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Message from the Chair
Submitted by: Richard Heath, 2005-2006 Tri-State ASFAA Chair
The Tri-State ASFAA year started in July as our Federal Relations Committee (FRC) hosted and partnered with the NYSFAAA FRC to gain a better understanding of how Congress works in regard to the legislation that affects the programs that affect our students. The time together culminated with trips to “the Hill", where we fanned out across the area to meet with congressional leaders from both parties to voice our support, and our concern, for the direction some of the legislation was taking. The budget reconciliation process and the ongoing Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act were discussed in detail. While the outcome of both still remains in doubt, the impact the joint meeting had on both committees was evident as we combined our efforts to express our views. We agreed to meet again and expand the effort by inviting other ASFAA FRCs to meet with us in the future.
October was "Neophyte" month as our PD&T committee hosted 35 new aid professionals for a week of training in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I was one of many presenters who covered topics from Verification and “C” code resolution to the loan process and, of course, SAP. The attendees came from all types of institutions, as well as two state agencies, all with the same goal of gaining the understanding and tools to do their jobs better.
Our Fall Conference is "in the book" and one for the record as 226 attendees met at a new location, the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Maryland. In response to Hurricane Katrina, the Tri-State Board made a unanimous decision to invite two of the Board members from the Mississippi ASFAA to be our guests at the Conference. We were delighted to have Garry Jones, MASFAA President-Elect, and Lashonda Chamberlain, current Vice President, with us for three days of professional development and encouragement. In addition to the shared knowledge and fellowship, Association members donated gift cards totaling $1,045 which Garry and Lashonda took back to the MASFAA Board for distribution to their members hardest hit by the hurricane. Ingrid Valentine, Tri-State Vice Chair and Conference Committee Chair, along with her committee members, did an outstanding job of putting together an agenda that "scratched" where we were “itching”. We had an opportunity to hear from our Federal trainer, Greg Martin, as well as trainers from institutions, the lending community, and the private sector regarding issues we all face on a daily basis.
The Community Outreach Committee raised $3,050 dollars through the Silent Auction held to benefit the Baltimore Pediatric HIV Program. I would sum up the Conference as a huge success, because we gained professionally from the sessions and were encouraged personally to be involved with such great outreach activities.
I trust that many were encouraged at the Fall Conference as Dave Myette and Tom Dalton joined Stephanie Bender and me in addressing leadership issues and the process of becoming involved. Thank you to Rachel Brinkley and the EASFAA Leadership Committee for sending them our way. We look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor as we welcome new volunteers to the EASFAA and Tri-State ASFAAs.
The Fall ended as it began, with professional development opportunities. A workshop for FAO Support Staff held on December 15th was another great opportunity for Tri-State members to gain a deeper understanding of what we do and how to serve our students better.
The annual election season is upon us. Sandy Brown, Past President,
is leading our effort to solicit, review, and put forth a slate of
candidates for the members to choose a new Chair-Elect and three state
Presidents. As you may have noticed, this professional association
is “of the members, by the members and for the members,”
which means without your support for the activities, they would not
happen. Likewise, without your stepping up and taking leadership responsibilities,
the association will not continue to be one of the leading voices
for professional development and student financial aid advocacy.