MSFAA Connection

Welcome to MSFAA Connection, your source for financial aid updates, training opportunities, and important events in Michigan.  This resource page provides you with important topics from our bi-monthly MSFAA Connection newsletter.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 11:36 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    The MSFAA DEI Committee is proud to be introducing two DE&I topics for the very first time at our annual conference this May, 2024.  We hope you will join us for an enlightening presentation on neurodiversity in the realm of higher education featuring Dr. Yulanda Harris, autistic self-advocate and CEO of Trainingphase, LLC, a consulting firm that helps organizations improve their talent management process by attracting and retaining neurodivergent employees.  We will also be presenting a workshop on Navigating Pronouns, as DL McKinney, Director of the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center at Grand Valley State University shares how pronoun training plays a crucial role in creating spaces where individuals of diverse gender identities feel acknowledged and valued.


    Submitted by: Jessica Lizardi, MPA, AFC   

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 11:21 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    Submitted on behalf of the DE&I Committee written by Jessica Lizardi, MPA, AFC, Financial Aid Advisor, Oakland Community College

    What Is Neurodiversity?  Neurodiversity is a concept that recognizes the diverse ways our brains function. Rather than viewing neurological differences as deficits, it abandons the traditional medical model which pathologizes these conditions and instead emphasizes their value and strengths. Conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s, OCD, Dyslexia, and learning disabilities all fall under the umbrella of neurodiversity to offer unique perspectives and abilities that enrich our society. Australian sociologist Judy Singer first coined the term “neurodiversity” in the 1990s’s to promote equality and inclusion of neurological minorities. Since then, it has grown to be a world-wide movement celebrated in April to bring attention to the impact and contributions different thinkers make on this world, promoting acceptance, equity and inclusion in schools and workplaces. 

    Higher education institutions play a vital role in fostering understanding, acceptance, and support for neurodivergent students and colleagues within their communities. It may not come as a surprise that a significant number of faculty and staff in Higher Education identify as neurodivergent (whether publicly or privately), as many of the hallmark characteristics of neurodivergent thinking align with the strengths of those advancing fields of study in academia. These attributes can include deep knowledge in areas of their special study interest, fostering a penchant for research, exceptional talent in fields such as science, computers, or mathematics, a keen attention to detail required in grammar and/or literature studies, and even enhanced pattern recognition which can be helpful for analysis and synthesis of materials.

    Notable Neurodivergent Professionals in Higher Education and Beyond

    • Dr. Stephen Shore: An autism self-advocate, author and professor at Bard College in New York. His work focuses on empowering neurodivergent individuals and promoting inclusion in education.
    • Ron Sandison: a Michigan autism self-advocate and author of 4 nationally recognized books on autism and faith and is the founder of Spectrum Inclusion. He is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry, and speaks on autism at more than seventy events a year. 
    • Haley Moss, JD, is an autistic attorney, author, advocate, artist and professor at Taylor University. She is passionate about disability inclusion and neurodiversity and became nationally known for being the first openly autistic woman to obtain a law degree.
    •  Jason Arday is the youngest Black professor at Cambridge University and an autistic sociologist who has spoken about autism, racism, and learning to read at age 18. 

    Several colleges and universities celebrate Neurodiversity Awareness Month by organizing events, workshops, and campaigns to raise awareness and promote understanding of neurodiversity. A few examples include:

    • Texas State celebrates and educates its campus community in Neurodiversity and how to be an effective ally.
    • Landmark College (Putney, Vermont): Landmark College is renowned for its programs tailored specifically for students with learning differences, including ADHD, dyslexia, and autism spectrum disorder. The college typically hosts various events throughout Neurodiversity Awareness Month to educate the campus community and promote acceptance.
    • Grand Valley University’s (Allendale, Michigan): Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center provides support to NeuroQueers, a club for students who are both LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent and an affirming space for members to be fully themselves. 

    Quick Neurodiversity TIPS - when creating inclusivity for neurodiverse staff and students, consider these tips adapted from Providence Institute for Healthier Community:

    1.  Be mindful of tone policing, perceptions and phrasing

    • When coming across a potential “difficulty” with an employee or coworker, instead of thinking “why are they always so negative and low energy” or “I don’t want to work with _____, I just don’t have a good relationship with them,”.  Be aware of differences and personalities. Neurodivergent people sometimes have a more literal or even neutral personality and even a monotone voice. In a neurotypical environment, this is often perceived as being standoffish, rude, or disinterested. Try not to make any assumptions, and focus more on what they are saying, rather than just how they are saying it.

    2. Provide quiet spaces/Zen Dens

    • Have a place to reduce stress and decompress from overstimulation and feelings of being overwhelmed. Think of a place with dimmed lights, comfortable seating, calming music options, adult coloring books, etc. This is a space beyond a breakroom, which has bright lights and people eating.

    3. Educate yourself and your team on neurodiversity

    • Neurodiversity is being more widely discussed and included in workplace DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) efforts, so more education is accessible to educate employers and employees alike. Some examples include:  a. Neurodiversity Hub: Resources for employers b. EARN: Neurodiversity in the workplace.

    4.  Remember ALL adults learn andn absorb information differently - communicate informatio nusing multiple modalities.

    • During staff meetings, training, 1:1 reviews, class lectures, and other information sharing sessions, be sure to provide resources for different learners. Have handouts prepared to support spoken presentations, record virtual meetings for people who do better at reviewing information for comprehension, provide closed captioning on all videos, and allow time for questions and answers at the end of every meeting or class session. 
    On behalf of the MSFAA DEI Committee, we thank you for joining us in honoring the brilliance of both neurodivergent minds and the indomitable spirit of women who have shaped our world. By celebrating both Neurodiversity Awareness Month and Women’s History Month, we foster progress and improve our recognition of a collective of societal contributions.
  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 11:19 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    Submitted on behalf of the DE&I Committee written by Jessica Lizardi, MPA, AFC, Financial Aid Advisor, Oakland Community College

    Last month, we recognized Women's History Month, and on behalf of the MSFAA DEI Committee, we reflect on the profound impact of women throughout history, including their pivotal roles in shaping higher education. Established in 1987, Women's History Month has its roots in International Women's Day, which has been celebrated since the early 1900s. Some other notable dates in history include:

    • 1911: International Women’s Day (March 8): The establishment a global celebration of women’s achievements. The United Nations sponsors this day to recognize women’s contributions to peace and progress.
    • 1978: The first celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history, and society took place in Sonoma, California, organized by the school district. This week long event laid the groundwork for Women’s History Month.
    • 1980: President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week.
    • 1987: Congress expanded the celebration to the entire month of March, officially establishing Women’s History Month

    Higher education institutions across the country honor the legacy of remarkable women who have shaped the landscape of academia and beyond. During the month of March, they often host events to highlight the achievements of women in academia. Similarly, Women's History Month in Michigan serves as a platform to recognize contemporary leaders, such as Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Her groundbreaking research exposed the Flint water crisis, demonstrating the pivotal role women continue to play in advancing social justice and public health, alongside many others.

    Pioneering Women in Michigan Higher Education and Nationally

    • Helen Walker McAndrew, M.D., was Washtenaw County's first woman physician in 1855 and was the first woman to serve on the University of Michigan's Board of Regents, paved the way for female representation in governance roles.
    • Mary Jane McLeod Bethune became one of the most influential educators, civil and women’s rights leaders and government officials of the twentieth century. In 1904, she founded Bethune-Cookman University, setting educational standards for today’s Black colleges and served as an advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
    • Merze Tate in 1927 was the first Black student to earn a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University, going on to become a scholar, world traveler, journalist, author and advisor to world leaders. In 2021, WMU named one of its academic units after her—one of the few Black women to have an academic college named after her at a predominantly white institution.
    • Dr. Mary Chase Perry Stratton is the Co-founder of Pewabic Pottery and an influential artist and educator in Detroit. She established the first ceramics department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and in 1947, she received the Charles Fergus Binns Medal, the highest award in the field of American ceramics, shattering gender norms in the early 20th century.
    • Dr. Temple Grandin is a renowned animal scientist, autism self-advocate, and professor at Colorado State University. In 1989 her unique perspective revolutionized livestock handling and she was also the first woman to bring perspective to the gifts that autistic, or “differently wired” minds can bring to the world.

    Through commemorating Women's History Month, we reaffirm their dedication to fostering gender equity and empowering future generations of women leaders in higher education and beyond.

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 11:11 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    Happy Financial Literacy Month! In March 2004, the U.S. Senate designated April as Financial Literacy Month to raise awareness of the importance of financial education and establishing and maintaining smart money management habits. Key Considerations for a Solid Financial Plan, provided by Citizens, shares some important key tips on how to set clear financial goals for today and the future.

    NASFAA also provides 10 Tips for Financial Literacy Month that can be printed to be displayed in your office for students.

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 11:10 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    MSFAA's Executive Board for 2024-2025 includes:

    President-Elect Stephanie Petsch, Eastern Michigan University

    Vice President Christine Powell, Wayne State University

    Secretary Sarah Kasabian-Larson, Central Michigan University

    Two-Year Sector Linda Berlin, Northwestern Michigan College

    Four-Year Sector Nicole Boelk, Oakland University

    Associate Sector Michael Jones, Citizens

    Private Sector Julia Delagarza, Cranbrook Academy of Art

    Thank you to all of our elected officers for their commitment to MSFAA and partnership within our financial aid communities.  We appreciate your leadership!

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 10:01 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the 2024 MSFAA Annual Training as you Create Your Wheel.  What to expect:

    • Earn your NASFAA Credential in Consumer Information
    • Professional growth and training sessions include:
      • Challenges in staffing
      • FAFSA Simplification
      • Gainful Employment
      • Status Updates
      • SAP/R2T4/CPOS Regulations
      • Admissions, the Bursar and Registrar tracks and more...
    • Take part in a paddle auction to win generous gift baskets and donate to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Program
    • Stay at the beautiful Amway Grand Plaza or Hyatt Place
    • Network with colleagues and partners across Michigan as we support each other through the major changes for 2024-2025
    • Don't forget to invite your Bursar, Admissions and Registrar partners to register for the conference!
    Check out the links below for more information:

    Conference Registration

    Hotel Reservation

    Tentative Agenda and Guest Speakers

    MSFAA 2024 Conference Scholarship Application

    The MSFAA Board is offering scholarships to cover the cost of registration and lodging for the 2024 MSFAA Annual Training for individuals who would otherwise be unable to attend.  Use the link above to view more details and apply.  Deadline Friday, April 19, 2024.

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 9:59 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    What is coming around the corner for compliance?

    The compliance corner can help your office stay in the loop of important information and deadlines to proactively maintain compliance.

    The Gainful Employment regulation has returned in full force.  It is a mandate not just for for-profit schools but also for non-profit and public institutions.  Although some parts of it are still in the comments period of negotiated rule-making, schools should start gathering data as soon as possible.

    Why? Three reasons:

    1. The dates are not changing.  The comments period is for clarification of the data collection.
    2. The initial reporting period requires that data for award years prior to 2023-2024 be reported by July 31, 2024.
    3. Annual reporting requires us to report data from the 2023-2024 award year by October 1, 2024.

    This data gathering will require the institutional research department (if you have one), the registrar, finance, financial aid and other departments that maintain student data to work together.

    Don't get caught off guard.  Start having conversations now and building a team for this project.  This spring, NSLDS is sending out reports containing student data, which can help identify the programs and students we need to report on in July.  We will also receive a completer's list from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in July.

    The Association for Institutional Research held two very informative webinars recently on Gainful Employment.  Get your team together and be ready!

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 9:57 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    When there is so much change happening at once, it is hard to stay current with new FAFSA updates, challenges and resolved issues.  The information below is to help you and your staff "stay in the know" while helping students successfully submit their 2024-2025 FAFSAs.  

    FAFSA Completion Comparisons link

    Which high schools are your top feeder schools?  Are high school seniors getting their 2024-2025 FAFSA's submitted?  Take a minute to view FSA's Application Volume Report to compare FAFSA completion between 2023-2024 and 2024-2025.  What more can your office do to encourage 2024-2025 FAFSA completion at your local high schools?

    2024-2025 FAFSA Updates link

    Check the FAFSA Processing and Issue Alerts resource page regularly for the newest updates, alerts and solutions.

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 9:55 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    Consider these tips when helping students through the financial aid process.

    On phones: When helping a student or parent with a 2024-2025 FAFSA problem, consider turning the phone call into a virtual appointment.  By sending a google/zoom meeting invitation and asking them to join the meeting on the device they are using to complete their FAFSA, the student or parent can share their screen so you can watch what they are doing.  Problems can often be resolved with a second set of financial aid expert eyes. Still new to trouble-shooting 2024-2025 FAFSA issues?  This tip will help fine-tune your skills while helping a student in need!

    On Walk-ins: Students and parents who take the time to come into your office for help often prefer face-to-face assistance rather than over the phone.  They appreciate your help and the time you take with them, in person.  Consider thanking them for taking their time to get a better understanding and potentially avoiding multiple phone calls down the line.  Example: Thank you for coming in today.  I'm glad we had a chance to meet in person.

  • Tuesday, April 02, 2024 9:54 AM | Jill Tyus-Coates (Administrator)

    MSFAA FA 101's are training opportunities for newer financial aid staff to gain a stronger knowledge base in various financial aid topics such as SAP, Verification, Customer Service and Problem Resolution.  As MSFAA begins preparing for the next MSFAA FA 101 training sessions in October 2024, we would like to hear from you.  Please take a minute to complete the MSFAA FA 101 Survey so we can plan based on your financial aid staff's training needs.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 

Copyright © 2019 MSFAA. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software