Diversity Leadership Program

DLPNASFAA's award-winning Diversity Leadership Program (DLP) provides selectees from marginalized and underrepresented groups with a robust portfolio of benefits, mentorship, and guidance on how to develop as a financial aid association leader at the state, regional, and national level. Applications are peer-reviewed, and six financial aid professionals, one from each region, are selected by a group of their colleagues.

The program, unveiled in 2018, was developed through extensive conversations with NASFAA's Diversity Officer, the NASFAA Board of Directors, and regional association leaders.

Applications for the 2021-22 Diversity Leadership Program are now open for NASFAA members. Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. ET Monday, October 18, 2021.

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The Diversity Leadership Program aligns with NASFAA's commitment to diversity and inclusion, and seeks to:

  • Advance the careers of program participants and provide them with important professional development.
  • Help NASFAA and the six regional associations develop a "deep bench" of talented, motivated leaders from marginalized and underrepresented groups.
  • Provide individuals from identified under-represented groups in the association community (i.e., people of color, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, people with disabilities) with support, access, and opportunities for leadership.


If accepted, DLP participants typically receive the following benefits:

  • Complimentary registration for the NASFAA National Conference (or similar opportunities offered in lieu of an in-person event), including an invitation to observe a NASFAA Board of Directors' Meeting;
  • Complimentary registration for the NASFAA Leadership Conference (or similar opportunities offered in lieu of an in-person event);
  • One free online NASFAA U course, plus the associated credential test, to ideally be used within the DLP program year;
  • A one-time fee waiver (application and examination fees) for program participants who are qualified to sit for the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Knowledge Exam. The exam must be taken within one year of acceptance to DLP. Passing the exam confers the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program designation upon the individual, until such time as recertification is required. The NASFAA Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program Exam Preparation Guide is also provided.
  • Assigned a seasoned professional mentor who has had significant NASFAA volunteer experience ; this will involve regular mentorship calls; and
  • Assigned to one NASFAA committee, working group, or task force, to ensure volunteer experience.


  • One program participant per region will be selected each program year, for a total of six selectees annually.
  • Applications will be reviewed annually during the selection period.
  • All selections will be made by a selection committee of NASFAA institutional members, chaired by NASFAA's Diversity Officer, with members appointed on an annual basis by the National Chair and Diversity Officer.


To be considered for the DLP, a candidate must:

  • Be employed by a current NASFAA institutional member.
  • Be a member of a racial or ethnic minority group, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/non-binary, or a person with a disability.
  • Have been working in financial aid for a minimum of three years (no maximum).
  • Be currently employed at a college or university, with preference given to those in positions with supervisory or program managerial oversight.
  • Have demonstrated professional or civic/community leadership experience.
  • Be committed to fully engage in all DLP scholarship benefits as outlined above.
  • Secure in writing supervisor/institutional support for the individual's participation and time away from the office to participate in DLP.

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Meet last year's DLP class, and see what previous participants said they gained from the program during their term. 

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