MVP Brenda Hicks

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MVP: Most Valuable Professional is an occasional series that features a brief Q&A with a different NASFAA member. 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 [email protected].

Brenda Hicks

Brenda Hicks
Director of Financial Aid 
Southwestern College

Meet Brenda Hicks, director of financial aid at Southwestern College, in Winfield, KS. Brenda started her career in financial aid as an admission officer for Southwestern College, where she eventually served as director of admissions. "In the early days of the concept of enrollment management, I collaborated with the financial aid office to create a full-time admissions position with the authority to craft financial aid estimates and handle all financial aid communications for incoming students," Brenda said. In 2002, she accepted the position of director of financial aid and has "never looked back."

What’s on your desk right now?  

An easy button, a NASFAA U Credentialed Professional coaster, and a Southwestern College coffee cup that says 110 percent ... and M&Ms ... with peanuts.

One thing working in financial aid has taught me:  

I have become practiced in the art of giving people space and grace. We all screw up sometimes.

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

I am currently recruiting people for the Anti-R2T4 Rebel Alliance. I am accepting all applicants – anyone who wants to see R2T4 simplified or abolished.

What NASFAA service/product is most helpful to you? 

NASFAA’s Compliance Engine. Hands down best tool ever. We use it every year in multiple ways.

My favorite thing about my job is: 

Staying in touch with students and seeing them grow and have success. I’ll do anything for that smile that lights up their face when they start feeling good about their future.

Have always wanted to: 

Attend the Oscars – like INSIDE – not just on the red carpet. Although, I would totally settle for attending the Kennedy Center Honors.

Would never: 

Jump out of an airplane. Bungee jump. Basically anything where your body is hurtling unencumbered through space. Silly. Just plain silly.

Something I wish I knew my first year working in financial aid: 

Setting a realistic expectation for my learning curve. This is a hard job. You have to give yourself permission and time to catch your groove.

How my friends describe me:  

I think my friends would describe me as happy, funny and maybe a little bit nerdy.

How my colleagues would describe me:  

I actually asked my team this question. They said I am knowledgeable, like a dictionary, a bit of a workaholic, and a person who encourages people to research questions to find answers. I also talk to myself a lot, and don’t always finish my sentences.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?  

I love eating dinner with my husband and the boys. There is always laughter and spirited conversation.

Want to say hello to Brenda or reply to something she said? Please leave your remarks in the comments section below. You can also take a look back at our past MVPs to read any you missed the first time around.


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 [email protected]


Publication Date: 5/9/2017

Kathryn L | 5/22/2017 4:4:01 PM

Congratulations Brenda on a well deserved honor! Count me in on your camp to abolish or simplify R2T4!

Shelley B | 5/18/2017 3:39:44 PM

Congratulations- you are so deserving. I will gladly join your Rebel Alliance.

Shelley Blome

Regina Smout C | 5/10/2017 2:33:45 PM

SO Awesome! Congratulations Brenda!!

Lori V | 5/10/2017 2:3:46 PM

Congratulations Brenda! Thanks for all that you do! Very well deserved.
Lori Vedder

Brenda K | 5/10/2017 11:57:12 AM

Congrats Brenda! BTW-I will join you in the fight to abolish R2T4. Brendas unite!!

Paula L | 5/10/2017 10:54:58 AM

Count me in for the Rebel Alliance Brenda! Congrats!

Myra P | 5/9/2017 1:6:01 PM

Congrats - definitely an MVP in my book.
Thanks for being you.

Robert G | 5/9/2017 12:8:15 PM

Brenda -

a very much deserved award! You make the student aid profession a better place!

-Robert Gamez

Gary B | 5/9/2017 10:33:47 AM

Congrats on a well-deserved honor, Brenda. You embody a spirit and camaraderie that I think we all strive for.

Gary Bateman

Tammy H | 5/9/2017 10:21:56 AM

Congratulations, Friend! You have earned this MVP recognition. I'm glad to serve in this industry with you as a colleague, and share in your love of M&M's...the peanut ones.

Tammy Higgins

Daniel M | 5/9/2017 9:25:25 AM

Hi Brenda -- I'm surprised to read that you wouldn't bungee jump as I've always viewed you as someone who is unafraid and adventurous! Great article! Thanks for your leadership and continued service to our profession!!! -- Dan

Justin B | 5/9/2017 9:24:36 AM

May the Force be with you!

Sara V | 5/9/2017 9:21:50 AM

Brenda, you truly are an MVP! I love working with you and learning from you!

Sara Vancil

Gina J | 5/9/2017 9:18:32 AM

Hi Brenda,

I was surprised to see your face first thing this morning when I opened the NASFAA email. It was great reading your answers to the questions here. I hope all is well at SC. I think of you all often and I hope to see you in June at the San Diego NASFAA Conference.


Gina Jones

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