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!