MVP David Sheridan

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MVP: Most Valuable Professional is a series that features a brief Q&A with a different NASFAA member every couple of weeks. Do you know a financial aid colleague with something interesting to say? Send the names of potential future MVPs and a short note about why you're nominating them to 

David Sheridan
Director of Financial Aid at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
(New York City, NY)

David SheridanDavid might be the only financial aid administrator to say he got the job by being a musician. Because he has a bachelor's degree in music theory and composition, an employment agency in 1984 told David to interview for a clerical position in the financial aid office at the Manhattan School of Music. He was hired and has since been in the field for 30 years, working at schools in New York City and New Jersey. David is a former president of the New Jersey Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NJASFAA) and has chaired and served on a number of committees for NASFAA, EASFAA and NJASFAA.

What was the best thing that happened to you this past week? 

For the first time in quite a while I went CD shopping at the Princeton Record Exchange, one of the last great independent music stores.

If you could learn any skill, what would it be? 

I’d love to know how to brew really good beer.  But other people know how to do that, so I’ll drink theirs.

One thing working in financial aid has taught me: 

That there are always multiple ways to get the desired result, so it pays to be flexible. My favorite motto is “2+2=4, but so does 3+1.” That also demonstrates my math skills.

If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be? 

Health and happiness for my family, for education to become a universally recognized priority in this country, and for the Mets to win another World Series in my lifetime. I would say for the Jets to win another Super Bowl, but let’s be realistic.

One thing I would like to change about the current financial aid system is: 

That it would be simplified, not to make life easier for those of us in Financial Aid offices, but for those we serve. People have anxiety about college costs and about money. The aid process as it exists adds to that anxiety; it should instead relieve it.

If you won $1 million, what would you spend it on? 

My community has a great scholarship program for local students, but it’s a relatively affluent school district. There is a neighboring low income city that has no such program, and they could really use something like that, so I’d start one up.

Choose a movie title for the story of your life. 

"My Teams Always Lose."

What NASFAA service/product is most helpful to you? 

Even on vacation, I read Today’s News. But I also appreciate what NASFAA has provided to help me grow professionally, whether it be the opportunity to serve on a committee, task force or Negotiated Rulemaking, or perhaps especially the networking and exchange of ideas that NASFAA fosters.

My most motivating financial aid experience was: 

Serving on the Program Integrity Negotiating Rulemaking committee last spring. Most of the participants were not aid professionals, and the diversity of perspectives helped me understand the issues in ways I otherwise would not have.

Biggest financial aid change I’ve seen in my career: 

The financial aid office used to be every campus’ biggest collector and distributor of paper. Now, especially as I work at a graduate school with almost no verifications to do, it’s virtually paper free. Boxes of FAFSA’s stacked up to the ceiling and print shop requisitions are distant memories.

My favorite thing about my job is: 

Playing a role in something that I know makes our society stronger and peoples’ lives better.

Want to say hello to David or reply to something he said? Please leave your remarks in the comments section, below!  


Publication Date: 12/18/2014

William M | 6/22/2020 10:48:57 AM



Outstanding shout out to George Chin on the podcast.

Bill Mack

Sandra P | 10/19/2015 12:28:27 PM

Hi David,

Congratulations on being named MVP. Well deserved.

Your colleague at CU,

Patricia G | 12/22/2014 2:22:46 PM

Congratulations Dave!
Well- deserved recognition for the smartest man I know in the profession.....and the most interesting. Thank you for your wisdom, humor, and stories all the years we worked together!
Patricia Guli

Robert F | 12/19/2014 12:45:56 PM


Always funny, intelligent and thoughtful, thanks for the insight over the years. Maybe in retirement (someday) you will get to become beer meister. I am sure there is a certificate program somewhere where you can drink up to 150% of program length. Go Eagles!

Mary Fran O | 12/19/2014 10:24:39 AM

Hi David, Congratulations on MVP. I remember you from your days at Stevens Institute.
You have always been very valuable to the Financial Aid Community.
Mary Fran O'Herron, Ellucian (formerly SCT and SunGardHE)

Gene R | 12/18/2014 3:55:59 PM

HI David:
I don't think we have ever met..but Congrats!...I truly enjoyed your answers to all of the questions. I continue to be impressed by the type of folks that the aid field draws in..all very passionate and knowledgeable. We do share the same passion for the same teams, Jets,Mets..and I also play a little bass I guess great minds like ours..go into College aid! LOL...once again...Kudos!...Gene Rogers- Molloy College

Susan B | 12/18/2014 12:47:45 PM

Well deserved Dave!!!! I also have enjoyed your witty observations about financial aid over the years - You've helped me to understand policy - sometimes with tongue in cheek....Congratulations on being MVP!!!
Sue Barschow

Drew A | 12/18/2014 11:2:37 AM

Ahh! The Princeton Record Exchange, what a great store. Admittedly, I exchanged some really lame records for better ones at that counter over the years. Congratulations Dave... well deserved.

Dolly D | 12/18/2014 10:53:46 AM

Mets can win again after the Cubs get their turn. LOL
Congratulations on your MVP recognition!

Catherine S | 12/18/2014 10:20:35 AM

If our beloved New Orleans Saints managed to win a Super Bowl, then there is nothing stopping the Mets from winning another World Series --or the Jets from winning a Super Bowl :-)

Brian L | 12/18/2014 10:13:06 AM

The smartest man I know in the profession, Dave is always a great read. Thank you for recognizing him.

Oh, and the Mets can win again right after the Eagles get their Super Bowl!

Joyce F | 12/18/2014 9:34:56 AM

It has been a pleasure being your colleague for over 25 years. I have always enjoyed your witty and insightful prose. The NASFAA community is very fortunate to have you on its side. This is a much deserved recognition. Congrats!! -Joyce Farmer

Anthony S | 12/18/2014 9:5:35 AM

Dave you have been a terrific voice for us and our students. Continue to fight the good fight. Oh, sorry I can't quite feel your pain as a Met fan you see I root for the Yankees and they seem to always win. Congratulations!

Thomas D | 12/18/2014 8:56:15 AM

You rock! Well deserved MVP! I agree “Let’s Go Mets”! …and yes Jets not realistic!
Tom Dalton

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