MVP: Most Valuable Professional is a series that features a brief Q&A with a different NASFAA member every couple of weeks. Do you know a financial aid colleague with something interesting to say? Send the names of potential future MVPs and a short note about why you're nominating them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
David might be the only financial aid administrator to say he got the job by being a musician. Because he has a bachelor's degree in music theory and composition, an employment agency in 1984 told David to interview for a clerical position in the financial aid office at the Manhattan School of Music. He was hired and has since been in the field for 30 years, working at schools in New York City and New Jersey. David is a former president of the New Jersey Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NJASFAA) and has chaired and served on a number of committees for NASFAA, EASFAA and NJASFAA.
What was the best thing that happened to you this past week?
For the first time in quite a while I went CD shopping at the Princeton Record Exchange, one of the last great independent music stores.
If you could learn any skill, what would it be?
I’d love to know how to brew really good beer. But other people know how to do that, so I’ll drink theirs.
One thing working in financial aid has taught me:
That there are always multiple ways to get the desired result, so it pays to be flexible. My favorite motto is “2+2=4, but so does 3+1.” That also demonstrates my math skills.
If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?
Health and happiness for my family, for education to become a universally recognized priority in this country, and for the Mets to win another World Series in my lifetime. I would say for the Jets to win another Super Bowl, but let’s be realistic.
One thing I would like to change about the current financial aid system is:
That it would be simplified, not to make life easier for those of us in Financial Aid offices, but for those we serve. People have anxiety about college costs and about money. The aid process as it exists adds to that anxiety; it should instead relieve it.
If you won $1 million, what would you spend it on?
My community has a great scholarship program for local students, but it’s a relatively affluent school district. There is a neighboring low income city that has no such program, and they could really use something like that, so I’d start one up.
Choose a movie title for the story of your life.
"My Teams Always Lose."
What NASFAA service/product is most helpful to you?
Even on vacation, I read Today’s News. But I also appreciate what NASFAA has provided to help me grow professionally, whether it be the opportunity to serve on a committee, task force or Negotiated Rulemaking, or perhaps especially the networking and exchange of ideas that NASFAA fosters.
My most motivating financial aid experience was:
Serving on the Program Integrity Negotiating Rulemaking committee last spring. Most of the participants were not aid professionals, and the diversity of perspectives helped me understand the issues in ways I otherwise would not have.
Biggest financial aid change I’ve seen in my career:
The financial aid office used to be every campus’ biggest collector and distributor of paper. Now, especially as I work at a graduate school with almost no verifications to do, it’s virtually paper free. Boxes of FAFSA’s stacked up to the ceiling and print shop requisitions are distant memories.
My favorite thing about my job is:
Playing a role in something that I know makes our society stronger and peoples’ lives better.
Want to say hello to David or reply to something he said? Please leave your remarks in the comments section, below!
Publication Date: 12/18/2014