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2003 December

March 17, 2005

From the President


December 2003

Happy Holidays!

As we reach the end of another calendar year, it is a time to reflect upon the year that has past and also a time to look forward to the exciting new year ahead. During the past year, many of us have taken the time to attend conferences and training events offered at the state, regional and national levels. In the September Newsletter, I had expressed my hopes that we would not lose sight of how valuable these opportunities are - especially in tough budgetary times. It appears that many of you feel the same way as the number of registrants for both the Support Staff Workshop (41) and the Fall Institute (112) were outstanding.

As you reflect and look ahead, I would encourage you to look at your own personal involvement in NeASFAA. If you've been involved - thank you and I hope your participation continues. If you would like to become more involved, I urge you to volunteer for a NeASFAA committee in 2004-05. This Association is successful because of its members, and being part of a committee is a great way to become more involved and give back to the financial aid community. Please consider offering your time and talent to NeASFAA when Shirley calls for volunteers.

I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season!



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Committee Corner


December 2003

by Wendy Olson

Happy upcoming holiday's from the Membership Committee! We are hoping that we got to see most of you at the recent Fall Institute. I can tell you that we did see all of the 22, (yes you read me right 22), newcomers! Although we can't say for sure, it seems we set a new first conference attendee record. It was wonderful to see all the new faces at the Newcomer's welcome we hosted after the NSLP lunch. We played an ice breaker that helped us get to know everyone, and each new comer got a little goodie bag with a game included (of course the theme of the Institute was "Games"). The welcome seemed to be a big success! Thanks to Cindi Raemaker and Carolyn Routh for all their work organizing!

As a committee, we are moving forward with several of our goals. The new directory information was added to the website and is continuously being updated.

Jenni Burke and Wendy Cobb have been busy getting updated electronic photos of everyone for a really professional new photo directory. Please get your photo to them as soon as you can! I promise you won't want to be left out of this new publication.

I wish safe travels to everyone away and home, after all tis the conference season!

(This week a card was mailed to Tamie Sovereign and her family signed by many NeASFAA members and included over $400 in donations. Thanks to all who contributed!)


by Joan Jurek

This fall the Awards Committee had the honor of awarding many notable accomplishments.

In October, at the NeASFAA Support Staff Workshop, three members were recognized for their exceptional customer service:
Carol Keller, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Anne McConkey, University NE - Kearney
Tricia Stephens, Central Comm.College-Grand Island.

During Fall Institute, the Awards Committee handed out the following awards:
Fun Awards
Juan Perez, (Poundin' Bedbugs)
Randy Sell and Bob Walker (Sonny and Cher)

RMASFAA Distinguished Women
Janet Dodson (inducted into RMASFAA Hall of Fame)
Daphne Hall (2003 RMASFAA Distinguished Service)
Mary Sommers (2003-04 RMASFAA President)

New Baby
Michelle Reeson (June 9th)


Linda Adams   Hylee Asche
Brenda Boyd   Juanita Czarnick
Shirley Dohring   Jon Dotterer
Jan Duensing   Ted Fellers
Claire Fredstrom   Jan Going
Margie Harris   Joan Hill
Donna Johnson   Connie Kent
Franny Madsen   Steve Millnitz
Randy Sell   Mary Theobald
Danni Warrick   Merlyn Williams
Joan Zanders    

The Awards committee asks you to keep us updated with any new grandchildren…and remember, bring those photo books to Spring Conference filled with your snapshots.

Honorary Admiral-Nebraska Navy
Dan Duff, Retired: June 2003
Pete Wroblewski, Retiring: January 2004

The Awards Committee will soon start planning for Spring Conference. As many of you know, prestigious awards are presented at the Spring Conference. Start thinking now of those fellow members who have contributed to NeASFAA. Be watching for more details after the first of the year.


by Cindi Ramaeker

On behalf of NeASFAA's Corporate Development Committee, I would like to say "THANK YOU" to all of our Associate Member Organizations who have pledged monetary support to NeASFAA for 2003-2004! As you know sponsorship dollars are critical to the success of this association and the training of its members. Because of their support, NeASFAA members are able to come together at the Fall Institute and Spring Conference and receive the training everyone needs to return to our offices with knowledge and insight to help students achieve their educational dreams. In addition, this financial support of NeASFAA makes it possible to promote outreach projects to help educate prospective college students about the financial aid options available to them.

Please take a moment to "Thank" the following organizations who have contributed to NeASFAA for 2003-2004:

ASAP/Union Bank & Trust
College Board
EducationQuest Foundation
First National Bank of Omaha
First National Beatrice
Foundation for Educational Services
Iowa Student Loan
National Student Loan Program
NSA-Nelnet Servicing Alliance
Platte Valley State Bank
Sallie Mae
TERI Education Loans
U.S. Bank
USA Funds Services
Wells Fargo EFS


by Mark Krings

The Professional Development Committee (PDC) had been hard at work the past few months preparing for the Support Staff Workshop and the NeASFAA Fall Institute. Both events were a big success. The committee continues to work hard in preparing for the Spring Conference in North Platte. The conference is scheduled for April 14th through the 16th at the Sandhills Convention Center. Keep an eye out for registration information.

Support Staff Workshop
The workshop was held on the campus of Union College in Lincoln. Forty one NeASFAA members took advantage of this great opportunity to learn, make new friends and have some fun in the process. Deana Unger, president of NeASFAA started off the day with a warm welcome and a brief introduction of PDC members. A quick "ice breaker" followed in which everyone was given a balloon as they signed in for the day. The balloon contained a single (fun) question. Everyone was given an opportunity to introduce themselves, indicate where they worked, their job responsibilities along with answering the question from within the balloon. It was a great opportunity for everyone to get relaxed and ready to learn.

I continued the training with "Players of the Game", providing information on the role of various entities within the industry. Janet Dodson proceeded in providing a great overview of "Verification 101". After a very filling lunch buffet from DaVinci's, we all participated in a team building activity in which all the members had to cooperate together to achieve the task at hand. Treve Florom kicked off the afternoon sessions with an update on the various services provided by "Education Quest". The workshop wrapped up with a lively "Q and A" discussion.

Everyone was provided a treat bag containing several items donated by various NeASFAA sponsors. The PDC thanks all our sponsors and all who came out for the day.

NeASFAA Fall Institute
112 people registered for this year's Fall Institute held at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. The attendance was the largest in recent years. The PDC, based on feedback from our members, rearranged the order of events for the Institute. NSLP gave an update prior to the start of the Fall Institute on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 7th. The Fall Institute officially began in the afternoon of the 7th and concluded the morning of Thursday, Nov. 8th. RMASFAA Decentralized Training followed in the afternoon of Nov. 8th and concluded Friday morning. This adjustment received very positive comments and we hope to continue it in the future.

The agenda offered a variety of sessions from Financial Aid 101 for people relatively new to the industry to Financial Aid 201 for the more tenured employees. Other sessions on Wednesday afternoon included "Veterans Administration", "Vocational Rehabilitation", and "Return to Title IV". PO Pears was the place to be to wind down for the day with some good food and refreshments. Those looking to hang out a little later into the evening where shuttled down to Sun Valley Lanes for a few hours of bowling and fun.

Thursday morning began bright and early with sector meetings followed by a few more sessions including "FISAP" and "Cost of Attendance and Needs Analysis" The Institute concluded with brunch and a 'State Update" given by Ritchie Morrow. The PDC would like to thank all the speakers and panelists who gave so willingly of their time and knowledge, including Deana Unger, Penny James, Craig Munier, John Streedbeck, Don Crouch, Joan Zanders, Wendy Olson, Peggy Tvrdy, Cristy Crenshaw, John Parker, Kyle Rose, Donna Bargen, Amy Lyons and Randy Sell.

The PDC would like to thank everyone who attended this year's Support Staff Workshop Fall Institute and hope to see many of you again at the Spring Conference in North Platte.



December 2003



What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Tammy Preston - Education Quest Foundation:
New Years Day - the whole family is together for soup day. The family brings the wackiest and weirdist kinds of soup.

Melissa Troyer - SCC Milford:
Christmas - everyone gets together.

Sharreen Cundall - UNO:
Thanksgiving - watching football games in the afternoon.

Beth Connor - The Creative Center:
Getting together with mom and sister and baking christmas goodies.

Sandy La Rocca - The Creative Center:
Christmas morning - being with husband, daughter and son.

Kent Wolfe - NSLP:
Christmas eve - getting to be with family.

Mark Krings - NSLP :
Christmas - getting together with faimly, having presents , food and celebrating his birthday.

Shirley Huttenmaier - SCC Beatrice:
Christmas eve - opening christmas presents.

Sarah Sell - Education Quest Foundation:
Putting all the Christmas decorations up especially the nativity set from her grandmother.

Lisa Mueller - Education Quest Foundation:
Christmas eve - bowling during the day.

Treve Florom - Education Quest Foundation:
Thanksgiving - everything about the day including the Colorado game.




Many of you from Fall Conference!


Movers and Shakers


December 2003


The following stories are the latest in an ever changing Nebraska world of financial aid.

Weather:  Blue and Overcast (Boy, are we blue about departures):
Goodbye to Holly Hulbert! She resigned her position as Assistant Director at Wayne State College in July. Best Wishes to Holly!

UNO says goodbye to Ritchie Morrow! Fond farewells, for a short time (see below)!

Western Community College reports that Michelle Maschmeier, Financial Aid Associate Director is leaving the financial aid field to return to banking. Her last day will be November 21. Penny and her crew wish Michelle all the best at her "new/old career". Good luck Michelle!

Other Weather:  Grey skies
Jenny Mosher from College of St. Mary is recuperating from jaw surgery. We wish her a speedy recovery and..

Sunny skies
Cindy Enfield got married last month! Congrats to Cindy and her new husband!

Southeast Community College Beatrice increases its staff by 50%! Shirley H gets a new ½ time FA Technician named Cheryl Parks in October. Cheryl has been at the college for 9 years, so she will be able to help 'dig Shirley out' when Shirley is out of the office next year as President of NeASFAA! Welcome Cheryl!

Bellevue University hired a new Financial Aid Specialist. Her name is Brenda Henderson and she started with Bellevue on October 6th. Welcome Brenda!

Wayne State College has hired a new Assistant Director, LeAnn Hoffman. LeAnn met many NeASFAA folks at the Fall Institute; she had been on the job something like 3 whole days. Welcome LeAnn!

Ritchie Morrow was hired as the Financial Aid Coordinator with the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education from his old position at UNO (see above). Ritchie is quoted as saying "Once I lived in Lincoln and commuted to Omaha, now I live in Omaha and commute to Lincoln." Congrats to Ritchie!

UNO reports that Shareen Cundall has been hired as Assistant Director of Financial Aid from her financial aid post Doane Lincoln. Since Ken Schmidt took over Ritchie's old position, Shareen is actually replacing Ken. Way to go Shareen!

Northeast Community College reports that not only has Laurie Grieve been promoted to Financial Aid Assistant, Bailey Nelson has been added as a Financial Aid Specialist. These position changes are due to Tamie Sovereign's absence. Congrats to both Laurie and Bailey! Way to go Northeast!

SCC welcomes Amy Armstrong (formerly McTaggert) to their Lincoln Campus. Amy joins their team as an Associate Director. Amy had been a Financial Aid Counselor at NE College of Business in Omaha. Welcome Amy!

Celebrity News:
UNK's Mary Sommers was recently crowned, er took office as RMASFAA President in Big Sky Montana at RMASFAA's Fall Conference. She inspired everyone with her inaugural speech challenging everyone with the topic of her speech "We better be good at this". What does that woman not do?

Also in Big Sky, EducationQuest's Daphne Hall was recognized with a distinguished Service Award for her year as Committee Chair for Summer Institute. Word has it not only was she Pork Queen in a previous life (truly she was), but she took her job so seriously, she was holding conference call meetings from her hospital bed while on bed rest with her pregnancy. Now THAT is Distinguished Service! Way to go Daphne!

Another award winner from our neck of the woods was Doane's Janet Dodson! Janet was inducted into the RMASFAA Hall of Fame. Janet was recognized for her years of dedication and service and the list they read of her dedication was too long to reprint here! What amazing amounts of time and energy Janet has given to not only NeASFAA, but RMASFAA and NASFAA! Janet we are so proud of you!

Rumor had it that Sony (Randy Sell) and Cher (Bob Walker) were in Big Sky as well. Check out the awards committee info from Fall Institute for more details!


NSLP Update


December 2003

Coaches' Camp Rallies Nebraska Home Team
by Mark Krings
Regional Director
National Student Loan Program

NSLP kicked off the November NeASFAA conference with a Coaches' Camp that honored industry leaders from Nebraska and updated schools and lenders about resources they can use for managing their student loan programs.

NeASFAA members were commended for their dedication to helping students and were recognized for their accomplishments.


Janet Dodson, Doane College   RMASFAA Hall of Fame

Daphne Hall, EducationQuest Foundation   RMASFAA Distinguished Service Award

Shirley Huttenmaier, Southeast Community College - Beatrice   NeASFAA President-elect

Mary Sommers, University of Nebraska-Kearney   RMASFAA President

Deana Unger, University of Nebraska   NeASFAA President


The latest news from NSLP about ELITETM is that it is running smoothly, thanks to suggestions from Nebraska users. The software will be updated to support Common Record: CommonLine in response to ED's future Common Record layout.

NSLP shared their latest research on Persistence, which shows how students are negatively affected by working. Students who work more than 14 hours a week are less likely to complete college.

Schools saw a demonstration of NSLP's online Money Management Counseling, a self-paced financial training course that includes lessons on budgeting, credit cards, credit reports, student loans, and dealing with debt. "My students like NSLP's Money Management Counseling website because it has basic financial information they need in one place," said Shirley Huttenmaier, Associate Director of Financial Aid.

Schools heard about NSLP's highly successful Default Rescue Program, which has saved hundreds of borrowers from default and millions of dollars in default costs for the federal government over the last year. The innovative program helps severely delinquent borrowers stay out of default and keeps school default rates low.

NSLP also reminded schools and lenders about several recently-introduced products and services.

  • Extended customer service hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • An additional processing run at 9 p.m. for last-minute, overnight loan guarantees.
  • An updated Principles of Loan Repayment brochure for entrance and exit counseling that now includes a student budget worksheet.
  • An Online Loan Change that lets schools and lenders easily report guarantee changes.
  • An expanded borrower Loan Summary that now includes all the borrower's FFELP, Direct, and Perkins loans that schools can also request annually as well as when a student graduates.
  • An e-Delinquency Report that provides schools with an electronic file of their delinquent borrowers.
  • A Financial Management Tools website for students with links to online budget calculators, money management advice, and helpful information about repaying student loans.

F or more information about the Coaches' Camp or NSLP's products and services, contact Mark Krings at 800-735-8778, ext. 6835 or e-mail markk@nslp.org.


USAFunds Update


December 2003

Five Keys to Establishing a Student-Retention Plan
by Larry Viterna
USA Funds Services Regional Director

Student retention is a process that encompasses everything an institution does to improve the quality of the educational experience for its students. The success of an institution and the success of its students are inseparable.

The online guide "Solving the Retention Puzzle" advises that, to retain students, campuses need prevention plans - not recovery plans for attrition. Retention plans must be deliberate, intentional and comprehensive, or the results are likely to be short-lived.

To set the stage for making retention part of your campus culture, "Solving the Retention Puzzle" recommends focusing on the following areas:

  1. Mission statement. Examine your mission statement and its commitment to students. Challenge each campus unit to develop a strategic response to the goals of the mission statement that articulates its commitment to students.
  2. Retention committee. Establish one group with responsibility for developing, coordinating and monitoring all retention initiatives at your institution. The membership should include representatives of all major programs and services on campus, and should be chaired by a faculty member.
  3. Philosophy of student success. Develop and articulate very clearly your institution's commitment to student success.
  4. Three-year persistence data. Tracking the enrollment patterns of each freshman and each transfer-student cohort is a critical step in the retention-planning process. Compare your data with national benchmarks, and share the information with the entire campus.
  5. Campus-assessment data. Use the data from institutional assessments and student assessments to inform the retention efforts of your institution.

"Solving the Retention Puzzle" is a new guide located at www.usafunds.org/Debt_management/retention_puzzle/index.html. The feature provides guidance to postsecondary institutions about enhancing persistence and graduation rates, thereby contributing to lower student-loan default rates.


Quarterly Quote

money"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."    --Mark Twain