2019 VASFAA Summer Conference


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Announcing Our Keynote! 

Dr. Andrew Rosenfeld






The Science of Happiness

Dr. Andrew Rosenfeld

Andrew Rosenfeld is a family psychiatrist at the Vermont Center for Children, Youth & Families at the University of Vermont Medical Center. He practices the Vermont Family Based Approach, promoting wellness in all families and offering evidence-based therapies and medication interventions where indicated. He teaches and supervises all levels of medical trainees and professionals and is the instructor for an undergraduate course on The Science of Happiness. The keynote session will describe the history of positive psychology and its holistic outlook on human well-being. Ancient wisdom will segue into modern psychology and the neuroscience underlying practical strategies that may help you to build well-being and resilience into your day-to-day life and your vocational mission.

Breakout AM 1

Rural Reality of TRiO in New England

Marti Kingsley & Martha McCaughin


Breakout AM 2

How to Advance in Financial Aid

Kristi Jovell


Breakout PM 1

Did the Graduates Graduate? Lessons and Reflections from a 4-year Follow Up on Vermont's High School Class of 2012

Robert Walsh & Wanda Arce

In 2014, VSAC issued a report on the aspirations of the Vermont High School Class of 2012. The following year, 2015, VSAC issued a report on the post-secondary enrollment of the Class of 2012. This third report looks at the Class of 2012 four years after high school graduation and describes the percentage of graduates who enrolled in post-secondary education, along with the percentage who attained a degree within four years. This report also discusses some of the factors associated with the timely completion of a degree. The study provides some encouraging data about the four-year graduation rates of matriculated members of the class as a whole. However, the data also reveals wide variation in the success rates between students from different socioeconomic groups and between students attending different institutions of higher education.

Breakout PM 2

Innovation & Retention Panel

Kristi Jovell & Cathy Diamond

Financial aid services can play a large role in student experience and consequently improve student retention at higher education institutions. Representatives from Champlain College and University of Vermont will discuss innovative student retention programs and practices.


The Eagle has Landed: VASFAA Mission Control


Mission/Purpose is a statement of why the organization exists, at the most meaningful level. At this 50th anniversary event, we will revisit VASFAA’s mission statement and the vision of our future as an organization.




General Session

State & Federal Updates

State Rep: TBD

Federal: Stephen Payne

Stephen Payne is the Assistant Director of Federal Relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), where he works primarily on the Association’s congressional advocacy and policy priorities. Stephen joined NASFAA in June 2015, and he is a graduate of Penn State University where he studied education policy. Stephen was a member of the TEACH Grant subcommittee as part of the 2019 Department of Education negotiated rulemaking. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), the nation’s oldest and largest coalition of education associations.

Breakout AM 1

What you need to know about 2018 Tax Reform and Changes to Verification

Matt Desorgher

Congress passed the largest piece of tax reform legislation in more than three decades, effective January 1, 2018. The bill will affect the taxes of most taxpayers for the 2018 tax year. So what changed and how does this impact Financial Aid? This session will address the 2018 Tax Reform Bill as well as updates to the verification process for 2019-2020. 

Breakout AM 2

How to Make Student Communications Stick

Mark McGinnis

Communicating effectively with students is really hard to do. It’s a crowded, noisy world with everyone vying for attention and time. In fact, 2.6 million emails are sent every second. How do you break through? This session will provide information and recommendations for effective communications with students.

Breakout PM 1

Advance VT: Working Together to Increase Post secondary Attainment

Tom Cheney

Formerly known as 70x2025, this session will bring more in depth knowledge about the State initiative to advance the civic and economic vitality of Vermont by growing the number of Vermonters with degrees and credentials, increasing equity in educational attainment, and strengthening connections between education, training and employment.

Breakout PM 2

Developing Innovation in Staff or Getting Your Ideas Heard

Marie Johnson

This session will introduce a model to be used by individuals that have ideas but they may not be fully formed, vetted by key stakeholders, etc. Too often when ideas are not adopted, individuals can become frustrated, disengaged and lose interest in coming up with new ideas. Budgets are tight everywhere and we need to leverage the knowledge and talents of those around us to find more effective and efficient ways of accomplishing our work. Bring with you real problems that we can work through together utilizing this framework.