Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award (formerly known as the Lifetime Membership Award) is the highest award that NASFAA can bestow on one of its members or an individual who is affiliated with a member organization. To be eligible to receive this award, the individual must first be employed or have been employed by a member institution, be an associate member, or be employed by an associate member organization.

This award is the highest that NASFAA can bestow on a member; therefore, the achievements and contributions of the individual must truly be outstanding and significant. Normally, the individual will have made these contributions and achievements over a sustained period of time. This award is not typically made for a one-time achievement or effort, but for work over a sustained period of time for the Association and the profession in important capacities, and contributing significantly to NASFAA's success in meeting its goals.

2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Justin DraegerJustin Draeger, President & CEO, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)

Justin has served NASFAA and the financial aid community at large for more than two decades, the last 14 years as president of the association. Since assuming the NASFAA presidency in 2010, Justin has been instrumental in shaping the association’s success, growth, influence, relevance, and capacity to serve its members. During his tenure, Justin spearheaded several initiatives that elevated industry standards in the financial aid profession. Known for his direct and honest approach to advocacy and fostering personal relationships inside the beltway,Justin has transformed NASFAA into an essential, nonpartisan player on federal student aid and college affordability issues. Justin’s visionary guidance propelled NASFAA to new heights, championing crucial initiatives that have positively impacted students, financial aid offices, institutions, and the higher education landscape, and the association is indebted to his many years of service.

Billie Jo HamiltonBillie Jo Hamilton, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Planning & Management, University of South Florida

Billie Jo has worked in financial aid for the past 48 years, during this time she has made significant contributions in the furtherance of NASFAA’s goals over a sustained period of time with all of her service with NASFAA, including serving as the 2017-18 National Chair. She is extremely knowledgeable about financial aid programs and the policies that must be fulfilled to administer these programs. 

Billie Jo was selected to serve on NASFAA’s Higher Education Committee of 50 as a financial aid professional in the Accountability area joining other Higher Education Thought Leaders with creating practical solutions and recommendations for members of Congress (funding for this committee provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) Billie Jo served the Midwestern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) as President, Vice President, Treasurer and Association Governance. She served on 14 committees of the following 4 regions SASFAA, RMASFAA, MASFAP, and TASFAA. In the Kansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (KASFAA) as President, Vice President, Treasurer and Chaired 6 committees. She continues to be active in the financial aid community. As recently as this past fall, Billie Jo assisted in planning the 2023 SASFAA Management Institute. She is serving as the Leadership and Legislative Conference Task Force Chair for the Enrollment Management track this year. Her dedication to the financial aid profession runs deep.

Michael BennettMichael Bennett, Associate Vice President of Financial Assistance Services, St. Petersburg College

Michael Bennett is a former NASFAA National Chair, EASFAA President and NJASFAA President, and his involvement has included serving on and chairing many committees and task forces. His eagerness to assist those at all levels of the profession, whether in leading an association, to mentoring those looking to rise through the ranks either on their campus or within the financial aid community, to lend a helping hand to all those around him on his own campus, or to encourage everyone in financial aid to remember why we do this work, is legendary. Mike is also a prolific writer, and has testified before Congress.  

Janet HansonDr. Janet Hanson, (Retired) Director of Communications, Tuition Exchange, Inc.

Dr. Janet Hanson has demonstrated her commitment to the financial aid profession during her 40 year career in a multitude of roles, from a practicing aid administrator, to a guarantee agency trainer and regulatory expert, to her work with the Tuition Exchange. She has held every position on the NASFAA Board of Directors, including National Chair, as well as presidencies in Kansas and the Rocky Mountain region. She has trained innumerable financial aid professionals with her high energy presentations and her deep knowledge of not only the "whats" of regulations, but more importantly the "hows". Her lifetime of active association work and influence at all levels, as well as the impact she has had on numerous aid administrators that she has mentored, cannot be overstated.  

Past winners list

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