Samreen Khurram Selected for NASFAA’s Diversity Leadership Program

Hi TASFAA!

Congratulations to Samreen Khurram from Lone Star College; who is a member of NASFAA’s Diversity Leadership Program. This program provides selectees from a wide range of diverse backgrounds with a robust portfolio of benefits, mentorship, and guidance on how to develop as a financial aid association leader at the state, regional, and national level.

TASFAA is very excited for Samreen to have been selected for this program.

Delisa Falks
TASFAA President
2018-2019

Samreen Khurram
Director, Financial Aid
Lone Star College-Tomball
Tomball, TX

When Samreen entered into the field of financial aid 18 years ago, she did not know she would be kickstarting a career in helping students—much like herself—succeed in higher education. She accepted a student-worker position at Houston Community College after hearing about the job from her financial aid advisor, and discovered that she really “enjoyed helping students achieve their educational goals by providing them with financial aid options and advice, which would help alleviate financial stress from them.” In her current position serving as the financial aid director at Lone-Star College-Tomball, Samreen has offered numerous financial literacy sessions for students, and partnered with other departments and community leaders to create learning experiences for students in their desired field of study. Samreen has also worked with several community donors to design scholarships geared toward minority students.

“Being myself a part of a minority group, I am fully committed to enhancing skills that can help underrepresented groups of the community overcome challenges and roadblocks they face today in their educational environment,” Samreen said. “Through this leadership program I want to be able to guide and mentor people of not only different races and genders, but also people from different generations, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, and people with disabilities. I believe this leadership program will also empower me to bring my ideas and experiences to the larger conversation on education policies, which are critical to the future success of our students.”

Why is diversity important to the profession of financial aid and higher education?

It is our goal in financial aid to provide quality service without any bias to students who come from a variety of backgrounds. In order to better assist a diverse student population, we need to understand their needs and backgrounds, which can be achieved by diversifying the financial aid profession. Diversity not only brings new ideas to the table, but also encourages and sets examples for students that anyone can be successful.

How have you seen diversity in higher education change since you began your career? What gaps/issues remain?

Over my 18-year career in financial aid I have seen improvement in the inclusion and acceptance of people based on their gender, race, cultural background, sexual orientation, and religion. But a lot of work still needs to be done—especially at the college and university leadership level. We need leaders who can relate to the students and staff not through training, but through personal experiences.

What are some of your career and personal life goals?

I want to start a non-profit organization that helps and guides underserved and underrepresented populations through their educational paths. I feel that a lot of students who are first-generation college students need early guidance from their middle school to help them achieve their educational goals. This will include educating the parents and students on the ups and downs of the education system and giving them advice on how to navigate the admissions and financial aid processes.

If you go back to any period in time, when would that be and why?

I want to go back to the 1990s with my son. I miss all those cartoons and the childhood experiences. I would love for my son to spend his toddler years in a minimum-technology environment.

 What’s your favorite way to relax?

I relax by coloring or playing video games.

 Any hidden talents?

I can read a student aid report

Deadline Approaching – Submit Your TASFAA Board Nominations

The deadline to submit your nominations for officers of the TASFAA Board is fast approaching. The nomination process will close at 5 pm on April 15. The nomination form is located on the TASFAA website at the below link.

Nomination Form

Officer Positions

  • President-Elect – Serves President-Elect in 2019-2020, President in 2020-2021 and Past President in 2021-2022. Nominees must have previously served on the Board of Directors or have board and/or committee experience.
  • Board Members (four positions) – Serve a two-year term for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 years. This position requires collaborative leadership skills and attendance at all meetings.

Please take time to nominate a colleague who would serve as an effective and collaborative leader for our great organization.

Sincerely,

Christopher D. Murr, Ph.D.
Nominations and Elections Committee Chair
TASFAA Past President 2018

 

TASFAA Updates from Delisa

Hi TASFAA Colleagues!

It has been a while since I have posted to the TASFAA listserv or to the Blog, rest assured I have not forgotten about any of you. As all of you know time gets away from you.

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with a few updates. I knew when I stepped into the role of TASFAA President the year would be fasted paced. I was SO right! There are so many things you want to accomplish; as well as staying connected with TASFAA members. This has been a challenge; a good one though!

As President of TASFAA, I have been reaching out to Legislative members and/or their staffers in Texas and in Washington D.C. The goal is to introduce TASFAA, and let them know that TASFAA can provide expert guidance in the area of financial aid programs and policies. After sending letters of introduction, I received a couple of emails from staffers for general financial aid information to help them better advise representatives. I was more than happy to speak to applying for financial aid, as well as eligibility and programs.

The TASFAA Legislative Committee prepared a letter of support for Senator Seliger’s HB 499, which clarifies that Federal and State loans are the only required loans to meet requirements of SB 887. There has been much confusion regarding whether Alternative loans were to be included in the yearly disclosures to students from Institutions of higher education.

Last week, Dr. Chris Murr-Past President of TASFAA, Jimmy Parker-TASFAA Legislative Committee member and I traveled to the State Capital in Austin, to further support SB 499. Dr. Murr provided testimony on behalf of the Texas State System. Jimmy Parker and I served as expert witnesses if needed. The three of us had the opportunity to meet Senator Seliger and to thank him for this bill on behalf of all institutions of higher education in Texas.

The TASFAA Legislative Committee and I continue to monitor legislation for state financial aid programs. As a reminder on TASFAA’s webpage; TASFAA position papers have been posted for the current 86th Legislature session under Member Center. In reviewing bills this session, a few have promise in moving forward, there are several bills related to allowing students the ability to renew their professional or occupational license if they have defaulted on their student loans. This would allow these students to continue to work; thus having the ability to rehabilitate or repay their defaulted student loans. It is very likely SB 34 will move forward, this would change the Texas Grant maximum hours for students from the current 150 to 135 hours. We will keep watching and update all of you as we monitor bills.

TASFAA Regional Trainings are about to wind down for the spring of 2019; today’s training is in Austin, next stop Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Friday, of this past week I welcomed approximately 90 TASFAA members to the Houston regional training site; held at the University of Houston, Sugarland campus. Many thanks to University of Houston for their hospitality. The Sugarland campus is beautiful! The regional training co-chairs (Christy Miller and Heather Fountain) have done a fantastic job and were very excited to have assistance with training this year. The presenters who assisted are Ed Kerskley and Chandra Gonzalez. TASFAA is excited to provide NASFAA Credentialing to their members.

The TASFAA Early Awareness Committee has been working to ensure TASFAA has a presence around Texas to provide Financial Aid knowledge to high school counselors. All committee members are working to schedule presentations! Crystal Smith a member of the Early Awareness Committee presented last week to a group of 50 Ft. Worth ISD advisors who assist middle school and high school students with the college process. The presentation was held on the TCU campus.

Fall conference planning is moving forward, more information to come soon!

Lastly, I am excited to announce a new opportunity coming to the fall 2019 conference in Ft. Worth, Texas. One of the initiatives I discussed as I moved into the role of TASFAA President was to provide training to Aspiring Directors. I am very excited that the fall 2019 conference will have an Aspiring Director track on the agenda. Distinguished TASFAA members that are currently Directors of Financial Aid will be presenting on various topics on roles and responsibilities that Directors fulfill; as well as their journey into a Director’s position.

I have included a few pictures of this past week’s TASFAA’s happenings!

Best Regards,

Delisa Falks

2018-2019 TASFAA President

Submit Your Nominations for the TASFAA Board

The process to nominate the president-elect and four new board members for the 2019-2020 TASFAA Board of Directors is now open. The nomination process will remain open through April 15, 2019. Please click on the link below to access the nomination form. Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to nominate someone for this important leadership position.

Nomination Form

Officer Positions

  • President-Elect – Serves President-Elect in 2019-2020, President in 2020-2021 and Past President in 2021-2022. Nominees must have previously served on the Board of Directors or have board and/or committee experience.
  • Board Members (four positions) – Serve a two-year term for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 years. This position requires collaborative leadership skills and attendance at all meetings.  Sincerely,

For information about the duties and responsibilities of TASFAA board members, you can review the TASFAA Constitution and Bylaws, as well as the Policies and Procedures, at www.tasfaa.org by clicking the About TASFAA dropdown menu and then Governing Documents.

 

Christopher D. Murr, Ph.D.
Nominations and Elections Committee Chair
TASFAA Past President 2018

Think About Your Nominations for the TASFAA Board

Dear TASFAA Members,

Beginning April 1, you will have the opportunity to nominate the president-elect and four board members to serve on the upcoming 2019-2020 TASFAA Board of Directors. Those elected positions will represent you as members of TASFAA. They will, along with the rest of the board, direct our Association’s operations as well as help shape the future of our organization. Please start thinking about who you believe is an exemplary leader within our Association that would serve as an effective TASFAA board member.

Officer Positions

  • President-Elect – Serves President-Elect in 2019-2020, President in 2020-2021 and Past President in 2021-2022. Nominees must have previously served on the Board of Directors or have board and/or committee experience.
  • Board Members (four positions) – Serve a two-year term for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 years. This position requires collaborative leadership skills and attendance at all meetings.

I look forward to receiving your nominations beginning April 1!

Sincerely,

Christopher D. Murr, Ph.D.
Nominations and Elections Committee Chair
TASFAA Past President 2018