Speaking Engagement Session Offerings

Here are the topics available for NASFAA Speaking engagements. Learn more about the speakers and request a speaker for your upcoming event.

Administrative Capability

This session looks at administrative capability requirements with discussion on:

  • Adequate Resources
  • Automation and Electronic Processes
  • Privacy and Security Safeguards
  • Conflicting Information
  • Consumer Information
  • Separation of Functions
  • Other Requirements
  • General Evidence of Administrative Capability

Speaker: Dana Kelly

Advocacy and You

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

Speaker Options: Justin Draeger, Rachel Gentry Rotunda, or Karen McCarthy

Can You Afford ($) To Work in Financial Aid?

You love financial aid and the ability to positively impact the lives of the students you serve, but you wonder if you can afford to make a career out of it. Positioning yourself to earn more money in the long term is important, but often overlooked are ways you can be more effective with the money you're earning today. This session will help attendees identify how to get the most out of your money.

Note: This can be a regular concurrent session time block. It can work as a standalone, or in combination with the two other investment/retirement sessions. A minimum of 45 minutes is needed to conduct this session.

Speaker: Brad Barnett

Coming in 2024-25: The New FAFSA

The biggest changes to the FAFSA in history will be implemented in the 2024-25 application cycle - are you ready? Explore the upcoming changes to the FAFSA, including direct data sharing with the IRS and a streamlined Federal Methodology, and learn more about the latest updates on implementation and NASFAA's Student Aid Index Modeling Tool.

Speaker Options: Justin Draeger, Dana Kelly, Karen McCarthy, or Rachel Gentry Rotunda

Communicating Up: The Art of Communication and Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge

Few understand the nuances, art, and science of financial aid quite like those in the aid office. But sometimes when we know a subject too well, that knowledge can stand in the way of effectively explaining it to others on campus, most especially institutional presidents. Join NASFAA President Justin Draeger as he discusses how aid administrators can more effectively "communicate up" about the needs of the financial aid office and the students they serve.

Speaker: Justin Draeger

Developing Your Personal Mission Statement

Have you really thought about what's most important to you in life? What do you value? What's your purpose? What do you hope to accomplish? And how do your day-to-day habits move you closer or further from these goals? This is larger than just looking through the lens of your work. Instead, this is about you as a person. Developing a personal mission statement can help keep you on track, and motivate you, towards having a more fulfilled and purposeful life.

Note: This works best as a 60 minute session, but a modified version can be done with a little less time during a concurrent session time block.

Speaker: Brad Barnett

Direct Loan Quiz Show

Wondering if you are prorating loans correctly? Do you know what to do when a borrower's loan amounts are in unequal disbursements? In this Q&A-style webinar, we will test your knowledge on key aspects of the Direct Loan program and share guidance NASFAA received from the U.S. Department of Education. Explore some of the most frequently asked questions related to packaging, originating, and disbursing federal Direct Loans received by our NASFAA AskRegs service. (Note: Return of Title IV Funds or Verification or Student Eligibility can be substituted as the focus for this session.)

Speaker: Dana Kelly or another designated NASFAA TRA staff member dependent on timing

General Session: NASFAA Update, Including a Journey from Poverty…Helped By A Financial Aid Officer

Many of us experienced challenging situations when we were younger, and Brad is no different. How do you allow those experiences to shape you? Did you take anything from them to improve your life today, or are you stuck…repeating the problems of the past? Brad will share a bit about his story, including how a financial aid officer provided him the ability to get a college education that opened doors to a new life. Through the story, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your own experiences as you look towards securing the type of life you desire, and contemplate the impact you can have on others as a financial aid administrator. This culminates with learning more about the resources NASFAA provides to help you be the best financial aid officer you can be.

Note: This journey can be combined with the NASFAA update, as it leads nicely into what NASFAA is doing to help financial aid officers. As such, at least 45 minutes is needed for the update. 

Speaker: Brad Barnett

General Session: Top 10 Issues in Financial Aid

NASFAA President Justin Draeger examines the 10 most impactful challenges, trends, and opportunities facing the financial aid profession. This can't miss session will focus on what's happening across the higher education industry, on campus, and in federal and state legislative houses across the country. Come find out what issues your office should be prepared to tackle in the months ahead. 

Speaker: Justin Draeger

Harnessing Your Team's Creativity to Solve Persistent Challenges

Do you prefer to "think big" or do you find yourself frustrated by your pie-in-the-sky colleagues? Whether you're inherently an "ideator" or an "implementor" this session will focus on understanding our own and others' personal preferences in the problem-solving process, and how each member of the team can meaningfully contribute to finding creative solutions to problem solving. 

Speaker: Justin Draeger

How One School Estimated the Impact of the New FAFSA, and How You Can Too

The "go-live" date for significant changes to the Federal Methodology (FM) formula is rapidly approaching. On October 1, 2023, the new 2024-25 FAFSA will become available and the Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the expected family contribution (EFC). Have you begun thinking about the impact the SAI will have on your packaging strategies, budgets, and other need-based aid programs? If not, it's time. In this session you'll see how James Madison University is using NASFAA's SAI Modeling Tool to estimate the financial impact this change will have, and to make an informed request to the institution's senior leadership for more funds to use for packaging in 2024-25.

Note: This can be a regular concurrent session time block.

Speaker: Brad Barnett

Inside the Beltway Update

This NASFAA Federal Update will provide an overview of the latest happenings in Washington, including a high-level landscape of the current  political climate in D.C. with a focus on federal financial aid policy and how it has impacted students and institutions in recent years. Overall trends in student aid will be discussed including recent legislative and regulatory activity, reauthorization proposals and predictions for how student aid funding will fare in future budget negotiations. Movement within the Department of Education concerning negotiated rulemaking and updates from Federal Student Aid (FSA) will also be discussed. The session will also provide an overview of NASFAA-led projects, services, and advocacy efforts. Lastly, while the COVID-19 pandemic is still in effect, updates related to funding or relief measures will also be covered.

Speaker Options: Justin Draeger, Rachel Gentry Rotunda, or Karen McCarthy

Investing for the Long-Term When the Stock Market Freaks You Out!

Why does the average investor receive a less than average returns on their stock market investments? Do you understand the historical ebbs and flows of the market? Does a stock market correction lead you to breaking out in a cold sweat? This session will help you understand how easy it is to become overwhelmed when it comes to investing, and how often people are their own worst enemy when trying to get the best returns on their investments.

Note: This can be a regular concurrent session time block. It can work as a standalone, or in combination with the two other investment/retirement sessions.

Speaker: Brad Barnett


Get an update on association activities, professional development and training opportunities, and the volunteer and public policy work of the association. Learn how you can get involved.

Speaker Options: National Chairs 

Pensions, 403b's, IRA's, Roths…Explaining The Options and Why You Need to Get in the Game

We have our fair share of acronyms in financial aid, but we're not alone. When thinking about retirement you may have access to 403b's 401a's, 401k's, 457's, or even IRA's. Then there are traditional versions and Roth versions, and in some instances you may even have access to a pension. This session will discuss the importance of investing for your own retirement, as well as how many of these various accounts work.

Note: This can be a regular concurrent session time block. It can work as a standalone, or in combination with the two other investment/retirement sessions.

Speaker: Brad Barnett

Planning for the Future in the Financial Aid Office

We hear buzz words around succession planning, career development, retaining talent, etc.  This session will look at how the future will impact work in general, and look at practical considerations for the aid office given what we already know about higher education organizational structure, demands of Title IV administration and the new normal coming out of the pandemic.

Speaker: Dana Kelly

Professional Judgment Best Practices

Professional judgment (PJ) is sometimes viewed as one of the more challenging aspects of Title IV program administration. There are both explicit and implicit guidelines that must be followed in relation to other aspects of Title IV federal student aid administration. This session will explore guiding principles and best practices that can be applied on your campus.

Speaker: Dana Kelly, or another designated NASFAA TRA staff member dependent on timing

The Federal Budget and Student Aid

Between fiscal years, sequestration, and continuing resolutions, the federal budget process can seem a bit overwhelming. This session will cover the nuts and bolts of the federal budget process with special attention given to how the process impacts funding of the federal student aid programs. In addition to highlighting the basics of the process, the session will also feature predictions for future funding!

Speaker Options: Justin Draeger, Rachel Gentry Rotunda, or Karen McCarthy

Top AskRegs Questions

NASFAA's AskRegs service fields thousands of questions from aid administrators each year. This session takes a look at the top questions submitted over the last year, as well as those rated as most useful by the NASFAA membership. Find out what your colleagues are asking and if your practices align with NASFAA responses. 

Speaker: Dana Kelly or another designated NASFAA TRA staff member dependent on timing

Using NASFAA Tools

Membership has its privileges! Remember this slogan from the '90s?  It is very applicable to the tools NASFAA offers its members. From compliance and policy insights to training and "Beltway" insights, make sure you are making the most of your benefits and staying on top of what's happening in the aid community.

Speaker Options: Justin Draeger, Dana Kelly, or National Chairs


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