Meritorious Achievement Award

This award is presented to an individual who has made an important contribution to the Association or to the profession. To receive a Meritorious Achievement Award the individual should have made either an important single contribution to the Association or the profession; or significant multiple contributions to the Association or the profession.

The NASFAA Awards nomination process is now closed. Winners will be announced this summer at the NASFAA National Conference in Milwaukee, WI.

2023 Meritorious Achievement Award Winners

Youlonda CopelandYoulonda Copeland-Morgan, Vice Provost of Enrollment Management (Retired), 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 WASFAA, as well as a board member for CASFAA. 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 Representative 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 PeppinPat Peppin, Student Services Director, 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 our colleagues from PacFAA who were not able to host their own meeting at the time. Her work garnered AASFAA the NASFAA Gold Star award in 2006. 

Past winners list


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