The Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators is a non-profit organization that provides support to financial aid administrators and other agencies involved in the administration of financial aid programs in Wisconsin’s postsecondary educational institutions.
The WASFAA Blog
The WASFAA Blog contains updates from the WASFAA President, highlights committee activities and member profiles, and provides articles written by members and guests.
My name is Sue Minzlaff and I am an Associate Director in the Financial Aid Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At the end of the Spring WASFAA conference, I began serving my year as WASFAA President. My first act as president was to thank Debbie Duff for serving as your 2015-16 WASFAA President. While Debbie and I have known each other for many years, I have truly enjoyed getting to know her better and working more closely with her. On behalf of the entire WASFAA organization, I had the honor of presenting Debbie with the Outgoing President's plaque.
While I prefer to be a worker bee behind the scenes, I am truly honored and humbled (and nervous and scared) to serve an organization that has given me so much over the past 30 years. I recall some of my very first conference. Gin Muenster was President and it was held in Green Bay. I was in awe of her and never would have believed that through working together in the upcoming years, we would become great friends and are still able to stay in touch (yay Facebook!) It was so great to see her again at the Gala Celebration. So much has changed over the past 30 years. Back then, the back of the room was reserved for the smokers—of which there were many more. Some of the most important sessions were the ACT and CSS Updates and getting paper and labels to color coordinate with the Student Aid Report. We had three conferences a year—held in Sept/Feb/May. If you haven’t had a chance to review some of the documents in the Archives area of the website, please do so. Bill Henderson and his committee of one took a lot of time organizing and posting this information which allows WASFAA’s history to live on. As I was reading the WASFAA Crier from 30 years ago, I was reminded of my first interaction with some other amazing WASFAA members when Sue Hebert (my first boss at MSOE) hosted Financial Aid Awareness Week in February 1986 with co-chairs Mary Roggeman and Jane Hojan-Clark. Little did I know that I would eventually end up working for all of these truly amazing financial aid administrators and women.
On to business:
Last year, the WASFAA Executive Committee changed our MASFAA board representative from the President to the President-elect. This was done to help lift some of the responsibilities from the President. Unfortunately, that meant Debbie was skipped and wasn’t able to be a part of the MASFAA board. While it means a fair amount of traveling, I was able to reconnect with MASFAA (it had been a while) and meet many new people. MASFAA is truly an amazing association and I so appreciate that I have been given the opportunity to network and learn from so many of the board members. I want to thank Aaron Steffens for attending our conference and providing a MASFAA update. A number of MASFAA committees need Wisconsin representation; if you are interested in serving MASFAA, please let me know. Some of what I learned I will be bringing to the WASFAA President’s Retreat. At the retreat, we will be working on goals for the upcoming year to help WASFAA continue to be a strong association. I will be sharing those goals with you during the summer months.
Patty Taylor and I, in our elect positions, were also able to travel to D.C. in February to attend NASAA’s Leadership Conference. WASFAA pays for these two positions to attend the Pathway to Association Management sessions each year. We both thought it was one of the most amazing conferences we have had the privilege to attend. Look for details on our trip in an upcoming WASFAA Blog. I think it helped put the two of us more at ease in the roles we are now taking over.
Through this association, I have had the privilege of working with many amazing professionals—and am excited to work more closely with many of them in the coming year. The success of any organization depends on member participation. Thank you again to the 2016-17 WASFAA Executive Committee and co-chairs for their willingness to give of their time to contribute to WASFAA’s continued success. If you are not on a committee, and wish to be on one, you can email me directly and I will get you connected to the co-chairs. A lot of the information on the committee web pages is accurate, but we hope to have updates done in the next couple of months.
Reminders of some upcoming dates:
June 2-3 WASFAA President's Retreat at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake
June 7-8 WASFAA Office Professionals Retreat at St. Norbert University in De Pere.
July 10-13 NASFAA in DC—where NASFAA will take it’s turn celebrating 50 Years! As your president, I will be representing you there and am very excited as this will be my first (and probably only) NASFAA conference.
Oct 2-5 MAFSAA in Kansas City, MO. MASFAA continues to put on high quality conferences, and I encourage you to attend if you are able.
November 2-4 Fall WASFAA conference held jointly with WACRAO in downtown Milwaukee; co-chaired by Triena Bodart
April 26-28, 2017 Spring WASFAA conference held at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan; co-chaired by Mark Levine and Vicky Somers.
Your exec committee appreciates how precious all of your budget dollars are, and we will continue to put on high quality conferences and training which will be a very affordable way for your professional development needs to be met.
As WASFAA begins another decade, we know there are challenges as we look for the best ways to continue to serve students and ensure access and success. In today’s political arena, post-secondary education has become an extremely hot topic. While this will be a challenging time, it is also an exciting time to be a part of this profession. If you are new to financial aid or a seasoned veteran, I hope I can encourage you to get involved as we help grow and strengthen this association. Use your network, give of your time, and you will be rewarded both as a professional and personally. I truly believe that, while WASFAA does need your participation, you will get back much more in return from your experiences and friendships made over the years.
Happy 50th WASFAA!
WASFAA President 2016-17