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The Higher Education Assistance Group, Inc. (HEAG) provides financial aid consulting services to colleges, universities and proprietary institutions throughout the country. Our consultants have spent decades in the field working in all aspects of financial aid and higher education administration.

For more information on how we can assist your school with compliance, file review and verification, temporary financial aid staffing, organizational structure or other special projects, please contact HEAG at info@heag.us or 617-928-1975.

Our Executive Staff:

Milton L. Kerstein

President
 
mkerstein@heag.us

Milton Kerstein has extensive credentials in the field of Financial Aid. He has more than 30 years experience in financial aid where he held several positions within the Massachusetts’ university and post-secondary system. In 1989, he founded The Higher Education Assistance Group, Inc. and is President. In addition, he is a member of several professional organizations such as the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA). Mr. Kerstein has been an invited presenter at many professional conferences dealing with higher education.

Karyn Wright-Moore

Vice President of Compliance and Quality Assurance
 
kwrightmoore@heag.us

Karyn Wright-Moore’s career spans more than 25 years as a Higher Education Professional, with expertise in areas affecting the compliant delivery of Federal Student Aid Programs. Karyn started her career in Higher Education in 1985 as an Entry Level Financial Aid Counselor while attending college in Los Angeles, CA. After earning her degree (with help from a part-time job in Financial Aid) and working in Financial Aid for 12 years, she married and moved to New Jersey to continue her career. Karyn has successfully served as Director of Financial Aid, Campus Executive Director, Compliance Officer, Vice Presidents of Financial Aid and Operations and finally, Higher Education Consultant.

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More importantly, she has maintained her functional level knowledge and expertise, most often preferring to base operations at the campus level to support and mentor Financial Aid staff, students and their families. Karyn has worked in public, private, proprietary and non-profit institutions. She has been the Financial Aid Subject Matter Expert for implementation and/or upgrade initiatives for the four most popular SIS systems; Banner, PeopleSoft, CampusView and Datatel. She describes her passion for Financial Aid as “designing solutions to master the perfect moving target”. Karyn joined the HEAG team in September, 2013.

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Karen Van Dyne

Director of Business Affairs
 
kvandyne@heag.us

Karen Van Dyne is a seasoned leader in higher education administration with a passion for access to education for learners of all backgrounds. With over two decades of experience in student affairs and financial aid, Karen has dedicated her career to ensuring that every student has a chance to succeed. Her areas of expertise include all Title IV, Title IX, ADA/504, and Clery Act compliance requirements and best practices. In her last position, Karen shaped institutional policies and created departments that fostered inclusivity and accessibility. A passionate advocate for her students, Karen has earned recognition from her colleagues as a champion for educational equity.

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As a dedicated educator, Karen is also a mentor to aspiring higher education leaders, guiding them in navigating the complex intersection of financial aid, administration, and student services. She believes in cultivating a network of professionals committed to advancing educational opportunities for all, regardless of financial barriers.

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Amanda Manuel

Quality Assurance Specialist and Client Liaison
 
amanuell@heag.us

Amanda Manuel is a Financial Aid Professional with 20 years of experience within the industry. She began her financial aid career in 1999 as a federal work study student while working on completing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. In 2001, upon completion of her degree, she became a Financial Aid Administrator offering guidance and counseling to students and families. Throughout her professional career, Amanda worked her way up and has served as both the Associate and Director of Financial Aid at a private institution. Her System of Record strength lies in years of utilizing PeopleSoft.

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She is an honored recipient of the Presidential Award for Making a Difference in Student lives, a customer service award from New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success Award for Excellence in Student Services. Her hard work and ability to learn quickly has made her a major asset within an organization. She has enjoyed utilizing her knowledge of financial aid to provide students and families’ quality service that helps retain and support students up through graduation

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Krystyna Dias

Internal Operations Coordinator
 
kdias@heag.us

Krystyna has over ten years delivering outstanding customer service to students and parents. Since joining HEAG in 2021 as an Associate Intake Coordinator, she has moved into the role of Internal Operations Coordinator. She is passionate about helping clients find the right solution to their problems. Her career began in healthcare where she coordinated patient care with healthcare professionals. Krystyna moved on to education as a Student Information Coordinator for a large school district where she managed a $22M budget for the district’s Special Education Department. She coordinated professional customer service for 5,500 special education students and responded to corresponding inquiries from parents, administration, state organizations, vendors, evaluators, outside districts, and attorneys at all levels. As the Student Information Coordinator, Krystyna maintained files providing state assistance to the district for high-cost special needs students, including accounting for LEA, private programs, collaboratives, and the detailed data accompanying individual students.

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Krystyna is proficient in computer-based tools including spreadsheets, project management software, and enterprise resource planning systems. With more than ten years’ experience in office management, she has expertise in payroll, human resources, finance, communications, procurement, and accounts payable. In addition, she is a member of the NASFAA. Krystyna holds a Bachelor of Science in Business majoring in Operations Management and a minor in Psychology from Bay Path University. As a mother of three children, she enjoys spending time with her family.

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Our Consultants:

Tamyka Abercrombie

Tamyka (Tammy) Abercrombie is a dedicated Financial Aid Professional with 20 years of experience delivering outstanding service to students. She began her career as an Enrollment/ Registrar Specialist working in the private, not-for-profit sector. In 2001, she moved into the financial aid department as a Loan Coordinator for Federal Stafford and Private Loans and ultimately climbed the ladder to become the Director of Student Financial Aid. She has worked at private, non-profit colleges, as well as a hospital-based RN diploma program. She has experience in all aspects of the administration of financial aid including federal, state, and institutional. Her experience includes verification, awarding, disbursements, R2T4, reconciliation, SAP, VA Education, and compliance with regulations and coordination of G5 drawdowns. She is well versed in providing counseling to students and families on financial aid applications, 529 Savings plans, awards, and payment options. She specializes in many of The Department of Education’s government sites including NSLDS, G5, FAA access and COD. She also has some experience with several software platforms including EdConnect, PeopleSoft, and Banner (Ellucian). She is an active member of PASFAA and EASFAA.

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Tamyka possesses a B.A, in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership from Geneva College. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA and during her free time, enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. She also enjoys taking walks, baking, and attending sporting events.

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Olker Alva

Olker Alva has extensive experience in all areas of Student Financial Services, including Director of Financial Aid, Director of Student Accounts, Director of Veteran Services, Central Processing Specialist, and Financial Aid Administrator. In addition to having an MBA and an MSE, he has in-depth knowledge of what it takes for an institution to remain compliant, increase enrollments, and achieve success. Olker’s expertise includes Best Practices, Programmatic Accreditation, State and Federal Aid, Veteran Administration, Recruiting, Onboarding, and Training. In previous institutions, he has been recognized as a critical contributor to student retention and student success.

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He developed and implemented a plan to reduce expenditures and improve compliance in Student Financial Services, as well as increase collections and set metrics for the department. Through the implementation of this plan, Olker was able to collect approximately $2,000,000 in past-due balances and to increase student payments by approximately $1,000,000 in 2023. By filling ten positions across multiple departments, he enhanced collaboration and increased the number of new students enrolled at the university. In addition to reporting and auditing at all levels, he is a member of The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Olker is familiar with CampusNexus, Anthology, Regent, Stars, Ellucian, and PeopleSoft

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Lisa Andrews

Lisa is a financial aid professional with seven years of experience in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Florida State University and a Master of Science in Sport Management from the University of Southern Mississippi.

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She began her career working as a financial aid representative at a community college advising and counseling students while learning about the financial aid profession. She then moved on to a large private not-for-profit university as an Assistant Director. Her areas of expertise are Federal and Private loan certification and disbursement, Intuitional and Federal Verification and process training. She has experience working with Title IV programs, Federal and Private loan certification and origination, award packaging, disbursement, verification, institutional review, exit counseling and Federal Community Service. Lisa has experience with PowerFAIDS, Great Lakes, College Board/IDOCs and ECM Perceptive Content, as well as many federal systems like NSLDS, COD, CPS, and EDConnect.

She is an active member of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (PASFAA) and National Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). In her free time, she loves to travel and spend time with family and friends. She also enjoys attending concerts and sporting events.

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Marie Annylusse

Marie has over 13 years of experience in the financial aid industry, and she has developed a deep understanding and expertise in this field. At the University of Massachusetts Lowell, she was a work-study student pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice while completing her bachelor’s degree. Upon graduating from college, she began working for Cambridge College as a Financial Aid Administrator. After graduating from college, Marie began working at Cambridge College as a Financial Aid Administrator. In addition to learning how to award and package undergraduate and graduate financial aid, Marie participated in NASFAA University trainings and attended trainings through PowerFAIDS, NAFSSA, and FSA.

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Marie has extensive experience working with traditional and non-traditional students, not-for-profit and private institutions, credit hours institutions, certifying Massachusetts State Grants, certifying alternative loans on ElmOne, sending and pulling in ISIR corrections, pell grant reconciliation, disbursing all aid, working with third party billing organizations, and the VA. Her system records are PowerFAIDS, Workday, Jenzabar, ED Connect, College Board, FSA, and COD.

Marie holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice as well as a master’s degree in management and Higher Education Administration. As a financial aid expert, she stays abreast of the latest trends and best practices in order to ensure that her team and institution are always providing exceptional financial aid services and support. As well as running her hair line business on the side, Marie enjoys spending time with her non-verbal autistic daughter.

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Danielle Basile

Danielle Basile is a dedicated Financial Aid Professional with 18 years of experience delivering outstanding service to students. She began her financial aid career in 2002 as a Financial Aid Counselor and has worked her way up to serving as a Vice President of Financial Aid.Through these various roles and professional opportunities, Danielle has gained a unique technical and organizational knowledge of student financial aid programs working in multiple term structures including standard academic year, non- standard terms, and clock hours.

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Working at both private for profit and non-profit schools, she has been responsible for compliance and administration of Pell, Direct Loans, FSEOG, FWS, NCAA athletics, institutional and outside scholarships, private loans, as well as multiple state grant programs.

Danielle thrives in helping schools navigate unique and challenging financial aid situations including rectifying complex compliance issues, removal from Heightened Cash Monitoring, and leading through institutional closures. Throughout her career, she has been recognized for her thorough compliance, clear and consistent communication, collaborative solutions, interdepartmental & stakeholder relationship building, innovative strategic planning abilities, and development of efficient and capable financial aid departments and staff.

Danielle earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.

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Simona Brinson

Simona Brinson has 19 years of experience in the administration of federal student aid across diverse academic institutions. She has extensive experience in optimizing organizational effectiveness and building strong relationships. Throughout her career, she has served in a variety of roles, including Financial Aid Advisor, Quality Assurance Specialist, Bursar, and Trainer, as well as Account Manager, where she led teams to deliver exceptional customer service to clients.

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Simona brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her role. Her expertise includes processing verification, reconciliation, professional judgments, awarding, disbursement, work-study, VA, transfer monitoring, and Return to Title IVThroughout her career, she has adeptly assisted a broad spectrum of students, ranging from traditional undergraduates to non-traditional, veteran, graduate, and doctoral students, ensuring their financial needs are met effectively. She is also proficient in various database and imaging systems, including PeopleSoft, Banner, Financier, Campus Nexus, Workday, TouchNet, Datatel/Colleague, PowerFAIDS, Jenzabar, Regent, CampusVue, CAMS, ImageNow, WebNow, OnBase.

With a Master of Business Administration specializing in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in Management specializing in Information Systems, Simona’s expertise and dedication make them a valuable asset in any educational setting.

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Keturah Brown

Keturah has thirty years of experience in Higher Education. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Human Resource Management. She started her career in Higher Education at Howard University. While at Howard, she worked as a phone operator, data entry clerk and a Financial Aid counselor. After leaving Howard University she worked with for-profit education, State/Private universities as well as Community Colleges.

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Keturah has twenty years of experience processing federal verification following the compliance guidelines set forth by the U. S. Department of Education and university policies and procedures. She has experience with the Perkins Loan program, Teach Grants, the Federal Work Study program, scholarships, state grants, satisfactory academic progress, and various other financial aid processes. She also has experience with Student Orientation. Throughout her career, she has utilized various Student Information Systems, including but not limited to, PeopleSoft, Banner, and CampusVue.

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Jay Burgess

Jay is a highly experienced Financial Aid professional and Revenue Data Scientist with over fifteen years of experience in the field. He holds a Master of Education from Loyola Marymount University and a Master of Data Science from Eastern University. Throughout his career, Jay has been instrumental in creating, implementing, and leading financial aid projects in various academic institutions while leveraging his data science expertise to drive revenue growth.

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As a revenue data scientist, Jay has employed advanced analytical techniques to uncover trends, patterns, and strategies for admission outreach, significantly improving these institutions’ financial aid programs. His work has reduced error reporting by 26.5% and the design and execution of enrollment strategies that resulted in a 27% increase in enrollment. These achievements have translated into more than $500,000 in revenue savings for the institutions he has worked with.

Jay’s expertise in various software and platforms, including Banner, PowerFAIDS, Colleague, Peoplesoft, Oracle, and Anthology, allows him to develop data-driven solutions that streamline financial aid processes and optimize resources. In addition, his experience in education and data science ensures that he can provide a comprehensive approach to managing financial assistance and revenue growth, making him a valuable asset to any academic institution looking to improve its financial aid programs and overall enrollment strategies.

By leveraging his skills as a revenue data scientist, Jay can significantly impact an organization’s bottom line and drive sustainable growth, ensuring that institutions can continue providing quality education and opportunities to their students.

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Michael Campbell

Michael Campbell began his work in higher education as a graduate assistant in 1988 at Northwestern University. Since earning a PhD in 1994, he has worked almost exclusively in financial aid, but has also served as Director of Graduate Admissions, Interim Dean, and Vice President of Compliance. He has earned all 17 credentials from NASFAA-U, served as an adjunct instructor for NASFAA-U, and recently earned the FAAC® designation from the NASFAA Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program.

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Most of his work has been in smaller, private, not-for-profit schools, largely at the Director level, though he has also worked in the public and for-profit sectors. In his consulting roles he has worked on several Program Reviews, and much of his work in the last decade has been “clean up” work. He has served primarily in the MASFAA region, and his focus is largely on financial aid compliance. He lives with his wife in north central Ohio, and they have two adult daughters. He enjoys baseball, college football, reading, and playing the tuba.

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Dr. Samuel O. Chukwuemeka (Chuks)

Samuel began his financial aid administration career in 1988 as Director of Financial Aid at DeKalb Technical College, Clarkston Georgia (now Georgia Piedmont Technical College). After completing seven years at DeKalb Technical College, he accepted employment as Director of Financial Aid at Faulkner State Community College, Bay Minette Alabama (now Coastal Alabama Community College) in 1996. 14 years later, he accepted employment as Manager of Financial Aid at Bishop State Community College, Mobile Alabama. At the time of taking over the financial aid leadership at Bishop State Community College, the College was under the Heightened Cash Monitoring Payment Method (HCM2), and was also under “Provisional Approval” with the U.S. Dept. of Education to participate in Title IV, HEA programs, due to significant program review findings and sanctions. In less than 2 years, and under his leadership, Bishop State College was removed from the HCM2 Payment Method, and placed on the Advanced Payment Method. The College also received full Approval from the U.S. Dept. of Education to continue participation in the Title IV, HEA programs.

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He has successfully led 3 Colleges through accreditation reaffirmation, State audits, and 3 federal Program Reviews. He retired in July, 1, 2019, after a successful 31 year career as a financial aid administrator. Upon retirement, he is still engaged in the financial aid industry as Financial Aid Consultant, and has assisted a University to respond to significant program review findings, and a military College to setup a HCM2 process.
Samuel earned both the Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1985 and the Master of Business Administration degree in 1988 from the University of Oklahoma. In 2004, he earned the Doctor of Education degree in Educational Management /Administrative Studies from the University of West Florida.
He has expert experience working with the College Board PowerFAIDS system, and significant experience working with EDExpress, EDConnect, NSLDS, COD Online, E-Apps, FISAP, and VA Once.

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Jessica Cintron

Jessica Cintron is a dedicated Financial Aid professional with over thirteen years’ experience working in higher education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She started her financial aid career as a Financial Aid Assistant and moved her way up to a Financial Aid Manager where she acquired a variety of skills and experience. Her

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Her experience includes all aspects of compliance and administration of Federal Direct and private loans, particularly awarding, disbursement, verification, R2T4, SAP and reconciliation. Her experience with software systems includes Colleague, COD, NSLDS, and CPS.

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Heather Clark

Heather has over fifteen years’ experience in the financial aid field. She has always wanted to make a difference in the world and has grown a passion for helping student achieve their educational goals, especially when it may be a student’s last chance to go to school. She started as a financial customer service officer, helping counselors assist students for Jackson State University.

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Her love for the industry grew as she became a student finance specialist in the bursar’s office. Shortly thereafter, she was promoted to the position of associate director of financial aid. Heather continued in the role of associate director of financial aid in other institutions after Jackson State University closed . Heather has experience in CampusVue, Banner, and Broadleaf.

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Shaundia Comrie


Shaundia is an esteemed financial aid professional with over 18 years in higher education experience, working at both private and public institutions. She began her career in 2003 as a Federal Work Study student, working her way up to a financial aid administrator after earning her Associates degree in Business Administration. Shaundia later earned her Bachelors’ degree in Business Administration Management while being promoted to various leadership positions as an Assistant director, Associate director and Director of financial aid. She has strong knowledge base in federal programs, federal compliance, administrative processes and her software systems experience includes PeopleSoft, Powerfaids and Colleague as well as federal systems such as NSLDS, COD and FAA Access to CPS. In addition to providing students and families with excellent customer service, Shaundia is well versed in financial aid processes such as Verification, Professional Judgments, SAR Comment codes, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Student loans and FAFSA completion.

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Shaundia also has solid background working collaboratively with other departments in enrollment management such as Admissions, Bursar, Advising and Registrar. Some of her responsibilities include creating and implementing office frontline operations and procedures, hiring and training new financial aid professionals and mentoring department team members and she has also served as a member on many student success committees. Shaundia is an exceptionally dedicated professional committed to supporting students throughout their educational journey

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Lititia Cooley

Lititia Cooley, known to her colleagues as “Tia”, has been working in financial aid for over 20 years. She was introduced to the world of financial aid after attending an information session while temping at Chubb Computers Service. Right away she knew financial aid would be a good fit for her and shortly after, she started her career as a Financial Aid Administrator for The Chubb Institute.

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Her ability to learn quickly took her from an administrator to a supervisor during her 8 years at Chubb. She continued in the industry to hold National Director level and Regional Director level positions working for Berkeley College and Lincoln Technical Institute.

Tia is very knowledgeable in financial aid regulations, compliance, and various financial aid software systems such as CampusVue/CampusNexus, PeopleSoft, Banner, and PowerFAIDS. She believes that doing it right the first time minimizes errors, fosters a productive environment, and leads to successful compliance audits. Her ability to train and manage Title IV funds once lead her to have her home base campus dubbed, “the training hub.” As a consultant, she enjoys being able to use her knowledge and experience to be of service and support anywhere!

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Tracy Craven

Tracy Craven is an accomplished financial aid executive with over 20 years of experience in the field. Tracy holds a BS in Communication, and a Masters in Organizational Management from Regis University. Having worked in both the private and public education sector her entire career, she is an expert in all aspects of being compliant with Title IV along with submitting new program approvals and updates in e-Application when necessary.

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In her current role as Director of Financial Aid and Military Services she currently leads a geographically dispersed team and has delivered flawless FSA (Federal Student Aid), and OAE (Office of Inspector General Office of Audits and Evaluations) over her tenure. Tracy also currently sits as a membership chair of CAFAA (Colorado Association of Financial Aid Administrators).

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Jabari Cummings

Jabari Cummings is a Financial Aid professional with 14 years in the industry. From a Scholarships and Grants Coordinator, to FA Counselor, to Assistant Director duties, his roles and knowledge in this field have evolved and adapted with the changes in the FA environment. Jabari recently spent 5 years as a Financial Aid Consultant with various consulting agencies performing an array of different tasks, based on the needs of the particular clients.

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He has been involved in Verification review, R2T4 completion, NSLDS Reporting, SSCR Reporting, Coordinating and Managing Orientation processes, FA Counselor reviews, and hiring processes for new staff within the FA department. Jabari possesses a B.S. in Mathematics with a background in teaching middle and high school mathematics and tutoring in math and science from grades K-12. “My passion is to educate students and clients in a way that is easy to understand, applicable to their environment, and leads them to optimize their processes to achieve better results by the time our engagement has ended.”

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Louanne Dodge

Louanne has 24 years of experience in Higher Education as a Systems Analyst. Louanne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Forest Engineering from the University of Maine and a Master’s in International Administration from the School for International Training.

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She worked at World Learning in Vermont as a member of the Information Technology Department where she supported all student-centered departments using Datatel. Most recently Louanne has provided technical support as a member of the Student Financial Services team at Smith College. She was instrumental in the transition from Banner to PowerFAIDS and provided expertise in maintaining and improving the efficient functioning of all modules. Louanne has experience with College Board/IDOC, EDConnect, Cognos Reports, Perceptive Content.

She has travelled to many interesting destinations, and lived and worked in Tanzania and Switzerland. Louanne enjoys solving puzzles which serves her well in her work.

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Charlena Drayton

Charlena Drayton has over 10 years of Financial Aid experience. She started on this path as a Student Finance Coordinator/Financial Planner at Virginia College, moving on to increase and broaden her knowledge at the Prince Institute and Independence University. She takes pride in providing excellent customer service and explaining the complex financial aid process to students and their families so they understand.

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As a Financial Aid specialist, Charlena’s experience includes Title IV programs, packaging/repacks, R2T4, stipend requests, and yearly file reviews with the Department of Education. She is knowledgeable of eligibility limits and federal and state compliance rules and regulations. Her experience at several universities has equipped her to work in various software packages including Campus Vue, Campus Nexus, FAME, AR Manager, Salesforce and Five 9.

Charlena has trained incoming staff and is comfortable working with students both remotely and in-person. She works efficiently, exceeding monthly quota standards and has experience in collections of installment payments as well as posting funds on student’s ledger cards. In addition, she has supervised accounts payable/receivable and bank reconcilements.

Charlena holds both an Associate of Science degree in Business Administration from Ashford University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Troy State University of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Sherily Elliott-Caines

Sherily Elliott-Caines has 19 years of experience in higher education, providing leadership qualities in staff training and development. She spent several years successfully working in various departments such as admissions, registrar, graduation, and records management to provide outstanding service. Sherily began her higher education and financial aid career in 1999 when she relocated from the U.S. Virgin Islands. She started as a Registrar and Financial Aid Administrative Assistant at Oglethorpe University. Her ability to adapt and learn quickly earned her a promotion to Financial Aid Advisor 6 months later.

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During her years in the financial aid department, Sherily performed assessments to determine students’ financial eligibility, reviewed applications to ensure accuracy, requested missing documentation, monitored enrollment to determine SAP. Sherily’s core strengths are verification review, customer service, SAP, VA certification assistance, and enrollment retention. She is familiar with financial aid regulations, PeopleSoft, Ellucian/Banner, and Slate. Sherily states, “The most rewarding feeling is knowing a graduate achieve their goal and I assisted in some way.”

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Jeff Engle

Jeff Engle is a Financial Aid professional with over twelve years of experience in higher education. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Wilmington College (Ohio) and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Liberty University. He began his career as a Financial Aid Advisor specializing in awarding and disbursement of Federal Direct and private student loans as well as coordinating the college’s default management plan.

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Jeff Engle is a Financial Aid professional with over twelve years of experience in higher education. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Wilmington College (Ohio) and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Liberty University. He began his career as a Financial Aid Advisor specializing in awarding and disbursement of Federal Direct and private student loans as well as coordinating the college’s default management plan.

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Brenda Gamboa


Brenda Gamboa, Financial Aid Officer/Counselor, was born and raised in Southern California. She graduated from California State University Fullerton, majoring in child and adolescent studies. She has been involved in higher education for 10 years, and her experience ranges from private colleges, vocational, to four-year public universities.

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Brenda started her career as a Student Default Prevention Analyst, then soon after became a Financial Aid Officer/Counselor. Brenda has experience with several software platforms including CampusVue, SaintDirector, PowerFAIDS, PeopleSoft, ED Connect, Colleague, ELM, CPS, NSLDS, COD, and ImageNow. Brenda has been part of many workshop campaigns directed towards students, faculty, and staff. Examples of the workshops: Financial Aid Literacy, Financial Aid for Graduates, Income Appeals, What is SAP?, and How to Maintain Financial Aid.
Brenda has been part of federal and state audits where there were zero findings. She has worked with a vast number of diverse students: Traditional, Non-traditional, Veteran’s, Undergraduates, Graduates and Doctoral students. She has experience working with Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals, Professional Judgment Appeals, dependency overrides, budget appeals, verification, reconciliation, disenrollment, awarding, and disbursing. Brenda also has management experience, serving as Interim Director of Financial Aid during a medical emergency where she proved her leadership skills and demonstrated her ability to lead by example and had her team meet their packaging goals.

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Crystal Gary

Crystal Gary (Crys) is known for her robust laugh and contagious smile. Her laughter and smile helped her colleagues get through the long days and nights of processing financial aid during peak times.

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Crys has over twelve years of higher education experience. She began her career as a Financial Aid Clerk and progressed to a Financial Aid Specialist. Specifically, Crys was responsible for verifications, processing students’ eligibility with federal and state programs such as PELL, SEOG, Federal Work-study, Tennessee Promise, SAP, packaging students, the Hope Lottery scholarship and other financial aid functions. She was also coordinator of the Tennessee Educational Lottery Program. Remaining in compliance was at the top of mind for Crys; therefore, she stayed
abreast with federal/state rules and regulation by attending various trainings and conferences: FSA, TASFAA, NASFAA, SASFAA. With this knowledge She was tasked to train new employees and assist with implementing new policies and procedures. She was in charge of reviewing and making decisions on students’SAP appeals. Streamlining processes and procedures was equally important. To this end, she served on a committee charged with implementing the different verification worksheets for the financial Aid office.

She is familiar with Ellucian Banner 8 and 9 system, COD, NSLDS, e-Grands systems.

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Kristen Gast

Kristen Gast is a dedicated Financial Aid professional with over 17 years of expertise. Her primary goal is to provide comprehensive guidance to educational entities on managing financial aid effectively. With extensive experience working with community colleges, public and private institutions, she has developed a passion for helping schools maintain compliance and enhance their service delivery.

Throughout her career, She has honed her skills in identifying and addressing the complex financial needs of diverse student populations. She excels in supporting schools in maintaining compliance with federal regulations and enhancing their financial aid services to better serve students. Due to her extensive knowledge of financial aid administration, she is well positioned to provide insightful guidance and expert recommendations to assist institutions in achieving their financial aid goals.

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In her role as Director of Financial Aid for 14 years, Kristen has worked in institutions in the public, private and community college sectors . Kristen has been an active speaker at multiple financial aid conferences throughout her career and was nominated for a NASFAA gold star in 2018. Kristen has also been a member and volunteered for both state and regional financial aid administrator associations, including GASFAA, SASFAA, RMASFAA, OASFAA, RMASFAA, WYASFAA to name a few.

Kristen has experience working with all the Department of Education systems as well as BANNER and Colleague, Campuslogic systems such as Scholarship Universe, Student Forms and more.

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Dorothy Gilliard

Dorothy Gilliard is the Principal Consultant for FASNA LLC – Financial Aid Service and Need Analysis. FASNA LLC provides services to postsecondary institutions and individual families navigating through the college financial aid process. Previously she was employed for 20 years as the Vice President of Student Financial Services for the Lincoln Education Group, a National Education company that operated 43 trade and technical schools throughout the U.S. Prior to that she was Vice President of Education Finance for First Fidelity Bank, now known as Wells Fargo Bank.

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As an active member of both the New Jersey and National Associations of Financial Aid Administrators she has often served as a trainer and workshop leader at various venues throughout the Region. In addition, she works with the New Jersey Higher Education Assistance Authority (HESAA) to conduct financial aid and financial literacy workshops at NJ schools.

Dorothy holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and is a certified college planning specialist through the ACCFS (Association of Certified College Funding Specialists).

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Karen Gomez

Karen Gomez is a higher education professional with over 10 years of Financial Aid experience. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kean University and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Seton Hall University. Throughout her career, she has served as a Financial Aid Counselor, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, and most currently the Associate Director of Student Financial Services.

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She has enjoyed working in student financial aid for many years in both two-year and four-year public and private institutions. She has extensive knowledge of Title IV regulations and administration. She is familiar with several financial aid and enrollment management software systems, including Ellucian Banner, CampusVUE, Cognos Reports, ELM, VAONCE Veteran Educational Benefit software, and the U.S. Department of Education’s suite of applications such as COD, NSLDS, CPS. She has the capability to build the new year budgets, review financial aid processing rules in Banner and Colleague to allow for improved practices and efficiency. She has served in Professional Judgement and Merit-based Scholarship committees.

Karen is comfortable leading and training a team, creating, and providing financial aid literacy presentations. Her responsibilities have included maintaining and creating policies and procedures, overseeing the administration of all Title IV Aid to include Direct Loans, Pell Grant, and FWS. She also has experience managing the HPSL (Health Professions Student Loan) and Study Abroad programs, as well as performing R2T4, and certifying private loans via ELM or OpenNet. Her experience is mainly with private non-profit graduate institutions such as Medical and Law schools; and has knowledge with both quarter-term and non-term borrow based academic years.

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DeJanae’ Gray

DeJanae’ (known by her peers and students as DeJa), began her career in Financial Aid two years after graduating from Jackson State University. She was quickly promoted to a leadership role within the for-profit organization because of her superior customer service skills and dedication to learning. Her instant success in the field encouraged her to continue her education. Following her graduation from Belhaven University, DeJa obtained a master’s degree in public administration, focusing on public laws and policies in the public sector.

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Throughout her career in financial aid, DeJa has held titles such as Senior Financial Aid Officer, Student Finance Manager and Financial Aid Supervisor and has become an expert at ED Rules & Regulations/compliance, Campus Vue, COD, NSLDS, CPS, Title IV programs, and Clock-hour programs. She is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a mother of two little girls. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exercising, and spending quality time with her family.

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Ashlie Greene

Ashlie Greene is a higher education professional with over 21 years of Financial Aid experience. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California San Diego and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from National University. She is an active member of NASFAA earning her FAAC® Certified Financial Aid Administrator designation, in addition to numerous other credentials.
Throughout her career, she has served as a Financial Aid Counselor, Assistant Director, Associate Director and most currently the Director of Financial Aid and Compliance. She has extensive knowledge of Title IV regulations and has the strong ability to research, decipher and implement policies based on State and Federal Regulations. She has created, implemented and automated several policies to include Satisfactory Academic Progress, Federal Work Study and R2T4. Her responsibilities have included maintaining and creating policies and procedures, compliance, A-133 Audit and overseeing the administration of all Institutional Scholarships, State Aid and Title IV Aid to include Direct Loans, Pell Grant, FSEOG, FWS and TEACH Grant. Her experience is mainly with private non-profit University’s and has knowledge with both quarter-term and non-term borrow based academic years. She has experience working in PeopleSoft (to include set-up), Regent, COD, NSLDS, CPS and EdConnect.

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Her priority has always been the student experience and to provide leadership that focuses on delivering high student engagement and great transparency. Her passion is and has always been seeing students succeed and reach their educational goals.

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Angelina Guzman

Angelina has worked in the financial aid industry since 2009, beginning as a Financial Aid Specialist and rising to the Director of Financial Aid role. She has a passion for compliance and quality assurance while providing superior customer service. She is a results-oriented self-starter whose drive and sense of urgency are tempered and disciplined by her concern for the accuracy and quality of her work.

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Angelina’s approach to anything she does or is responsible for will be carefully thought out and based on analysis and detailed knowledge of all pertinent information. She is strong technically and confident in her professional knowledge with the ability to get things done quickly and correctly. Angelina has worked as a VA Certifying Official for over 10 years and has utilized financial aid systems of Gemcor, FAME, CampusVue and Banner. She has a proven track record of efficient and precise implementation of processes that foster an environment of increased production and measurable results

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Angie Harlow

Angie Harlow has 20 years of experience in higher education.  She began her financial aid career in 2001 as an Admissions and Financial Aid Administrative Assistant at Reinhardt University.   She then spent the next nine years climbing the ladder to ultimately become the Director of Student Financial Aid.  While working at Reinhardt University, she completed her Associates and Bachelors degrees in Business Administration.  She was also a member of NASFAA and GASFAA.

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Angie possesses extensive knowledge with PowerFAIDS and Jenzabar utilized in her daily operations while at Reinhardt U. Her consulting areas of focus in PowerFAIDS are communications, reporting, processing, data integration, and system set-up.  Angie’s core strengths are in customer service, policies and procedures, A-133 audits, verification, endowed scholarships, and enrollment management.

She served on a Student Operations Committee to assist in bringing all departments on campus together in new and returning student communications, system operations, and campus wide policies & procedures.  She was also head of a “Clearance” committee that assisted all students in having their documentation (for Admissions, Financial Aid, Business Office, and Registrar) taken care of before attending class and/or moving on campus.

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Andrew Harvey


Andrew has over 12 years of student financial aid experience. He maintains his Financial Aid Administrator Certified (FAAC) status granted by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Mr. Harvey is the Financial Aid Director at Garrett College in western Maryland where he rose through the ranks of the financial aid office. During his tenure at Garrett, Mr. Harvey implemented both the PowerFAIDS system and Jenzabar systems from Regent and CampusCafe respectively.

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Andrew is experienced with several financial aid software systems, including College Board PowerFAIDS, JenzabarOne and the U.S. Department of Education’s suite of applications and website for administering Federal Student Aid.

Andrew has been very active on many of the financial aid association’s committees. He was Chair of the Tri-State (DEDCMDASFAA) as well as serving on a plethora of other capacities including: Conference committee, Federal Relations Chair, Neophyte Committee among others since his entrance into financial aid. He has made countless presentations highlighted on his resume at a variety of conferences over the years. He also eats and breathes federal regulation (yes he is a bit of a political junkie). Andrew loves financial aid because no two days are ever the same.Andrew received his Bachelors of Science from Frostburg State University (Frostburg, Maryland) and Masters in Higher Education from Walden University (Minneapolis, MN).

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Dr. Erica Holmes

Erica began working in Financial Aid in 1994.  She has held several executive level positions in higher education including Dean, Provost, and Vice President with oversight of financial aid, accreditation, admissions, registration, enrollment management, curriculum, and compliance.  She has successfully led colleges through accreditation reaffirmations and compliance audits. 

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She is well versed in the administration of Title IV Student Financial Aid Programs and she has helped colleges resolve very complex situations related to financial aid policy and administration. She also led training sessions for faculty, staff, and board members. Her skills are diverse as she has worked with small colleges as well as large multi-college districts, community colleges, and proprietary schools in Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, and Arizona.  She has experience working in Banner, PeopleSoft, and Datatel Colleague.
Erica has an EDD in Education Leadership, MSA in Information Systems, MA in Theology, BS in Organizational Management, and AAS in General Studies.

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Darryl Jackson

Darryl is a resolute and dedicated higher education professional whose career includes over 23 years of service in various student financial aid and enrollment management positions at various institutions. In addition to Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Mathematics; Darryl also holds an MBA and Doctorate in Education. He began his career as a student loan default manager and has progressed with positional titles such as associate director, director, executive director, associate vice president and vice president. This includes serving at private, public, not for profit and for profit institutions; with particular expertise at institutions with historically underserved populations.

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Darryl’s background includes a high level of knowledge of the administration of various Title IV and institutional student aid programs. This includes competency with operating systems such as Colleague, Peoplesoft, Datatel, and advanced level expertise with Ellucian Banner. He also possesses proficiency in systems such as COD, NSLDS, FAA, SAIG and ELM. Darryl also has extensive knowledge of optimizing operational efficiency and analyzing and modeling business/ process flows. He is well versed in audit and compliance processes, accreditation reaffirmation as well as customer service, staff development and student recruitment and retention.

Darryl has served on various national, regional, and state boards and committees such as NASFAA legislative affairs committee, SASFAA Budget and Finance Committee, DOE minority institution advising task force, and the College Board HBCU advisory committee.

In his spare time Darryl enjoys jazz music, reading, sports and mentoring youth. His daily mantra is ‘Success is a journey, Not a destination’…

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Emily Jarrell

Emily is currently serving as Director of Financial Aid at Richmond Community College. As a Financial Aid Technician, she began her career in higher education in 2010. Over the course of her career, she has worked her way up to the level of Assistant Director and then Director of Financial Aid. Emily has worked in Datatel Colleague since 2010 and recently joined Banner. She obtained her FAAC certification in 2023 and is also a Veteran Certifying Official.

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Emily has been a member of the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NCASFAA) since 2010 and of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) since 2017. She is NCASFAA’s Treasurer Elect for 2023 and serves on the Colleague North Carolina System Office set up team. As a lifelong resident of North Carolina, Emily attended Appalachian State University in Boone. When not in the office you can find her spending time with her 4-legged fur children.

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Emmie Joyce


Emmie Joyce is a dedicated Financial Aid Professional with over 11 years of experience delivering outstanding customer service to students and parents. She found her passion working in financial aid during her management trainee position working in the private, for-profit sector. From there, she began working at Widener University as a Financial Aid Counselor and has worked her way up to Sr. Associate Director of Financial Aid. She has worked at private, non-profit traditional colleges, as well as health professions college including a medical college. She has experience in all aspects of the administration of financial aid including federal, state, and institutional. Her experience includes verification, awarding, disbursements, R2T4, SAP, reconciliation, FWS, and compliance and administration of all Federal aid, institutional, private loans, and the PA state programs.

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In her current position, she thrives at improving and automating processes within Banner. She has implemented multiple modules within Banner such as R2T4, FWS, Tuition building, and Exit Counseling processing. She has also automated packaging using SQL rules. Aside from Banner, she has utilized a variety of other software programs within higher education, including: Colleague, PowerFAIDS, and Jenzabar.

Emmie earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Business and a Master’s of Science in Higher Education degree.

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Eric King

Eric King has worked in Title IV financial aid administration since 1995. He is a native of Gilmer, Texas and a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in business administration degree specializing in Finance. He began his career as the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Jarvis Christian College. In the same institution, he obtained his first position as Director of Financial Aid.

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Eric possesses a wealth of experience in financial aid including FAFSA processing, verification, direct loan processing, state grants processing, default management, awarding, disbursing aid, professional judgment, reconciliations, A133 audit lead, R2T4, Title IV Recertification, NSLDS, COD processing, satisfactory academic progress monitoring, HCM2, SACS Committee lead, and policy and procedure writing and review.

Eric has worked for Jarvis Christian College (now University), Wiley College, and Southwestern Christian College (presently). He has also consulted for Fisk University, Tougaloo College, and Northeastern University.

Eric has experience with several software platforms including Powerfaids, Jenzabar, JFA, CampusVue, EdConnect, and POPULI.

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Colleen Klinefelter

Colleen Klinefelter has been in the financial aid field for 8 years. She began working in financial aid in 2014 with Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) as a loan counselor where she become well versed in repayment options, Pennsylvania grant programs, and title IV regulation and processes. She has since worked at multiple higher education institutions, as both financial aid counselor and financial aid specialist. In 2022, Colleen was named a Marquis Who’s Who in America Biographee.

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Having worked at both private non-for profit & public non-for profit schools, Colleen has been responsible for counseling parents and students through the financial aid process. She has overseen special programs such as state grants, importing and exporting to COD for items including master promissory notes, and entrance/exit counseling. She has experience in performing verification, calculating satisfactory academic progress, packaging student award offers, and processing professional judgement and change in financial circumstances.

Colleen is proficient in both PowerFaids and Ellucian Colleague. Colleen has a Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University in recreation, park, & tourism management.

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AnnMarie Kuchenreuther


AnnMarie Kuchenreuther is a Higher Education Professional with over 10 years of extensive experience in financial aid, counseling parents and students on how to fund their education. She is a compassionate leader and self-starter. She has a passion for
helping students, parents and staff understand the financial aid process and training financial aid professionals on current federal student aid regulations, state programs and scholarships and institutional policy. AnnMarie began her career in financial aid at a 4-year state college in 2012 as a Financial Aid Specialist and an Interim SAP Coordinator. She is currently the Assistant Director of Financial Aid and State Programs Coordinator at a private university that offers 4-year, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in healthcare.

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She has experience in many areas of financial aid such as verification, disbursement of federal, state, and institutional aid, state programs, reconciliation, R2T4, professional judgements, unusual enrollment history, dependency overrides, private loan certification, COA, and SAP. She also has experience with several financial aid software and federal systems: People Soft, PowerFAIDS, Net Partner, Campus Logic, Sonis, Cadence Mongoose, OnBase and NSLDS, COD and CPS. She is also the point of contact for internal troubleshooting of PowerFAIDS, Campus Logic in her current role.

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Sharon Locket


Sharon Lockett is a financial aid professional with over 20 years of experience in higher education. She has worked in various roles such as a Financial Aid Advisor, Student Accounts Manager, Director of Financial Aid, and a Remote Compliance Specialist. She specializes in compliance, awarding, verification, file review, professional judgement and conflicting information. She has institutional system knowledge with CampusVUE/CampusNexus, Anthology and Broadleaf.

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Sharon has spent several years in sr. leadership where she worked closely across departments like student enrollment, student affairs, student accounts and academics in order to enhance the student experience. She holds a Post-Master’s Certificate in I/O Psychology and a master’s in business administration. Sharon is currently an Assistant Director of Financial Aid at a private 4-year institution for the performing arts.

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Katelyn Ma

Katelyn is an enthusiastic financial aid professional with twelve years of experience working in higher education. She has concentrated her career in student financial services for the past ten years. She has experience with a variety of software systems, including Banner, PowerFAIDS, Webextender, EAB Navigate, and Salesforce. In addition to her work at private colleges, she has experience working with both residential students and graduate professionals.

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Her most recent experience has been working with nontraditional undergraduate students at a Massachusetts community college. Katelyn holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and studio art from Emmanuel College and a Master of Science in nonprofit management from Northeastern University.

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Daniel Matamoros

Daniel began his career in Financial Aid in 2015 working as a Financial Aid Advisor, and his innate curiosity and sincere care for students have propelled him to a variety of leadership roles in financial aid since. Continuously seeking hands-on experience, Daniel has had supervision roles over a multiplicity of programs, including verification, private and public loan certifications, special circumstance appeal processing, being the liaison for residence life and study abroad budget adjustments, outside scholarships, tuition benefit, NCAA Division I athletic awards, and corporate discount processing.

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Daniel has also assisted with the implementation of medical tuition-remission initiatives and has completed trainings on FSA programs and regulations for internal and external constituents, earning multiple NASFAA U Credentials including most recently the FAAC® designation.

Daniel prides himself on his ability to develop and execute comprehensive outreach and retention initiatives to bolster student engagement, rooted in serving first-generation and limited-income students. By becoming a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, Daniel has expanded his counseling and advising skills to include financial wellness and financial literacy, overseeing the curation and promotion of initiatives to best respond to the targeted needs of students experiencing acute financial hardship situations. Daniel has systems knowledge of PeopleSoft, DocFinity, EdConnect, ELM Resources, ECSI, COD, NSLDS, FAA Access, and SAIG. Daniel has also assisted in the preparation of major reports including FISAP, Common Origination Data, and other audit requests, and is excited to bring his experience to bear in support of all students.

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Sharetta McKenzie

Sharetta McKenzie is a distinguished executive professional with over twenty-five years of experience in the higher education industry. Her remarkable career has been marked by her exceptional ability to foster growth, drive profitability, and consistently achieve high-level results while upholding an unwavering commitment to delivering exemplary customer service. She is recognized as a dynamic and innovative leader who thrives as a strategic thought partner and trusted advisor to executive teams.

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Sharetta’s extensive expertise spans a range of critical areas, including financial aid and scholarship program planning, financial aid & VA regulations, compliance strategies, financial management, and budget oversight. Her skills extend to analytical problem-solving, negotiation, enrollment management, and accounts receivable leadership. With proficiency in financial reporting, forecasting, Title IV compliance, and auditing, she ensures the integrity and quality of student financial services operations.

Sharetta has held several key positions throughout her distinguished career, including Regional Director of Financial Aid, Corporate Director of Finance, and Dean of Student Central (one-stop shop).Her accomplishments extend beyond her leadership roles, as she has played a pivotal role in assisting multiple schools with re-affirmation accreditation, change of ownerships, program reviews, and state and federal audits, including VA audits, all with impeccable records of no findings.

One of Sharetta’s most significant achievements is her dedication to mentoring and developing staff members, many of whom now hold prominent positions in higher education. She remains a mentor to many, and they continue to reach out to her for guidance and support. Throughout Sharetta’s career, she has made significant contributions to the development of Standard Processes and Best Practices, further enhancing industry excellence and efficiency.

Sharetta thrives on challenges, and her high-energy approach to leadership is infectious, inspiring her teams to reach new heights. Her expertise extends to her in-depth knowledge of regulatory compliance, including FERPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and GAAP, which she skillfully incorporates into her roles to maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.

Sharetta McKenzie’s remarkable career reflects a profound commitment to excellence, integrity, and compliance, making her a valuable asset in the higher education landscape. As a visionary leader in the field, she has driven transformational change, streamlined operations, and consistently surpassed key performance indicators.

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Tysquan Meaders


Tysquan Meaders a Financial Aid professional with over 12 years in the industry. Humbly beginning as a Federal Work Study student, Tysquan continued to soar in the world of financial aid. He went from a Financial Aid Specialist to a Senior Financial Aid Counselor with a vast range of newly acquired skills & experience acquired over time. Tysquan has served in intricate financial aid roles across many institutions. He has worked in both the private and public education sectors throughout his career since earning his B.S in Business Administration/ Management. His passion in financial aid is transparent throughout the many roles he has served.

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He has worked in both the private and public education sectors throughout his career since earning his B.S in Business Administration/ Management. His passion in financial aid is transparent throughout the many roles he has served.

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Robert Merino


With over 25 years of experience, Robert Merino is an accomplished financial aid executive. After starting as a student assistant, he worked his way up to becoming a bookkeeper for the Financial Aid department. As he gained experience, he was promoted to the position of Financial Aid Counselor, Associate Director, Director, and Dean of Financial Aid. He has led significant organizational and system changes to comply with regulatory requirements. In addition, he has experience working with program reviews.

Robert possesses advanced technical skills. He was responsible for the implementation of the Banner Financial Aid module. In addition, he maintained the necessary releases and patches for Banner’s Financial Aid module.

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He is an active member of both local and state organizations. He was appointed to serve as President of the Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators for 2021-2022. He served as Chair of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Financial Aid Advisory Committee. In addition, he served as Chair of the Texas Guaranteed Center for Community Colleges Advisory Board.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Accounting, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems, and a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Management of Information Systems.

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Deven Messner

Deven Messner began his Financial Aid Career in 2017. He started by working directly with Customer Service at Kutztown University then transitioned into processing direct and private loans. Deven quickly grew in the Financial Aid field by becoming a financial aid counselor at Arcadia University and then being promoted to an Assistant Director at West Chester University. He has experience working at private, public, and community colleges. Deven loves assisting students and families through the Financial Aid Process and helping them secure the most opportunities that they can. Through the pandemic, he began to process a lot of professional judgement appeals. This is something that he feels very strongly about and continues to excel in.

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Having experienced vast student populations at different types of schools, Deven has learned a lot of different roles and functions within Financial Aid. He has worked with manual and automatic packaging, consortium agreements, study abroad, scholarships, dependency overrides, special condition appeals, sap appeals, and verification. Deven also has experience working with Military tuition assistance and VA awards. Deven is proficient in PeopleSoft and Ellucian Colleague. Deven has a Bachelor’s of Science from Kutztown University.

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Candace Miles

Candace Miles is a dedicated Financial Aid Professional with 13 years of experience delivering exceptional service to students. Candace is a Chicago native; she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Career & Organizational Studies and a Master’s Degree in Family Consumer Science at Eastern Illinois University. She began her career as a Financial Aid Specialist in 2009 and was promoted to the Assistant Director of Financial Aid in 2014.

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Candace has experience in all aspects of the administration of financial aid including federal, state and institutional. Her experience includes the FAFSA application process for the student, institutional verification, awarding and, disbursements of funds. Managing the Federal Work Stud program, performing Return of Title IV Funds calculations and processing, account reconciliations, Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluations, perform Professional Judgment, conduct Financial Literacy sessions, process Federal Direct and Private Loans. She is well versed in providing counseling to students and families on the various financial aid applications. She has strong knowledge and networking of community resources for disadvantaged populations.
She has experience working in the administrative software systems, Colleague (Ellucian product), including new year set up in FAMS and the Communication Management process. Candace specializes in the use of many of The Department of Education’s government sites including NSLDS, FAA on CPS access and COD as well as the Illinois state GAP access to administer the state student aid.

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LaVon Moffett


LaVon has over 20 years of experience. She started her career as an Admissions Advisor for a small family-owned Health Training Center in Dallas, TX. That is where she found her passion for delivering top tier customer service to students and parents. Her journey to Financial Aid was first introduced to her in 2004 while working in Admissions for a Barber College located in Dallas, TX. She moved her way up throughout the many facets of Financial Aid from Financial Aid Advisor to Director of Financial Aid, both in the private and public sectors. Lavon believes that there is no “I” in TEAM.

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LaVon has experience working in many different systems such as Powerfaids, PeopleSoft, Jenzabar and CampusVue. LaVon is proficient in government systems such as EdConnect, NSLDS, COD, CPS and FAAAccess.

Her priority has always been to train staff and implement operational procedures that support the thorough processing of financial aid for her team members and students.

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Craig Organek

Craig has been working in the field of financial aid since 1999 and has been employed by community colleges, public universities, and private liberal arts colleges. He earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in 2006.

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Among his responsibilities as a financial aid officer are review and verification of files, grant and loan administration, reconciliation, R2T4 processing, Satisfactory Academic Progress reporting, and writing reports for numerous surveys and data requests, including FISAP and CDS, the USNWR, IPEDS, etc. Craig has experience with COD, EdConnect, CollegeBoard IDOC, FAA Access, and NLSDS. Craig is most proficient in the use of PowerFAIDS technology and uses ARGOS as a supplement to PowerFAIDS.

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Kianna Page

Kianna began her career in Financial Aid, in 2017. Her education includes a master of business in administration finance. After beginning her career as a Financial Aid Advisor, She was promoted to Student Finance Analyst II and Financial Aid Consultant.. She retained her NASFAA Credential for Application Process and continues to collect her other NASFAA credentials.

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Kianna has experience with awarding and originations, verification and c-code clearance, professional judgment review, and implementing policies and procedures.

Kianna is an active member of NASFAA and specializes in NSLDS, COD, FAA, and IFAP. She has experience with Banner (Ellucian), SalesForce, and PeopleSoft.

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Yariela Perez

Yariela Perez started her financial aid career in 2004 as a Financial Aid Advisor and worked her way up to the Director role. She has 15 years of experience in the higher education industry and worked with financial aid, bursar and registrar offices; from student eligibility to state and federal compliance projects. Yariela has been responsible for the administration and compliance of funding Programs such as Pell, FSEOG, FWS, Direct Loans, Scholarships, VA benefits, private lending, 529 plans and California Grants. 

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She also has experience with private, for-profit and private non-profit institutions and has worked with different student information systems like CAMS Enterprise, PeopleSoft, PowerFAIDS and Campus Nexus. Yariela is proficient with government software and sites like EdConnect, COD, CPS, NSLDS, G5 and EZ-Audit. She is an active member of NASFAA, CASFAA, WASFAA and FINAID-L.

Yariela possesses a B. S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from a foreign country. She lives in the Golden State of California and when not at work, she enjoys nature walks. 

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John Perry

John is a highly experienced financial aid professional with over 20 years of experience in higher education enrollment management. His career began at Olivet Nazarene University’s Admissions Center, followed by serving as the Director of Financial Aid at Kankakee Community College. John’s leadership skills and strong work ethic allowed him to streamline processes and significantly reduce processing times for financial aid packages.

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Currently, John serves as the Executive Director of Financial Aid/Scholarships & Registration at Governors State University, where he has transformed the financial aid office into an efficient department that serves student needs while maintaining compliance with state and federal regulations. He has extensive experience with the Ellucian Colleague student information system, SAP Business Objects reporting software, Scholarship Universe, and various third-party systems.

John specializes in Pell and Direct Loan Reconciliation, FISAP completion and submission, over-award monitoring, annual Colleague setup, Satisfactory Academic Progress monitoring, Return of Title IV Funds calculations, and ECAR submissions. He has been the primary contact for financial aid in dealing with external auditors, Department of Education inquiries, and the State of Illinois grant programs. He holds a Master of Business Administration and a Doctorate in Education with a focus on ethical leadership.

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Justin Pichey

Justin has been in the financial aid profession for 13 years, serving in a variety of roles, including Director and Senior Director of Financial Aid. He has worked at different types of institutions including proprietary, community college, HBCUs, and private liberal arts college which gives him a unique background with a wide array of experience in working with various student populations. Justin has experience with several student information systems and financial aid software including Ellucian Colleague, PowerFaids, Jenzabar EX & J1, SONIS, and Jenzabar JFA.

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Justin has also served the greater financial aid community by participating on NASFAA taskforces and recently serving as the Vice President for the South Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SCASFAA).

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Fargeleh Quiwonkpa

Fargeleh began her higher education career in 2007 at Strayer University and has subsequently worked at Morgan State University, Laureate Education Inc, (Walden University, Kendall College, and University of St. Augustine), and Coppin State University. Fargeleh holds a Bachelor’s and master’s in business and a Master of Education with a concentration in Adult Learning from Strayer University.

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Manager. Her experiences include, but are not limited to Title IV Processing, State Grants and Scholarships, Customer Service, Technical Support, Training, and Academic/Student Support. She has experience working with PowerFAIDS, Banner, Salesforce, PeopleSoft, SFP, NSLDS, COD, Blackboard and Onyx.

She is a native of Liberia, West Africa and resides in Maryland.

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Tallya Reaux

Tallya Reaux is the Director of Financial Aid Operations at the University of Texas at San Antonio. With over 15 years of experience in financial aid and higher education, she has a wide range of expertise. During her previous positions, Tallya gained hands-on experience in financial aid and was able to apply analytical, technical, and customer service skills.

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She is passionate about financial aid and higher education with a focus on providing excellent customer service. She has experience with PeopleSoft and Banner as well as federal systems such as NSLDS, COD, and FAA Access to CPS. Tallya earned her bachelor’s degree in child development and master’s degree in public administration from Southern University and A&M College.

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Phyllis Reed

Phyllis has been working in the financial aid industry since 2008 for a small private college in Buffalo, New York. Previously, she served in HSBC bank’s education loan department for 13 years, servicing FFELP loans and supervising the telephone support center for quality assurance. During her career, she has held a variety of financial aid positions, including Financial Aid Technician, Financial Aid Counselor, and Assistant Director of Financial Aid.

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She is experienced in federal verification, satisfactory academic progress (SAP), award packaging, private loans, federal loans and adjustments, C code resolution, Importing and extraction of loan and grant files through the banner system from the SAIG mailbox.
Phyllis has experience in Banner, Argos, Hyperion, NSLDS, COD, SAIG, EdConnect, NYS HESC, Elm Resources, and SICAS, Microsoft Windows, Excel, Adobe Acrobat,
Phyllis has experience in Banner, Argos, Hyperion, NSLDS, COD, SAIG, EdConnect, NYS HESC, Elm Resources, and SICAS, Microsoft Windows, Excel, Adobe Acrobat,

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Clara Rosas

Clara Rosas has over eight years of experience delivering outstanding service to students and parents. She began her financial aid career in 2010 as Student Loan Default Prevention Specialist and later to a Student Financial Aid Advisor. During her time as a Student Loan Default Prevention Specialist, she minimized the school’s default rate by creating workshops and loan counseling.

Most of her work has been for profit schools, though she has also worked in the public sector. She has been responsible for compliance and administration of Pell, Direct Loans, Private Loans, in addition to multiple state grant programs.

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Her experience involves all aspects of financial aid administration including verification, reporting, compliance, reconciliation and default prevention management. She has experience with several software platforms including CampusVue, Loan tracker, PeopleSoft, as well as government software sites like COD, FAA Access to CPS & NSLDS.

She has enjoyed using her knowledge of financial aid to provide students and families quality service that helps to retain and support students all the way into graduation. During her free time, she enjoys spending the day with her husband and two children. She also enjoys baking and traveling.

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Roxanne Seymour

Roxanne Seymour has been a member of the financial aid industry for the past 22 years. She began her career as a Financial Aid Counselor at a small, two-year non-profit college, worked as an Operations Analyst at a large non-profit university and is currently employed as an Associate Director of Financial Aid at a health sciences institution.

Her background includes processing federal, institutional, and state aid for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs. Her experience includes providing exceptional customer service to students and their families, providing internal guidance and operational support to counselors and staff members, facilitating competitive award calculations for various degree programs, awarding, Federal Direct Loan Program, ELM, Return of Title IV, Satisfactory Academic Progress, service-oriented programs, creating policies and procedures manuals, reconciling data, creating reports, and preparing audit records. She assists with the deployment of a financial literacy course through the publication of electronic materials, coordinating debt management educational sessions, webinars, presentations, and podcasts. She co-authored two articles and co-presented nationally on deploying and interweaving a financial literacy program into a student’s curriculum.

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Her system experience includes ALEC, AMP, Blackboard, BPAMS, Canvas, Ellucian Datatel, EMPOWER, Federal Student Aid Programs (CPS, COD, NSLDS), Jenzabar, Peoplesoft, PowerFAIDS, Tableau, and Workday.

Roxanne received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Scranton. She also received a Master of Science in Higher Education at Marywood University. She is currently a third-year resident pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Wilkes University. Roxanne lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania with her husband, Phil, children, Kayla and Jeremy and two dogs, Maximus and Foto.

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Heather Shalley

PHeather is a highly experience financial aid professional with over 20 years of experience in higher education enrollment management. During the past year, she has served as front line customer service to the Vice President of Enrollment Management. The various roles have given her a wide range of experience in not only financial aid policy and procedures, to programming automation, and even has experience in the servicing of loans, they also allow her to understand how all the offices need to work together to create the strongest teams to be success in the competitive environment.

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Heather has experience in customer service, verification, R2T4 calculations, reconciliations, ECAR/PPA updates, FISAP completion, institutional aid policies, and revenue forecasting. Her various roles have allowed her to streamline processes and ensure that offices are using the systems to the best of their abilities in order to maintain consistency and efficiency in order to provide timely and accurate information to students. She has experience in PowerFAIDS, PeopleSoft, and Anthology.
Heather holds a Master’s in Higher Education Administration and a Doctoral degree in Education Leadership and Management.

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Jennifer Tonneson Sherman

Jennifer has 20 plus years experience in higher education at for-profit, non-profit and municipal colleges, ranging in budgets from $10 – $50+ million revenues. With extensive experience in budgeting, forecasting, financial reporting, strategic planning, cash management, reconciliation, Jennifer can bring assistance to long and short term operational projects.

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With a broad background in management, union negotiation, and process improvement, Jennifer can look at mission-critical functions and departments and help institutions operate more effectively and efficiently, adding to their profitability and sustainability. In addition, as an experienced college professor (finance, accounting, management and economics), Jennifer can provide training for staff and board members. Jennifer holds a BA in accounting from Northeastern University, Masters in Finance from Suffolk University, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Organizational Development from Suffolk University and she is currently pursuing a PhD in Organizations and Management from Capella University.

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Lynsey Shipman

Lynsey Shipman has worked in financial aid for twenty-three years, beginning in 1997 with a 3rd party financial aid processing servicer. She gained experience working on federal verification, cash management, R2T4 and Cost of Attendance budgets.

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Lynsey then applied that experience at for-profit, clock hour schools, as a servicer while overseeing the daily running of three departments including award processing, R2T4 and budgets. She progressed to a management position by learning all aspects of processing including policies & procedures, changes for standard term, non-standard term (including modules), quarter credit and semester credit, non-term schools. She has experience using various software systems including Campus Vue, Quicken and ED Express.

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Avena Singh

Avena has extensive experience in financial aid as well as a solid background in information technology. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in information technology, Avena holds a master’s degree in business administration. She has worked in the community college sector for over twenty-eight years. She has held several financial aid positions throughout her career, including Financial Aid Evaluator, Financial Aid Technician, Director of Financial Aid, and currently Dean of Financial Aid and Registration Services.

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Avena has over 11 years’ experience with both the PowerFAIDS and Jenzabar systems. She successfully converted Colleague to PowerFAIDS and continues to serve as a PowerFAIDS administrator for PARMROLL and other yearly set up requirements. She has comprehensive experience in verification, awarding, importing/exporting of ISIRS, Federal work-study, student loans, disbursement of federal, state, and institutional aid, reconciliation, private loan certifications, dependency overrides, professional judgments, R2T4 and SAP. Her expertise lies in researching complex technical issues between PowerFAIDS, COD and Jenzabar. She also has a background in enrollment and graduation reporting from Jenzabar to the National Student Clearinghouse.

Avena holds a NASFAA Professional Credential in Administrative Capability and is an active member of NASFAA. She is passionate about working to make the Financial Aid process as simple as possible for students and families, while still adhering to and honoring the rules and regulations of the Federal Student Aid programs.

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Traci Singleton

Traci Singleton worked in higher education for 26 years serving undergraduate, graduate and health professional students. She started in Financial Aid as an Administrative Specialist at The Medical University of SC and ended her career as an Associate Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at The Citadel Military College of SC.

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Over the years she performed the following duties: reviewed & processed SAP appeals, completed verification & professional judgements for students; determined eligibility and certified computer-generated applications for Stafford Loans (GSL), parent loans, and supplemental loans to outside lending agencies; determined eligibility for all federal and state grants (PELL, SEOG and State Need Based Grant); awarded academic and athletic scholarships to eligible students; monitored approval and notification of disbursement of funds by the lending agencies; reviewed and updated reports related to the financial aid system; recommended and implemented change in policies and procedures; coordinated and managed the College Work-Study Program; performed monthly reconciliations for the Federal Stafford Loans and Federal Pell Grant programs; supervised Administrative and Support Staff; determined eligibility for the Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship, South Carolina HOPE Scholarship and Palmetto Fellows Scholarship. Traci is proficient in Banner and the Department of Education systems.

Traci has served the financial aid community and is a life member of SCASFAA and was also the President, Secretary and Treasurer, a member of SASFAA and NASFAA. She is also active in her community and enjoys giving back by presenting financial aid information for churches, schools, and organizations.

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Rhonda L. Smith

Rhonda has 23 years of experience in the higher education industry. She started her career as an academic advisor and moved into financial aid in 2003. Starting as a financial aid coordinator, Rhonda has served in many roles within financial aid offices, including Director of Financial Aid and Corporate Director of Student Finance. Rhonda’s experience spans all the key areas of financial aid such as disbursement and refund processing, various Title IV programs including:

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Pell Grant, Direct Loan and Federal Work-Study, recertification, maintaining policies and procedures manuals, compliance, verification, professional judgment, Veterans benefits and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). She has worked closely with school presidents, registrars and deans of academic affairs to ensure consistency and compliance across academic and financial aid processes. Maintaining strong professional relationships is one of the keys to Rhonda’s success in the financial aid industry.

She is proficient in Ed Express, EdConnect, COD, G5, NSLDS, PeopleSoft, CampusVue, MVS – cicsprod, C2K and various other student database.

Rhonda has a B.S. in Business and M.A. in Communications both from Northern Illinois University. She lives in Chicago and enjoys cycling and kickboxing.

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Kala D. Smith

Kala D. Smith is a higher education professional with 17 years of experience. She provides outstanding service at all levels of an institution of higher education. She takes great pride in administering all things related to Financial Aid, Student Accounts, facilitating/developing better business practices, and building positive working relationships.

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Kala brings plenty of know-how, and experience necessary to provide strong collaborative leadership during times of transition. She has a proven record of collaborative change management, implementation of policies that improve student success and enrollment retention, enhancing transparent communication and shared governance, and improving relationships across school lines. Kala has an advanced level of training with Ellucian Colleague.

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Awaionica Smith


Awaionica has over 10 years of Financial Aid experience in both two-year and four-year public institutions along with four-year private institutions. As a consultant, she supports financial aid offices across the country. She provides Interim Staffing, Consulting and Assessment services to improve business processes strengthen compliance efforts and enhance student satisfaction.

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Her previous experience includes Delgado Community College’s Answer Center. The Answer Center is a one stop shop that provides Financial Aid, Admissions, and Registrar services to students. She served as the center’s coordinator providing the ultimate one stop enrollment experience. Awaionica is known for her ability to migrate the challenges of complex verification processes over the years, ensuring that students understand the language. Awaionica also served as a Financial Aid Counselor for Xavier University of Louisiana. She is experienced with several financial aid software systems, including Ellucian Banner, Inceptia, Global Core, ELM Select, and Student Success Navigate (EAB). She is well versed with utilizing the U.S. Department of Education’s suite of applications and website for administering Federal Student Aid such as Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and FAA Access. Awaionica received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Southern University at New Orleans.

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Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith joined HEAG in December, 2022 and has worked in Financial Aid for over 15 years. She has two Bachelor Degrees from Columbia Southern University; one in Healthcare and the other in Business Administration. She started her career at Fayetteville Technical Community College as a Records Clerk and moved her way up to a Default Management Counselor for the Financial Aid Department and Student Services Department.

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She later transitioned to Fayetteville State University, where she was a Coordinator and oversaw three Department of Education and North Carolina State programs; Financial Aid Specialist, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Specialist and Consortium and Dual Enrollment. She moved to Dallas, Texas and accepted a position with Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) as a Compliance Specialist. She managed seven DCCCD Financial Aid Offices.
Jackie enjoys interacting with parents and students and helping them with day-to-day higher education needs. Her motto is “it truly takes a village” and she stands by that saying! She enjoys counseling students and assisting them with understanding college policies and procedures. Having a background in Student Service allows her to anticipate what the students need and help them achieve their goals. She’s excited to be working with other Financial Aid administrators and colleagues at HEAG.

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Dane Smith

Dane Smith has 15 years’ experience in the field of financial aid. He has been able to learn a diverse range of knowledge in the different aspects of financial aid. His entry level position as a call center representative assisting families and students with the entire financial aid process set him up on the track that he is currently on. Dane was then able to transition into a financial aid counselor position where he would assist with all capacities of financial aid from awarding students, verification, appeals and meeting with student and parents to discuss options as well as complaints and escalations. During the most recent years he served as a Director of Financial Aid at a Graduate School.

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In that role he managed all Financial Aid Disbursements and Reconciliation. He has 10 years of experience working with Ellucian/Colleague also known as Datatel. Dane has also worked with other systems such as Peoplesoft, SFP , Banner and CampusVue in relation to Financial Aid Management. He has several years of experience working with in COD Systems and addressing origination and disbursement rejects. Dane has been responsible for completing the yearly FISAP report as well as A-133 Audits. Dane is a Business Administration graduate of UMGC.

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Deborah Stanley

Deborah is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Administrative Management from Bowie State University, the oldest historically black university in Maryland and one of the oldest in the country. Her career began in higher education over 35 years ago as a College Work-Study Student.

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She served in several different roles throughout her career, including Financial Aid Counselor, Consultant, Assistant, Associate Director, and Director of Financial Aid. She previously worked at Goucher College, University of Baltimore, Howard Community College, US Department of Education, where she served as a Program Review Liaison, and her alma mater, Bowie State University. She enjoys creative problem solving and helping her colleagues. She likes helping others and being a team player.

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Jason Taylor

Jason Taylor has worked in the financial aid profession for 30+ years. Jason began his experience in the higher education setting as a work study student at Rutgers University. His passion for student service and campus compliance issues began then. After a few years’ service at Educational Testing Service (ETS) as a customer service and administrative assistant in the Educational Records Bureau of the Graduate Record Examinations Program (GRE), he was appointed as an Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Mercer County Community College. Due to his proficiency in administering aid programs and his propensity for mastering the complexities of Federal and State aid programs, he took on progressively responsible roles over the years, serving as the Associate and the Director of Financial Aid.
Jason is highly proficient in policy and procedure (SOP) review/creation, aid office operation assessment, corrective action planning and documentation. He is a subject matter expert in aid administration that impacts institutional eligibility and participation in Federal and State aid programs. He has an advanced level of experience in performing verification, handling Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), processing loans, and packaging federal and state offers. One of Jason’s fondest memories in aid is when he was able to meet with students and parents to complete the FAFSA and help them to overcome their fear and/or frustration that often accompany the process.

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His service as a longtime NJ Teachers’ Federal Credit Union board member (serving as Vice Chair of the Board, since 2018 to present) is indicative of his ability to assess metrics/KPI’s in order to align operations that ensure compliance and bottom-line success. His long-term assignment as a business instructor/assistant professor lends evidence of his experience in teaching, training and mentoring.
Jason has experience with various financial aid systems over the years, which included PowerFAIDS and Ellucian Colleague.
Jason is a member of the New Jersey State Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NJASFAA) having served in roles such as council member at large and subcommittee contributor. He is also a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).
Jason holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University.

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Vanessa Thompson

Vanessa Thompson is a financial aid professional with over six years of experience in a variety of roles, including counselor and director positions in financial aid. She has extensive experience in a wide range of areas, including Federal Verifications, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Title IV Disbursement and Reconciliation, Private Loans, Policies and Procedures, Comment Code Resolutions, Packaging, Federal and State Audits, Return to Title IV Calculations and File Reviews.

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Throughout Vanessa’s career in financial aid, she has utilized Ellucian Colleague, importing ISIRS and assisting in the yearly roll over process. She is an active member of EASFAA and (Eastern Association Student Financial Aid Administrators) and NASFAA (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators). Vanessa is proficient in the Department of Education systems along with the Maryland College Aid Processing System. In addition to financial aid, Vanessa is very knowledgeable with Admissions, Accounting, and Registrar’s practices and processes. She is passionate about retaining employees, training staff, and fostering a positive work environment.

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James Trimboli

Jim Trimboli has been working in the financial aid industry for 25 years, 20 of which have been spent in the position of Director of Financial Aid at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, New York. Additionally, he has served as interim Director of Admissions. A graduate of Bryant & Stratton Business College, Medaille College, and Buffalo State College, he holds an Associate’s Degree in Business Management, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Resource Development.

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He is also a published author as cited by his work in his 2015 book “A Parent’s Survival Guide to College and Financial Aid” and is also co-author of NASEFAA’s “You’re The Director Guide To Leadership In Student Financial Aid.” He has also presented at national and regional conferences. Jim is a member of “SUNY’s Statewide procurement that provided statewide financial literacy for students and parents. He also served as the past chair of SUNY’s Shared Services-loan Verification Sub-Committee and is a regular featured speaker on Financial Literacy Topics for incoming NCCC’s students and parents, local high schools, civic organizations, and other community sponsored events. Most recently, he was the winner of the NYSFAA”s Region 1 2021 Service Award.
Jim’s system experience includes: Banner, Argos, COD, NSLDS, FSA Partner, Connect, SAIG, HEERF, HESC, Microsoft Word, Excel,Word and Microsoft Teams.

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Kathryn Tuman


Kathryn Tuman has been working in financial aid for 25 years. Prior to becoming a consultant Kathryn was the Executive Director of Financial Aid at Columbia University serving Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. She has worked in a variety of positions including leadership roles in financial aid offices at several NYC area schools. She has experience working with traditional and nontraditional undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

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Kathryn has strong user knowledge in softwares including PowerFAIDS and Banner as well experience with PeopleSoft and Colleague. She has extensive knowledge of the College Board’s Institutional Methodology as well as the Department of Education’s suite of systems and applications for administering Title IV Federal Student Aid.

Kathryn holds a Master of Arts from Teachers College at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College.

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Nayamka Ward

Nayamka (Naya) Ward’s career as a financial aid professional spans almost 20 years. She began as a Financial Aid Advisor in 2004 and advanced to a Director of Financial Aid. Naya’s comprehensive experience in higher education administration has given her a hybrid-type of approach to financial aid that compliments other departments: admissions, academics, student affairs, and business office. She specializes in the front-end functions of a financial aid office, military and VA educational funding, processing, R2T4 calculations, audit/regulatory preparation and visits, and interdepartmental campus planning.

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As a Senior Financial Aid Advisor – Military Specialist for an online campus, Naya worked with active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families that were stationed in various locations throughout the world. In this role, she worked with multiple government agencies to secure educational funding for our servicemembers and their families in adherence with strict compliance guidelines. In the high volume and fast-paced atmosphere of the online campus, she maintained one of the highest accuracy ratings for quality assurance review in the department.

As the Director of Financial Aid at a nursing school in New York City, initially working as a one-person department, Naya handled the entire financial aid process from counseling and advising to awarding and processing for the 900+ student population. She trained new FA staff members with no prior FA experience and developed the department to provide the customer service needed for the growing campus in compliance with federal, state, and other regulatory requirements and guidelines. The campus growth, curriculum changes, and new degree programs required a pivotal need to work with other departments and learn their functions.

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Loriann Weiss


Loriann Weiss has dedicated her career in Financial Aid and Student Services for over 30 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Education with a Specialization in Enrollment Management for Higher Education. Her education and experience include working as a Director of Financial Aid, Director of Student Central and Regional Director of Financial Aid in both the private and public college sectors. Loriann is student centric driven and ensures that the student experience is of high priority.

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She manages staff with the utmost care and trains staff on Title IV regulations and Institutional policies and procedures. Loriann has also been involved in the implementation and served as a training subject matter expert with the PeopleSoft, Banner, Campus Management and Salesforce databases. She has coordinated with executive team members to reach institution goals such as, excellent customer service, reducing student barriers, college retention initiatives and enrollment goals and ensures compliance is always maintained.

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John Wells

John has over 35 years’ experience working in Financial Aid. He began his career in 1986 working in proprietary education as a Financial Aid Clerk. He became the Director of Financial Aid Training and traveled to Cleveland, New Orleans, and Chicago opening new Financial Aid Offices, hiring and training staff.

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John has worked at St. Charles Community College, The University of Texas-Arlington, and South Texas College. He spent the bulk of his career working at Dallas College–the largest undergrad institution in the state of TX with 85,000+ students. In his role of Director of Student Financial Support & Services, he oversaw the offices of Financial Aid, Veterans Affairs, and Rising Star. El Centro was one of two pilot locations for the Rising Star Program–a privately funded program to provide educational assistance to high achieving, low income, mainly undocumented, high school graduates. John assisted with writing and establishing much of the policies and procedures for the program still in place over 20 years later. He served as the Chair of the Financial Aid Directors Council for five years coordinating the efforts of the seven Financial Aid Directors, establishing policies & procedures, as well as working closely with other key departments. While at the Brookhaven Campus, he instituted Financial Literacy Program Fairs open to the public. He also instituted a Financial Aid training program for High School Counselors and a special outreach program to Veterans. John has been an active member of NASFAA, SWASFAA, MASFAP, and TASFAA making several presentations and also served on numerous committees and as a committee chair.

John’s system of record is Ellucian Colleague. He assisted with the yearly set-up & testing of the system.
He has a very strong background in Title IV program administration, scholarship
programs, satisfactory academic progress, customer service, team building, training and staff
development, as well as project management/coordination. He prides himself on the fact that all
of his former Associate Directors moved on to become Directors themselves. One currently
works for the THECB (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board).

John holds a BS degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nevada-Reno and a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M University. He
briefly taught first grade. He has always been passionate about assisting students and families
with securing the funding they require to obtain their education and has been a very strong
student advocate.

John and his spouse live in deep South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley with their spoiled rotten
West Highland White Terrier (Westie). They are both of Scottish heritage and are
members of four family clans between them. John is the National Vice President for Clan
Mackay Society, USA. They frequently travel to various Scottish Festivals and Highland
Games around the country. They also enjoy going on cruises and have been on approximately
twelve to date. He retired from Dallas College in September of 2021 and was not content to
be idle. He’s happy to be part of The Higher Education Assistance Group.

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Wes Wilson

Wes Wilson currently serves as the Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid for Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUHCOM) in Athens, Ohio. He has a background in banking, finance, and financial aid spanning 19 years, having previously worked at Western Southern Financial Group, Huntington National Bank, and Ohio Valley University, respectively.

He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Ohio University. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Indiana Wesleyan University and a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) from Muskingum University.

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Wes has held several association positions, including serving two terms as National Chair of the CSFAA (Council of Student Financial Aid Administrators), which runs in part with AACOM (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) and on the Discover Student Loans FAA Advisory Board as a Council Member. Additionally, he has served on several conference committees, including AccessLex Conference and AAMC PDC Conferences, and has presented at numerous sessions throughout the years.

Wes has knowledge of Oracle PeopleSoft and the College Board’s PowerFAIDS systems. He is also proficient with the U.S. Department of Education’s suite of technology applications, including HRSA, COD, NSLDS, and FAA to CPS Online when administrating Title IV and Title VII Federal student aid. He is knowledgeable in verifications, R2T4, policy and procedures, counseling for students and families, entrance and exit counseling, professional judgment, streamlining processes, and training staff, among others. He especially loves educating students and assisting with student loan repayment strategy planning.

Wes serves as a Deacon at his home congregation in Tampa, FL. He enjoys working out, running, playing and coaching his children’s sports, spending time with his wife, family, and friends.

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William Womack

William Womack (Will) has worked in the higher education industry in various roles for over 30 years. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree, Will has earned a Master of Arts from Wheaton College and an MBA from West Virginia University. He started working in financial aid at Shepherd College and later took on the role of implementing Banner Financial Aid software at The George Washington University where he eventually became the Associate Director of Enrollment Management. While there, he oversaw the systems operation for both Admissions and Financial Aid. After GW, Will transitioned back to Ellucian where he worked as a Financial Aid Software Development Consultant within their Banner Financial Aid product line.

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Moving back to Oklahoma, Will had the opportunity to serve as the Associate Director in Financial Aid at Oklahoma State University where he was responsible for systems management as well as supervision of the loan and records management units. Prior to coming to HEAG, Will worked 10 years as the Director of Financial Aid at Oral Roberts University. Will completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at ORU and now had the opportunity of being back on campus. Over the years, Will has worked in many areas of financial aid from verification to work-study and has familiarity with COD, NSLDS, federal reporting and many other financial aid functions. Will has also worked with a variety of software and has worked in many different settings from small public to large private research institutions.

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