Our 50th

Recently, I’ve been searching for inspiration to welcome the start of another school year and to fill you in on preparations for NJASFAA’s Golden Anniversary celebration. Lo and behold, a Facebook post from a colleague provided the impetus I needed. It dawned on me that by virtue of age, parenting and professional affiliation, NJASFAA and I share a milestone. We’ve experience a half-century of crisp September mornings full of eagerness, enthusiasm and apprehension. We owe a great chunk of who, what and where we are to the Higher Education Act of 1965. But this milestone is about much more than what NJASFAA and I share in common. It’s about the Financial Aid community in NJ and it’s half century of accomplishments.

In fact, while NJASFAA’s first President, was taking office, many of us had not even been born and most of us were far from imagining a career in Financial Aid.  As we moved through college and beyond, BEOG became Pell and the Guaranteed Student Loan evolved into Stafford Loans. We welcomed PLUS, and private loans. We hosted ACG and Smart Grants. NJ awarded Tuition Aid Grants, Garden State, Urban and Distinguished Scholarships. Outstanding Scholars graced our campuses. Financial aid programs expanded and so did regulations. As professionals, we searched for support to reference and interpret a myriad of regulations written in voluminous handbooks (hard-copy and electronic). The students we welcomed to our campuses grew in number and diversity.  And throughout the years, guided by a strong Statewide Association of professionals, NJASFAA, brought us together.  Committees such as Novice and Training helped us to gain an understanding of federal and state legislation, Conference and Government Relations provided venues and opportunities to network, and advocate for our students. We were challenged and developed personally and professionally. It’s now time to come together to celebrate our achievements and NJASFAA biggest milestone!

Save the date! Spread the word, and don’t forget to make plans to be at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, March 14-16th. Let’s celebrate our 50th! It promises to be a wonderful and very special event!

Visit us on Facebook

The Jersey shore. ~ We all probably have some fond memories of times spent with family and friends along its sandy beaches and boardwalks. On June 9th and 10th, the newly elected Executive Council members spent time there getting to know more about ourselves and each other by taking the Myers-Briggs Inventory Test. We put our thoughts together to craft budgets that will support training sessions, as well as the annual Conference and Committees that will assist the State’s financial aid administrators become better prepared to serve our students, their families and a large network of guidance counselors. We debated ideas, proposed training initiatives and decided that it was time for NJASFAA to develop an expanded presence on the web, which will include a Facebook page. Today, the NJASFAA Executive Council, Felicia Bryant and I invite you to visit that page. Follow our schedule of events. View and like the photos that will appear of your colleagues and you.

NJASFAA is comprised of a diverse group of individuals that represent many sectors; a growing professional family which values the expertise of long standing Council members like Ninfa Mueller, Doug Wilson and Ed Gonzalez. We are moving forward with the steady support of our Past President, Cynthia Montalvo, our current President, Wil Casaine and the President-Elect, Tammi Hussey, as well as the stewardship of Mike Livio, Joanna Cellary and Catherine Boscher–Murphy, a NJASFAA legend, who was unable to be there for the photo op, but keeps us moving in the right direction. The 2016/17 year is sure to be full of challenges, opportunities and upheaval with PPY, new filing deadlines dates for the State programs, more PJs, and SULA. Stay tuned for training sessions, an exciting conference and plenty of networking opportunities. See you on FB!

College Affordability Study Commission Session

As you know, our Fall Conference is fast approaching. If you have not already registered, do so now!

You can register at http://www.njasfaa.org/docs/toc_conferences.html. Among the many useful sessions that will be taking place at the conference, we will have a general session entitled, “Meet the CASC: The College Affordability Study Commission” at the conference on Thursday, November 12. The CASC was set up by the New Jersey Legislature and signed into law by the Governor this past February. They have met regularly ever since, gathering information and discussing different ways to make college more affordable for students and their families. The Chair of the Commission, Dr. Frederick Keating, President of Rowan College at Gloucester County, and Dr. Peter Mercer, President of Ramapo College, have agreed to speak to us and take our feedback at a general session.


This is a valuable opportunity for NJASFAA members to help the CASC and to assist in shaping higher education-related legislation moving forward. We want to hear what you have to say about college affordability. So to get this conversation started, we are posing some questions for discussion, both here on the list-serve and on NJASFAA’s news blog NJASFAA 411. If you have not previously used the blog, please go to http://njasfaa.org/b to register.


Our first question is about merit- vs. need-based aid. Some other states spend a higher percentage of their aid dollars on merit-based aid for in-state students. Should NJ look to expand the use of merit-based aid? Right now, the need-based NJ Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) Program is one of the most generous in the nation. In addition to this, programs like STARS and STARS II allow for valuable merit based aid for students who met certain criteria. These programs and others seem to provide excellent access to higher education. But does NJ have the right mix of need- and merit-based aid? Would changing this mix have any impact on making college more affordable in NJ?


What are your thoughts about need and merit-based aid as they relate to college affordability? Let us know here and let’s have a discussion.


Government Relations Committee wants your feedback

Greetings fellow NJASFAA members:

The NJASFAA Government Relations committee is eager to hear your concerns, questions and comments!

Do you have any concerns, comments or questions about State or Federal rules or regulations that you would like your Association to address? Are there areas where you’d like to see us play more, or less, of a role? Are there any ideas you would like to share with us?

NJASFAA is made up of volunteers who want to serve you, our membership. So we would benefit from hearing more about what areas of concern you have. At this year’s Fall conference, November 12-14, 2014 at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, we will be handing out a sheet of paper during Thursday’s lunch on which we’d like to ask for your feedback. Please let our committee know some areas you’d like to see us address. While we can’t guarantee we can address all concerns, learning more from our membership could help us serve you better.

Have a great conference!