The MASFAA newsletter is published quarterly (December, March,
June, September). Its purpose is to provide an effective forum
for communicating with members about issues affecting our profession
as well as to inform members of the ongoing activity of MASFAA committees
and the Executive Council.
Please send articles, letters, and comments to Mary Kay Freshour,
Methodist Theological School in Ohio
3081 Columbus Pike, Delaware, OH, 43015. Email - mfreshour@MTSO.edu
by Howard Thomas, MASFAA President
and welcome to the spring installment of MASFAA
Moments. I would like to discuss several issues in which
I have been involved as your president.
Last month, I was one of seven regional representatives who met
with the Department of Education to discuss concerns with federal
training. Jeff Baker, Kay Jacks, Micki Roemer, Bill Ryan, Teri
Shaw of the Department attended the meeting.
The meeting began with each region expressing their concerns/thoughts
in regard to federal training. The discussion was unusually frank
regarding the quality of training currently being provided. In
addition to training, there was concern expressed that customer
support for direct lending schools has been changed and that colleges
were not getting the same level of quality as before.
The Department recently went through reorganization and, because
they didn't want employees to have to move, has ended up
with an uneven distribution of trainers around the country. They
are looking at having more 'national trainers' than
regional trainers. A job posting was recently sent out for someone
to be in charge of national training and they want to funnel requests
for trainers through this person.
The Department has quarterly meetings where the regional trainers
can bring up questions and issues or ask questions. Kay indicated
that our comments would be brought up as they have their meetings.
They are, for the first time, looking at how the regional trainers
The general three themes that occurred during the discussion
- A personal relationship with the regional trainer is important.
- There is a fear that there is a disconnect between the regional
trainers and department.
- Schools must have confidence in their trainers.
The Department indicated that they will do the following in response
to the issues we brought up:
- Will give more feedback with the trainers
- Will be hiring a central person for regional associations
to request specific trainers
- Will send out a bio of the regional trainers
- Will check the meeting schedules for the EACs to try to not
conflict with other meetings. This is difficult because they
cannot schedule the EAC years in advance the way regional associations
can. This is because they have to wait on the appropriations
being available. As a result, they don't have as many
options for scheduling.
- Will address the direct loan issues
We will have to wait and see what ultimately comes from the meeting.
I suspect that the changes will be subtle and probably take several
months to occur. The fact that Teri Shaw attended the meeting
and stayed to the end tells me that they feel this is an important
issue and that they are serious about improving training. The
meeting was very open and honest and we had a good exchange of
ideas. It was also good for us to hear some of the constraints
that the Department has in terms of training from their end.
Since the last MASFAA Moments, I have had the pleasure to provide
a MASFAA update at both the Michigan and Missouri association
meetings. In addition to my attendance, National Chair-Elect Dave
Gelinas attended the MASFAP meeting and provided a detailed Washington
update. Also, James Buchanan from the West Virginia Association
attended MASFAP as part of the state exchange program. Both conferences
were excellent and my congratulations to Cindy Butler and Lori
Hartman for the fine work they did as program chairs.
Upcoming meetings that I will have the pleasure of attending
include the West Virginia Association (March 29 - April 1), the
Illinois Association meeting (April 3 - April 5) and the Wisconsin
Association meeting (April 27 - 29). In addition, the April Executive
Council meeting will be held in Charleston, WV (April 22 - 24)
and MASFAA members with issues and concerns should feel free to
contact me or anyone
on the Executive
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