Okay so I am a little late on starting this since it is now day 3 but I will begin with Sunday. First the weather! I have to say it has been sunny and warm so far in Washington DC. Saturday was perhaps a little too warm with temps in the 90’s and quite humid but now it really nice! Of course we spent most of the day indoors!
I volunteered to work the registration desk on Sunday morning. Volunteering for a 7:30am – 10:00am shift seemed great a couple months ago. At 6:00am it no longer felt that way. And there are 2500 registrants for this conference (give or take) and Sunday is the first day so it was certainly BUSY! But I will say it was quite rewarding also. I felt much better about doing it afterward.
The day’s events began with a NASFAA chorus made up of over 50 volunteer FA administrators singing patriotic songs. They did a really wonderful job! Our keynote speaker was Jeanette Walls, author of the best-selling novel “Glass Castle”. She was simply amazing to say the least. She told of her meager upbringing in Arizona and West Virginia with parents who could not provide for her and her siblings for various reasons. She told her story through tears and much laughter and really made us thought about how we view people from different walks of life and how we are all the same even though we are different.
I could tell by the early sessions that it is going to be a very educational conference. My first session was on modules and Title IV eligibility. Good lord could they make it more confusing and make less sense? I only say that because the rules make it that way. The trainer, Greg Martin, was extremely knowledgeable and it was not his fault it is a very complicated process! He did a great job. I heard that the PPY session was not only standing room only but the crowd was also out the door. It certainly will be an interesting Fall semester.
Sunday evening was truly wonderful as NASFAA celebrated it’s 50th anniversary with a buffet dinner, drinks, and dancing. It was very nice!
Monday began a full day of sessions and they were very good. I actually started at 7:00 am with an EASFAA meeting so it was a long day. Lots of great sessions. A lunch we heard from Rep. Bobby Scott who is the ranking member of the Committee on education and yhe workforce. He is very much an advocate for student aid and should be commended for his work. We also heard from 5 former students who are now very successful in their chosen fields and credit receiving financial aid for them breaking out of difficult family circumstances. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
The HEA Review was very good also. Justin Draeger has a way of delicately but decisively putting legislative staffers on the spot (in a good way mostly). Senator Murray’s staffer Bryce and Senator Alexander’s staffer, Bob Moran were there. The House staff sent their regrets. Interesting! That allowed the Senate staffers however to place some blame on the House. Interesting comments about Reauthorization discussions taking place currently, especially in regards to One Grant, One Loan and accountability.
Just starting day 3 now so will send a message about that later. Perhaps I will be able to see some sights tonight!