How is Financial Aid Changing and What are the Effects?

In an interview with HigherEdJobs, Andy Hibel spoke with NASFAA National Chair Billie Jo Hamilton, associate vice president of enrollment planning and management at University of South Florida. They discussed "how NASFAA is supporting higher education professionals, best practices in financial aid, and how current policy proposals may impact financial aid for students and institutions."

An excerpt of the interview follows:

"Andy Hibel, HigherEdJobs: Ms. Hamilton, in addition to your role at the University of South Florida, you are also the national chair for the board of directors with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). Briefly explain your role at NASFAA and your passion to be involved in various capacities with the association over the years. 

Billie Jo Hamilton, associate vice president for enrollment planning and management, University of South Florida: As chair, I have the privilege of working with a Board of committed aid professionals who set the strategic direction for the association, as well as an energetic and talented NASFAA staff who effectively carry out the work needed to meet our strategic goals. My involvement in professional associations is one of the reasons I have stayed in financial aid for over 37 years, as they provide a network of supportive colleagues, training from actual practitioners, and an opportunity to be a voice for my students.

Hibel: What is the mission of NASFAA and how does the association work to support higher education professionals? 

Hamilton: NASFAA’s mission is to provide professional development and services for financial aid administrators, advocate for public policies that increase student access and success, and provide a forum on student financial aid issues -- all while maintaining a commitment to diversity. Through various modes of delivery, we provide training and credentialing, as well as support for our members to advocate for students. We also keep our members educated on a broad range of issues affecting higher education through our daily Today’s News e-newsletter. These are just a few of the many benefits afforded our members. 

Hibel: In terms of operating an efficient and effective financial aid department on campus, what are some best practices that every institution should consider? 

Hamilton: Because financial aid is critical to so many students, institutions need to make sure that staffing is adequate, training is in place, and the necessary technological support is available to ensure compliance with regulations. The loss of federal aid eligibility would be catastrophic for most schools. There must also be an understanding that compliance is not just the responsibility of the financial aid office, but an institutional responsibility. 

Hibel: February is Financial Aid Awareness Month. In addition to spreading awareness and information to students and families about federal and state aid, for example, how to compare award letters, in what other ways does the association support students? 

Hamilton: Much of the work we do involves advocacy for our students. Our member institutions represent 90 percent of undergraduate students enrolled in post-secondary education in the U.S., so our voice has broad representation that brings strength to the positions that we take. We are the experts on how federal policy affects students “on the ground” and we take that responsibility very seriously."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 2/27/2018

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