Volume 1, Number 2Spring 2005


President's Message

President-Elect's Message

State Reports

2005 Summer Institute

2005 Fall Conference


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

President's Message
by Howard Thomas, MASFAA President

Greetings 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 are trained.

The general three themes that occurred during the discussion were:

  • 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 Council.

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