History of WASFAA

as written by Wally Douma


Fall of 1965-  The seed for the Wisconsin state association was planted when an informal group of administrators from the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin State University System decided it would be useful if someone from the United States Department of Education could come out to Wisconsin and explain more about the new federal aid programs that had been created by the Higher Education Act of 1965.  U.S.D.E. was contacted and they said they would send out someone by the name of James Moore.  Mr. Moore came in early December and got the university people all enthused about student financial aid.  So enthused, in fact, that they decided to have another meeting. 

January of 1966- At the second meeting, it was decided to expand the organization to all post-secondary schools in the state.  In addition, at this meeting Mr. Leo Gilchrist explained what the College Scholarship Service was and introduced most of the group to the new concept called “needs analysis”.  In February, a more formal meeting was held and Wallace Douma, University of Wisconsin, was named president and Bruce Ehr, Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh, was named secretary.  In addition, the group planned seven “financial aid workshops for high school guidance counselors.”  These were to be held on March 1, 2, and 3 in Madison, Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Platteville, Stout State University at Menomonie, Oshkosh, and Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Fall of 1966- The first directory of Financial Aid Officers was published, and also established was a system of “Drive-In Workshops” for high school counselors in conjunction with the Higher Education Aids Board (HEAB).  Dick Johnston, of HEAB was one of the first “Chief Coordinators.”  Also, “needs analysis workshops” were established with Jim Bowman of CSS presenting the first one.  Reed Saunders, the newly appointed Director of ACT’s new “Financial Aid Service” also made an early presentation.  This led to the establishment of a “needs analysis committee” which consisted of Jim Dwyer, Marquette University, Bruce McConnell, The Wisconsin Voc-Tech System, Doris Meissner, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Bob Rossmiller, Wisconsin State University-Stevens Point, and Bruce Her, Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh.   

WASFAA Charter Members:

  1. Buhrow, Jerry
  2. Douma, Wally
  3. Fix, George
  4. Johnston, Richard
  5. Lindgren, Wayne
  6. McConnell, Bruce
  7. Myrah, Steven
  8. Ocker, Jan
  9. Sather, Bob 

In honor of 55 years of WASFAA, President Keyimani Alford (2020-21) sat down with our first president Wally Douma to discuss our history and what we can still find important today.

WASFAA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

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