 3 – 5 p.m.

Mr. Jackson is practically a legend within the financial aid industry. He is one of the longest serving directors of financial aid–if not the longest. He has served on the Board of Directors for TASFAA, as well as numerous positions with SWASFAA and NASFAA. In addition, he has been a Board of Director with the North Texas Higher Education Authority and an active member of several reauthorization committees. Also, Mr. Jackson has mentored quite a few employees that have moved on to other schools in various leadership capacities. He has assisted thousands of students to obtain a higher education, and he has received so many accolades and honors for his dedication and excellent work that they could easily fill a short novel.

I wanted to provide a bird’s eye view of how his staff, present and past, have felt about Governor throughout his career. The common theme echoed over and over is that, “Governor was a leader to all of us, and it has been a privilege to work for him.” He is considered a man of great integrity, expected all of us to do our best, and constantly valued the virtues of training and reaching outside one’s comfort zone.

Recently, when Governor was sharing his retirement plans with his staff, he stated how important all of us were to him and that he’s had a wonderful staff. He continued to say that this, working with his staff, was the favorite part of his job

So I wanted to let everyone in our Association know how much Governor means to all of us. His leadership made us, at TWU, feel valued and respected. We are grateful we had Governor as a boss. His kindness, fairness, and humor made us want to strive to be like him. Thank you, Governor, for all you have done for the financial aid profession and as our director. You have left a legacy and set the bar very high for all of us serving in this profession.


Karen Long-Trail, MBA
Coordinator of Admissions and Financial Aid
Registrar and Financial Aid
Texas Women’s University

Kimberly Adams
Brian King
Josh Cowley
Judi Jewel
Elizabeth Mendoza
Jasmyne Donahue
Robert Fishkind
Dominga Dominguez
Keri Farrier
Grace Molchan
Lindsay Partridge
Lauren Miller
Brandy Gilliam
Jennifer Lewis
Rebecca Gardner
Jessica Hogan
Julie Wittmis

A Resource to Help You Educate Others on Financial Aid

Often as financial aid professionals, we get asked by those not in the business . . . how does it work or what is financial aid? Those asking us these questions may be the administrators at our schools or those developing public policy affecting state or federal financial aid programs. It’s critical that these questions be effectively answered to illuminate the vital role that financial aid plays in improving the lives of so many students. To help assist you in this important education process, the TASFAA Board of Directors, in conjunction with the TASFAA Legislative Issues Committee, has developed Financial Aid 101.

This presentation can be used by members to help explain the crucial work TASFAA members perform in assisting students access a high education. It also addresses the financial aid process, the aid dollars involved, and the benefit aid programs have on students’ lives. To view and download the Financial Aid 101 presentation, click here.

TASFAA Members Meet with Congressmen about the Future of Financial Aid

Angelika Williams, Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid— Texas A&M University-San Antonio, took to Capitol Hill in February and met with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Ms. Williams’ discussion with Senator Cruz illuminated the prominent factors of federal student aid, including concerns about eliminating significant federal aid programs. Ms. Williams advocated for students by encouraging positive changes in the Higher Education Act (HEA) to increase students’ ability to attend and afford college.

Ms. Williams spoke with Senator Cruz regarding Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s diverse student population and the proposed elimination of student aid programs in the federal budget. She communicated the impact this could have in the university’s ability to maintain diversity, help all students, and promote positive social change within the San Antonio community.

Angelika Williams with Senator Ted Cruz

Karen Long-Trail, Coordinator of Financial Aid & Registrar— Texas Woman’s University-Dallas, recently met with Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) during a NASFAA Conference in Washington, DC.

Ms. Long-Trail and Congressman Sessions’ discussion included topics of federal student aid programs and financial literacy. Ms. Long-Trail and Congressman Sessions spoke about the value of saving early for a child’s higher education and teaching students how to budget, as well as the benefit of partnerships with hospitals for those in Health Sciences.

Additionally, Ms. Long-Trail shared about the training TASFAA provides to financial aid professionals, such as New Aid Officer Workshops and Regional Training. Congressman Sessions expressed hopes to call on TASFAA members from time to time as a resource and possible advocate for various programs.

Ms. Long-Trail stated, It was a wonderful experience to spend time with Congressman Pete Sessions.”

Karen Long-Trail with Congressman Pete Sessions

TASFAA Board Adopts Strategic Plan

TASFAA continues to grow in its energy and activities, which is reflective of its involved and talented members. To ensure our Association works as effectively as possible for all of us (its members), it was determined by the TASFAA Board that a multi-year strategic plan needed to be developed. Therefore, the Board decided to create a three-year strategic plan formulated on the input and insights of its members.

From July of 2017 through January of 2018, input was sought through various forums (e.g., via survey) at each stage of the plan’s development. Many members provided critical ideas that were incorporated into TASFAA’s new three-year strategic plan, which was adopted by the TASFAA Board on January 20, 2018. With a strategic plan now in place, the TASFAA Board will be able to help guide the Association in an even more focused and deliberate manner for the benefit of TASFAA members.

To the Board and to the Association as a whole, thank you for your time and thoughtful contributions in the development of TASFAA’s strategic plan. To view the strategic plan, click here.


Christopher D. Murr, Ph.D.
TASFAA President

TASFAA 50th Conference Reflections

And just like that… it’s over. We had a wonderful time celebrating TASFAA’s 50th anniversary last week in San Antonio. We honored our past presidents and excitedly looked toward the next 50 years. Being conference chair, along with the fabulous Sarah Webb, was an honor. My hope is that if you attended, you learned something, made a new friend, were challenged to think of things differently, and considered volunteering for TASFAA… this organization is great because of awesome volunteers like those on our stellar committee.

In case you were not able to join, here are just a few photos to give you a taste of what it was like last week. Next year will be even better! Stay tuned for an email asking you to rate your conference experience. Your feedback will help next year’s committee.

Erika Cox