The NASFAA Board of Directors unanimously approved the creation of Blue Icon Advisors to provide valuable consulting, leadership support, and compliance services that institutions want and need, and to generate non-dues revenue. Since NASFAA is the sole owner of Blue Icon, any profits will be used to defray future membership dues increases. Blue Icon Advisors expands NASFAA's ability to offer services to member institutions through our team of trusted advisors.
Blue Icon is a separate, limited liability corporation (LLC), but is wholly owned by NASFAA. Blue Icon consultants leverage NASFAA's resources and NASFAA stands behind the work. Ultimately, Blue Icon is subject to the NASFAA Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors. You may see Blue Icon also referred to as NASFAA's for-profit subsidiary. On an organization chart, Blue Icon Advisors resides in NASFAA's Business Services division, which also includes the Standards of Excellence Review Program.
NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program offers confidential, objective peer reviews to assess your institution's delivery of student financial aid. The reviews highlight strengths, identify compliance exceptions, and recommend improvements. Your end product is a final report that provides you with an outline for correcting any issues the team found while they were at your school.
The mission of Blue Icon Advisors is much broader—to provide high-quality consulting services. SOE might identify a gap in your P&P manual, but Blue Icon Advisors can help you fix the problem and even write the missing pieces. Our growing team of consultants are some of the most knowledgeable people in student financial aid who have worked at director-level up to presidential, cabinet-level positions. As with SOE, Blue Icon consultants leverage NASFAA's resources and NASFAA stands behind the work.
Expanding services to NASFAA member institutions has been part of the associations strategic plans for years. But doing so required us to examine our tax liability status. Nonprofit associations regularly set up separate LLCs to protect the parent organization from possible liability issues that may arise from the work performed by the LLC, and to protect the nonprofit tax- exempt status of the parent organization. If the nonprofit's unrelated business income becomes too high the nonprofit tax exempt status of the parent organization could be revoked, which would mean much higher membership dues for members.
Blue Icon refers to the blue icon on the NASFAA logo. Because Blue Icon Advisors is driven and backed by NASFAA, we want everyone to remember that they are working with a NASFAA-owned company.
When looking for a name, we had four objectives:
The search for a name took months. We began by exploring traditional options, like NASFAA Consulting Services, but those ideas felt out of date and not very entrepreneurial. We explored trends, looking for one big word—like Amazon—to represent our service offerings. We searched for unique words, foreign words, and even unusual spellings—like Lyft. In most cases, we couldn't remember the unusual word we picked after just a few hours. Finally, we went back to the basics and took out a piece of NASFAA letterhead and stared at it. On that paper was the blue icon, introduced more than 30 years ago to represent NASFAA, sitting proudly on the page. We added the word "Advisors" to Blue Icon to clarify our purpose, and we added the subtitle, NASFAA Consulting, to directly connect the subsidiary back to NASFAA. Thus Blue Icon Advisors, NASFAA Consulting, was born.
Introduced at the 1988 NASFAA National Conference, the NASFAA icon depicts two financial aid professionals standing behind a graduating student in the archway or door of a school. An article in the association's magazine explained: "NASFAA members are ‘the people behind the student,' helping the student obtain funding needed to receive a postsecondary education." And continued, "The logo reflects NASFAA's primary goal—the professional preparation of student aid administrators who open educational doors for deserving and needy students."