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!
2018-2019 TASFAA President