2023 NASFAA Awards Announced in San Diego

Awardees Exemplify Excellence in Serving Students and the Financial Aid Profession

Contact: Allie Arcese
Director of Communications
(202) 785-6954
[email protected]

SAN DIEGO, CA, JULY 2, 2023 – Each year, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) presents awards to deserving members of the financial aid profession and higher education community. These awards are reviewed and selected annually by NASFAA’s Awards Committee and ratified by the Board of Directors. They are presented each year at the National Conference, with more than 2,000 student aid professionals from across the country in attendance.

NASFAA's 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor which the association can bestow on a member, was awarded this year to: 

  • Lisa Hopper, dean of student financial services at National Park College. For over 30 years, Lisa has been helping students and financial aid peers. To Lisa, it’s been a calling that took her from CPA work, to roles within university finance, and finally to our financial aid community. As she leads the financial aid office at National Park College, Lisa has also been committed to the professional development of financial aid staff. She is a mentor and friend to many in her region and nationally. Even as president of the Southwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SWASFAA), and her many leadership roles in the state, regional, and national levels, she makes everyone feel heard and needed at all levels. She has served in many capacities, including as the Arkansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ (AASFAA) Treasurer and President. Lisa has also been very involved at the national level, serving on the NASFAA Board of Directors, as well as several task forces.

  • Karen Krause, executive director for the Office of Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Veteran’s Benefits Processing at University of Texas at Arlington. Karen Krause truly personifies the ideal of service to the financial aid profession. For the past 30 years she has been a tireless volunteer for her state, regional, and national financial aid associations. Karen served as a NASFAA board member from 1999-2004. She has served on the NASFAA nominations and elections committee, conference committee, awards committee, as a commission director for NASFAA, and on NASFAA task forces — just to name a few. In addition, Karen taught thousands of Texas financial aid administrators some of the toughest subject matter in our industry curriculum for an incredible 17 years straight as faculty at the Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (TASFAA) new aid officers workshop. This sustained record of service and leadership illustrates Karen’s commitment to the goals of NASFAA, and the most strict and consistent adherence to the ethics of the financial aid profession.

  • Lori Vedder, interim vice provost of enrollment management & director of financial aid at the University of Michigan-Flint. Lori has dedicated her career to helping students through financial aid and enrollment. She has always been a champion for our profession, and has continuously served at the state, regional and national level. Lori has been especially active in advocating for foster youth throughout her career. She has served as president for her state and regional associations, and also as 2018-19 national chair for NASFAA. She most recently represented her state by serving on the Midwest Association of Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) 60th Anniversary conference committee. She has a long career in our profession and is a recognized leader across the country. Lori is respected by her colleagues and is loved by many for her encouragement and mentorship of young professionals joining the financial aid field.

The Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest awards that NASFAA bestows, may be awarded either for significant contributions in the furtherance of NASFAA’s goals over a sustained period of time, or for a single contribution of momentous importance. The 2023 award was given to: 

  • Brad Barnett, FAAC®, associate vice president for access and enrollment management/director of financial aid and scholarships at James Madison University, and NASFAA’s 2022-23 national chair.  With over two decades of experience in the financial aid profession, Brad has been active in state, regional, and national financial aid associations as a presenter, committee member and chair, and elected officer. A past president of the Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (VASFAA) and Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA), he has also served NASFAA in various roles, including as conference chair, Standards of Excellence (SOE) peer reviewer, SOE assessment leader, and as Treasurer and chair of the Financial Affairs Committee. Brad has been honored for his work by receiving the VASFAA Lifetime Membership Award, VAFSAA Excellence Award, SASFAA Distinguished Service Award, and NASFAA Regional Leadership Award. In addition to his financial aid activities, Brad teaches personal finance courses (online and in person) at JMU and provides financial counseling services on a professional basis outside of his role with JMU. 

  • Roberta Johnson, executive director of the Office of Student Financial Aid at Iowa State University. For the past 40 years, Roberta has been a tireless advocate and champion for student success and accessibility, and has developed numerous programs on campus to help students. Roberta brought Iowa State University into the Direct Loan program as a pilot school, which led to her long-time involvement in the National Direct Loan Coalition, including serving a term as national chair in sessions, and serving on many committees. During her term as president of the Iowa Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, she developed the Leadership Development Program. Roberta has twice participated in the federal negotiated rulemaking process, showing her commitment to improving the financial aid industry. Her expertise in student financial aid has been recognized by Congress, as she has testified in front of multiple committees. Former Sen. Tom Harkin appointed her to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, on which she served from 2013-15. For her constant contributions to the financial aid profession, I cannot think of a more deserving candidate than Roberta Johnson for this award.

The Meritorious Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made either an important single contribution to NASFAA or the profession, or multiple significant contributions. The 2023 award was given to:

  • Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, former vice provost of enrollment management at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Youlonda is a nationally recognized leader in higher education. After nearly 11 years at UCLA, Youlonda retired last fall. Among her other leadership roles, she served on NASFAA’s Board of Directors and was president of the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, as well as a board member for the California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. During the Obama administration, she was an expert witness for the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families. Based on her expertise, she was invited by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) to testify before a subcommittee on ways to strengthen federal student aid to better meet the needs of students. As a first-generation college student herself, Youlonda understands the unique struggles American families face getting access to a quality K-12 education that prepares students for college. Youlonda’s 44-year career is a testament to her lifelong commitment to access, equity, diversity, and inclusion in education.  

  • Pat Peppin, student services director at Mesa Community College in Arizona. Pat is an incredibly dedicated and motivating leader — her career in financial aid has been one of service and advocacy, and building others up for success. She has served as the Arizona association’s (AASFAA) president several terms, as regional president, and served on numerous committees. During her second term as Arizona’s president, she led a task force for the automation of the Tribal Funding Application process for tribes and schools across the state. Pat led the association to host its first virtual conference and invited colleagues from PacFAA who were not able to host their own meeting at the time. Her work garnered the Arizona association the NASFAA Gold Star award in 2006. Pat Peppin is a distinguished leader, and she embodies the very best of our field.

The Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award presented each year to an individual, or organization, chosen for their contributions to the literature on student financial aid. Published works must exemplify the highest quality of research methodology, analysis, or topical writing on the subject of student financial aid or its administration. In 2023 the award was given to:

  • Steven McDowell, associate vice president for financial aid services & Title IV compliance at Connecticut State Community Colleges, for his book, “Basic Guide to Financial Aid.” The origin of this publication came from Steven’s realization that while our colleagues at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (or AACRAO) have many books relevant to enrollment management within their library, they do not have any that focus on financial aid. Steven’s book is intended to assist higher education professionals in enrollment management positions, including admissions officers, registrars, and even new financial aid administrators, to gain a fundamental understanding of what goes into the administration of financial aid, to strengthen the resources available to enrollment managers in higher education, and ultimately provide a benefit to all students who interact with those in enrollment management positions. Tom Green, formerly of AACRAO, and NASFAA President Justin Draeger both provide forewords within this publication.

The association also presented six Regional Leadership Awards to recipients who have exhibited high integrity and character, have shown creative leadership, and have inspired and encouraged others to actively participate in professional development. One award was given in each of six regions to:

  • EASFAA – Thomas Dalton, associate vice president of sales and marketing (Northeast), Edamerica
  • MASFAA – Chad Olson, director of financial aid, Iowa State University
  • RMASFAA – Myra Pfannenstiel, director of financial aid, Newman University
  • SASFAA – Marian Dill, director of financial aid, Lee University
  • SWASFAA – Tricia Dubroc, president & CEO, Louisiana Public Facilities Authority-Lela
  • WASFAA – Anthony Morrone, associate vice president of student financial services, Nevada State University

To request an interview with a NASFAA spokesperson, please email [email protected] or call (202) 785-6954.


The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 29,000 financial aid professionals at approximately 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every 10 undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators.

Publication Date: 7/2/2023

View Desktop Version