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.
Following a career in financial services, Neville became interested in financial aid after working with a client to complete the FAFSA and Institutional Questionnaire. His interest in institutional methodology and the financial aid process led him to apply for a position at Eastern Connecticut State University "just for the heck of it." After several weeks, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Arthur Jackson asked if Neville was still interested in the position and, as Neville says, "the rest is history!" Neville has worked in financial aid for nearly 22 years and has served on NASFAA's Board of Directors since 2009, and as the 2010-11 EASFAA President. He was the recipient of the 2008 EASFAA Outstanding Volunteer Award and the 2009 CAPFAA P. Jerome Cunningham Award for distinguished service to the financial aid profession.
On my desk right now:
Important Stuff: Two computers, phone, calculator, office items and other very important stuff.
One thing working in financial aid has taught me:
Patience and empathy, and how to be an effective voice for students and my profession.
If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?
To see my deceased mother and father again; that no one ever be hungry again; and to win the mega lotto so that I could have adequate resources to start a community college in Jamaica.
The best advice I have ever gotten:
"The Situation is the Boss," and "Don’t sweat the small stuff."
Choose a movie title for the story of your life.
“Giving Back: That’s What Life is All About” by Neville R. Brown or “Cool Runnings” (the movie about Jamaican bobsled team).
What NASFAA service/product is most helpful to you?
Advocacy/Training & Professional Development and NASFAA's Student Aid Index.
Most motivating financial aid experience:
Several: Giving hope to a student/family that lost hope; helping students fulfill their college dreams; knowing that my small contribution as an aid administrator will have a big impact on the lives of students for many years; being a part of the success of College Goal Sunday as the university site coordinator; creating the Eastern Connecticut State University Book Scholarship to help students with defraying the cost of textbooks; creating National Financial Aid Day (NFAD), which is the third Wednesday in October.
I am sincerely thankful for the opportunity to serve our student and financial aid community.
Biggest financial aid change I’ve seen in my career:
Use of Data Retrieval Tool (DRT): Aligning Department of Education FAFSA initiative with that of the IRS to produce DRT/TT for processing/packaging financial aid. I expect prior-prior year (PPY) will be a bigger phenomenon.
I'm happiest when:
Giving back and giving hope to a student/family that has lost hope.
Have you ever attended the NASFAA national conference?
Many, many! My most favorite was our 2014 Conference in Nashville, TN. I enjoyed observing colleagues as we networked and mingled with each other.
Want to say hello to Neville or reply to something he said? Please leave your remarks in the comments section, below! You can also take a look back at our past MVPs to read any you missed the first time around.
Publication Date: 9/8/2014