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Resources for new financial aid professionals

January 31, 2012

Financial Aid is a unique branch of Student Affairs. Often misunderstood as only a service provider, financial aid plays an important role in enrollment management. It is both a challenging and rewarding path. For those interested in pursuing a career in financial aid here are a few resources to get you started.

If you are in Wisconsin you should join the Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA). If you are in another state join your state association.

WASFAA has two conferences each year in the fall (November) and spring (April). It is recommended that you attend at least one conference each year.

If you have been in financial aid for two years or less look for the “Institute Track” at the next fall WASFAA conference. It is designed as a comprehensive course for new professionals. It will provide a solid foundation of the intricacies of financial aid.

Next step is to determine if your institution has a membership to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). They have fantastic resources for financial aid professionals. Speak to the Financial Aid Director about getting set up with your own account under the institution’s membership.

Once you have a membership to NASFAA, subscribe to the NASFAA Daily News.  They provide daily emails with the latest headlines in financial aid.

Become familiar with IFAP (pronounced “eye-fap”)  This is the Department of Education’s resource for communicating with financial aid professionals.

Scroll down the page and on the right hand side click where it says current handbook. The FSA Handbook provides all the financial aid regulations in one resource.

Generally, when referring to it Financial Aid Administrators (FAAs) say “FSA 1-5” Which refers to Federal Student Aid Handbook, volume 1, page 5.

FSA Coach on IFAP is a helpful self-guided training for financial aid professionals.

Connect with other financial aid administrators. Ask they what they do on a daily basis to get a better idea of the challenges and rewards of this profession. Connect on Twitter with this list of FinAid Pros.

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