Leadership Strategies and Realities Pathway Sessions

February 2, 2021 (3:00 - 4:30 p.m. ET) - Strategic Planning, Contingencies, and Pivots

Panelists: Brad Pochard, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admissions at Furman University, Shannon Amundson, Director of Financial Aid at Colorado College, Celena Tullos, Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at University of Tennessee, and Daniel Barkowitz, Assistant Vice President at Financial Aid and Veterans' Affairs, Valencia College. Moderator: Dr. Forest Stuart, Assistant Vice President for Financial Aid, Lafayette College 

Challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the fact that higher education institutions are, perhaps, not as nimble as we would have thought. This is particularly true of traditional institutions with high residential populations where faculty typically have long-established teaching methods, administrators are comfortable with current policies and procedures, and parents and students have a set view of what the college experience should be like. When the pandemic hit, schools were forced to shift rapidly to remote teaching and learning environments and  students were told to leave and come back to get their belongings at a date to be determined later. This left school administrators grappling with dozens of unanswered questions...  Will there be tuition refunds? Room and board refunds? Do we have to repackage all financial aid? How do we engage admitted students in ways that continue to make them want to come? How much revenue will the school lose? How does this translate into cost cutting? Will people secure in their positions be laid off? Furloughed? Should we pull from the endowment at a higher rate? This session will take us back to March 2020 when most of our professional lives were upended and we, as leaders, had to shift our thinking, planning, and processing.

February 9, 2021 (3:00 - 4:30 p.m. ET) - Compliance Risk: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Panelists: Tim Lehmann, Vice President Student Financial Services at Southern New Hampshire University, Jim White, Dean of Student Financial Services at Gonzaga University, Myrna Perkins, Chief Accreditation Officer/Director of Financial Aid Barton County Community College (KS); Moderator: Mary Sommers, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Leaders in financial aid offices throughout the nation have faced unexpected, once-in-a-lifetime challenges over the past year. Perhaps the most significant was administering the student aid portion of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Guidance and regulations provided by the federal Department of Education were confusing, not always timely, and subject to change. Almost a year later, aid professionals with the advantage of time and perspective can use this as a case study. How much risk are you willing to take? How do you engage your campus leadership in an understanding of compliance and risk-taking? How do you leverage this experience going forward when similar circumstances and opportunities present themselves?

February 16, 2021 (3:00 - 4:30 p.m. ET) - Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education: The Legal Realities 

Speaker: Arthur L. "Art" Coleman, co-founder and managing partner, EducationCounsel LLC

Colleges and universities are focused in their pursuit of creating inclusive learning environments where all students, including those from underrepresented groups, can benefit. In order to do so, institutional leaders must walk a fine line of using admissions and financial aid practices to expand opportunity while also taking into account a range of legal, policy-related, political, and practical considerations. This session will address major federal nondiscrimination laws that govern college admission and the awarding of financial aid and scholarships when factors like race, ethnicity, and gender are considered. Managing partner and co-founder of EducationCounsel LLC Art Coleman will provide session attendees with practical strategies, actionable steps, and examples that align with current federal laws.

February 23, 2021 (3:00 - 4:30 p.m. ET) - Enrollment Management Realities in a Pandemic/Post-Pandemic World

Panelists: Dan Mann, Associate Provost for Enrollment Management at University of Illinois- Urbana- Champaign, Craig Slaughter, Director of Financial Aid at Kenyon College, and Mo Amos, Executive Director of Financial Aid, Scholarship, & Student Employment at Northeastern Illinois University

A global pandemic, social unrest, political divide and uncertainty, an extreme economic recession and… oh yes, we need to grow enrollment even larger than planned to make up for financial shortfalls. These stressors certainly present challenges, but they also provide opportunities for financial aid and enrollment practitioners to forge even greater relationships with other departments as we work in tandem to develop strategies to stay afloat during a pandemic and post-pandemic world. Learn, share and collaborate with colleagues on how to move forward during a time like none other.

February 25, 2020 (2:00 - 2:45 p.m. ET) - Advocacy and You

This session will touch on the main principles of successful federal and state advocacy strategies. An overview will be given of how NASFAA enacts advocacy strategies through relationships with congressional staffers, the Department of Education, the presidential administration, and states. In addition to highlighting useful NASFAA tools and resources, the session will also cover tips and strategies on how to successfully advocate at the grassroots level and outline how you can plan your own advocacy event.

March 2, 2021 (3:00 - 4:30 p.m. ET) - Inside the Beltway/State-Based Advocacy Featuring a Special Speaker

Session A: This session will provide a high-level landscape of the Washington political climate with a focus on COVID-19 relief efforts and the impact on federal financial aid policy. In addition, overall trends in student aid will be discussed, including an overview of Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization proposals, predictions for how student aid funding will fare in the annual budget process, and the impact of the 2020 presidential election outcome. The session will also provide an overview of NASFAA-led projects, services, and advocacy efforts.

Session B (begins at 3:45 p.m) with speaker Scott Jaschik, editor, Inside Higher Ed

With lawmakers singularly focused on issues related to the pandemic, uncertainty around federal appropriations and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act abound, making the future of financial aid programs unclear. During this session, Special guest Scott Jaschik, co-founder and editor of Inside Higher Ed, will present on rising issues in higher education related to financial aid.

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