2020 NASFAA Gold Star Award: The Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ Clock Hour Workshop

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter

Five minutes just wasn’t enough time to sort through all the nuances that come into play for clock hour programs, so the Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (FASFAA) took it upon themselves to launch a nationally-geared program to assist financial aid administrators in meeting their program needs.

“Often what happens is in lots of webinars or training conferences, you'll hear a 45-minute presentation and the last five minutes are on clock hours,” said Daniel Barkowitz, 2019-20 FASFAA president. “Everything up to that point is credit hour, credit hour, credit hour, and then, ‘Oh for my clock hour friends, here’s five minutes on clock hour programs.’” 

Barkowitz noticed that FASFAA was one of the few places in the country that offered programming on clock hours, a topic that can be complicated if someone is used to only using credit hours.

FASFAA recognized that clock hour institutions have often been left to their own devices when it comes to learning about how to administer financial aid, and for many years has conducted an annual workshop focused on issues specific to financial aid at clock hour institutions and those with clock hour programs.

“We have a phenomenal resource here and people don't know about it — it's happening by accident,” Barkowitz said of schools outside of Florida participating in FASFAA’s previously administered programs, which prompted the organization to conduct a widespread outreach to every clock hour program nationwide to highlight FASFAA’s workshop.

FASFAA’s clock hour workshop and nationwide outreach earned the association NASFAA’s 2020 Gold Star Award The workshop provided much-needed training and has been recognized as a national leader in the education of clock hour financial aid administrators, drawing attendance from 16 different states.

Each year, NASFAA gives the Gold Star Award to individuals or groups that develop innovative ideas in the financial aid world. Past winners and honorable mentions have shown ideas in a range of forms, including online courses, Twitter chats, mentoring networks, and other resources to reach out to students, families, and financial aid professionals.

“There are always challenges of trying to understand the different requirements,” said Teriann N. Wright, FASFAA’s vocational/technical clock hour chair. “One big thing is taking attendance — our payment periods will be a little bit different than a credit hour payment period. There's little things like that, that these workshops for the sector of clock hour schools mean so much.”

Following the three-day workshop, FASFAA provided follow-up training to the out-of-state participants, who had never received any tailored training related to clock hour programs and financial aid, Wright said. 

“We really did a service to those states ... of letting them know that you’re not out there alone with clock hours,” Wright said.

Barkowitz emphasized the role volunteers played in developing the programing and spreading it to a larger audience.

“This is more than a one-person or two-person job,” Barkowitz said. “We represent a deep well of volunteers and committee members who participated and helped out. Anytime you do this kind of work it takes a team effort.”


Publication Date: 6/17/2020

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