A Message from NASFAA President Justin Draeger

February 1, 2021

Dear NASFAA colleague,

Starting today, registration is open for the NASFAA 2021 national conference.

I acknowledge that even uttering those words feels out of step given our country is facing more infections and more COVID-19-related deaths than any other month on record.

However, with vaccines currently in distribution, we are holding out hope that we are headed toward some semblance of normalcy in the next five months that will allow us to safely convene an in-person conference, albeit one that will be much different from any other conference NASFAA has held.

Providing valuable training without compromising or risking the health and safety of attendees and staff is our most important objective. In order to protect attendees and comply with federal and state guidelines, we will be:

  1. Adhering to federal and state health guidelines, including established social distancing and safety protocols.
  2. Limiting and changing our meal structure to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and best practices for hotel catering.
  3. Planning and budgeting for a much smaller number of in-person attendees than ever before; we are planning for roughly one-third of our normal national conference attendees, which will allow us to more easily implement safety protocols.

We understand that many may choose not to attend, or will be unable to attend. While our budget will not allow us to accommodate a hybrid option that virtually replicates our entire in-person event, we have worked to develop a condensed virtual option that will be available post-conference for free to all in-person attendees, and at a reduced rate for non-attendees. We ask that members who wish to register for the NASFAA in-person conference do so as soon as possible, so we may communicate with the hotel about the anticipated number of attendees. If we are unable to hold an in-person conference, registrants for the on-site conference will have their registrations automatically canceled without penalty.

Despite the challenges we have all faced this year, I would be remiss if I did not also call attention to the amazing work our community has done. NASFAA members across the country successfully transitioned their classes to various online and hybrid formats, and implemented an entirely new grant program (with sometimes confusing and contradictory guidance), all while juggling the ongoing work of financial aid administration. We're now on the cusp of implementing new legislation and regulation, which will all require our collective effort.

I continue to be awed by your dedication, work ethic, and passion for serving students. On behalf of the NASFAA Board of Directors and the staff, it is a pleasure to be in your service.

Sincerely,

Justin

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