Our Team

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

For more information on how HEAG’s higher education and financial aid consultants can assist your school with compliance, file review and verification, remote & temporary financial aid staffing, organizational structure or other special projects, please contact Jeff Megargell at jmegargell@heag.us, 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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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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Jeffrey Megargell

Executive Intake Coordinator
 
jmegargell@heag.us

Jeff began working in financial aid in 1996 as a federal work study student while an undergraduate at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with a BA in Communications. He decided the field was actually a good fit for him so he moved to Boston, the higher education capital of the world to pursue his career. He worked at a handful of proprietary schools, working his way up from a Financial Aid Counselor to Director and then a regional, traveling Director. He has been with HEAG full-time since the summer of 2013.

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Jeff’s strengths lie in technical staff training, superior customer service and proficiency with numerous financial aid software platforms such as PowerFAIDS, Populi, FAME and some Jenzabar/DataTel experience. He has been assigned to numerous campuses throughout New England, fulfilling needs such as Interim Director, Student Accounts representative and an auditor of student financial aid files. He has also assisted with the completion of A-133 audits and collection of documentation for accreditation visits. Jeff thrives on his ability to adapt to all different types of schools and situations, from large community colleges to small graduate programs.

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Catherine Demchak

Director of Operations
 
cdemchak@heag.uss
Cathy is a financial aid professional with over twenty years of experience. Her areas of specialization include Title IV compliance, training, and consulting. When she began her financial aid career, she quickly learned that her work could make a difference, not just in the lives of students, but for the University and for the financial aid profession as well. She is devoted to sharing her knowledge and insight with her colleagues and clients.

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Prior to joining the Higher Education Assistance Group, she worked as a Supervisor for a CPA firm in the Audit Department. While there she provided clients with a full range of services including, Title IV compliance audits, documentation reviews and Title IV consulting. As an auditor, she helped her clients navigate through changing federal regulations to allow them to focus on their students.
For most of her financial aid career, she worked at a large private not-for-profit university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in progressing roles. During her time there, she managed various processes and procedures in the day-to-day operations of the financial aid office. She has extensive experience in researching and interpreting regulations that govern the Federal Student Aid programs. She has experience working with many enrollment services departments like admissions, registrar, student accounts and academic advising.
She is a Certified Financial Aid Administrator® (FAAC®). This designation attests to her years of industry-related experience and affirms her commitment to exemplify the highest level of ethical behavior and professionalism.
She has experience with many Financial Aid Management systems such as, Banner, Campus Ivy, CampusNexus, CampusVue, PowerFAIDS, and Regent, 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); New York Student Financial Aid Administrators Association (NYSFAAA); Eastern Association of Financial Aid Administrators (EASFAA); and National Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). She has volunteered to serve on many committees within these organizations and has been invited to present on financial aid topics numerous times.

She earned a Master of Education in Higher Education from Penn State University; a Bachelor of Science in Labor Studies and Employment Relations from Penn State University; and an Associate Degree in Business Management from Community College of Allegheny County.

Outside of the office, Cathy enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys volunteering for various non-profit organizations that range from human services to environmental-related services.

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Krystyna Dias

Internal Operation Coordinator
 
kdias@heag.us

Krystyna Dias has over eight years delivering outstanding customer service to students and parents. She joined HEAG as an Associate Intake Coordinator. Krystyna began her career in healthcare where she coordinated with patients and healthcare professionals to meet patient needs. 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. She has experience in office management. Her experience includes payroll, human resources, finance, communications, procurement, and accounts payable. Krystyna has an associate degree of science in office information technologies from Springfield Technical Community College. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Science in business majoring in Operations Management at Bay Path University. She has three children and 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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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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Laurie Buck

Laurie Buck has over 30 years of financial aid experience in higher education.  She has worked in many different types of education settings, to include public, private, community college, university and consulting.

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She is especially skilled with Title IV compliance, employee development, team building and launching new financial aid operations for educational institutions. She has managed million-dollar software implementations, as well as, numerous diverse categories of Title IV, financial aid related projects while consulting.   She has utilized a variety of software programs within higher education, to include: Class, CampusVue, Colleague, Datatel, Banner, PowerFaids, and Populi.

Laurie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership with a concentration of online teaching and learning.

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Jay Burgess


Jay has been helping students as a Financial Aid professional since 2008. He has created, implemented, and led financial aid projects in academic institutions. Jay has helped institutions save over half a million dollars in revenues by implementing strategic policies and procedures, identifying trends, patterns, and strategies used for admission outreach, reducing error reporting by 26.5%, and designing and executing enrollment strategy resulting in a 27% increase.

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He has experience in Banner, Colleague, Peoplesoft, Oracle, and Anthology. Jay holds a master’s in education from Loyola Marymount University and a master’s in data science from Eastern University.

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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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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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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 13 years in higher education in the public sector. She received her Bachelors’ degree in Business Administration. She started as a Financial Aid Assistant to Financial Aid Manager where she acquired a variety of skills & experiences during that period.

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Her experience includes all aspects of compliance and administration of all Federal Direct and private loans, awarding, disbursements, verification, R2T4, SAP, and reconciliation. Her software system experience has been Colleague as well as COD, NSLDS, and CPS.

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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 on 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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Bethann Corey

Bethann Corey has worked in higher education for over 30 years. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree, Bethann has earned a Master’s in Education, Counseling degree and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the University of Redlands. Bethann started her career in Financial Aid and served both as Director and Associate Director and went on to become the Vice President of Student Financial Services and the Dean of Admissions at the University of Redlands.  Most recently, Bethann held the role of Vice Chancellor of Operations for the Office of Applied Innovation at Brandman University.

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Bethann has led large departments and teams and managed vendor partnerships with an emphasis on spirited collaboration and a superior student experience.  Her roles include strategy development and deployment, analytics, compliance & auditing, FISAP, project management, cross-functional analysis & staffing, managing teams, budgeting, business development, retention and project implementation.  Bethann is knowledgeable on numerous higher education tools and platforms including: Slate, Colleague, CashNet, and Regent.

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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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Erica Cummins

Erica Cummins is a Financial Aid professional with 17 years of experience working in selective, private institutions of higher education. Her B.A. in Forensic Accounting provided her with many of the tools needed to start her career in financial aid, with a strong emphasis on auditing, federal taxes, and understanding tax law. Erica has spent much of her career at Brown University and Connecticut College. While serving at these institutions, she gained extensive knowledge of federal and institutional methodology, the federal verification process, Veterans educational benefits, directly counseling students and more.

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Most recently, Erica was a part of the management team at Brown University in which she supervised several financial aid counselors and support staff team members. In each of her roles, Erica has always had a strong emphasis on providing exceptional customer service to students and families. Since much of her career has been working for institutions that provide their own institutional aid, as well as federal aid, Erica has used the CSS Profile and IDOC to review application materials to determine institutional aid. As a part of institutional based file review, Erica has extensive knowledge in reviewing both personal and business tax returns, including sole proprietorship, partnership and corporate returns. In addition, Erica has experience with several software systems including Banner, PowerFAIDS, and SLATE.

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Nanette DiLauro

Nanette DiLauro has 30 years of financial aid experience working in selective private institutions of higher education. Nanette spent most of her career as Director of Financial Aid for both Columbia University and Barnard College of Columbia University. While working at these schools she gained knowledge of institutional methodology, federal verification and many compliance related issues. She also has 12 years of PowerFAIDs systems experience. Nanette enjoys the gym, going to movies, walks in the park and watching her beloved New York Yankees.

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She also has 12 years of POWERFAID systems experience. Nanette enjoys the gym, going to movies, walks in the park and watching her beloved New York Yankees.

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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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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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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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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. Her superior customer service skills along with her dedication to learn as well as adhere by ED rules and regulations; quickly catapulted her into a leadership role within the for-profit institution. Her instant success in the field encouraged her to continue her education. Shortly after, DeJa graduated from Belhaven University with a master’s degree in Public Administration; the MPA program educated her on the public sector of business focusing on public laws and policies.

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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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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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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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Ellen McGuire

Ellen has over 30 years’ experience in the administration of financial aid. She started her career in a clerical position working for admissions and financial aid and worked her way up from financial aid advisor, Associate Director and served as Director of Financial Aid at two institutions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She has worked at private non-profit colleges as well as a medical school. She has experience in all aspects of the administration of financial aid including federal, state and institutional aid. Her experience includes verification, awarding, disbursements, R2T4, reconciliation, SAP, compliance with federal regulations, coordination of draws from G5, internal audits and a new school’s application to participate in federal aid. She has also developed financial aid literature for students, provided counseling to students on financial aid applications, awards, and payment options.

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Working closely with other administrative offices including Admissions, Registrar, Bursar, IT and software vendors, she served as the financial aid liaison for the implementation of Banner at a private non-profit institution. As liaison, she performed testing of new releases, participated in the development of customized reports, processes and provided staff training. In addition to Banner experience, Ellen has also worked with Datatel and Empower financial aid software as well as various federal software systems including EdConnect, COD, NSLDS, FAA Access to CPS. She has experience working with the EAPP and various query tools.

Working with other administrative offices to not only ensure compliance with federal regulations as well as coordinate financial aid processes has been an important role in her positions as Director. Throughout her career in financial aid, providing a high level of customer service has always been key.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Pennsylvania State University and her M.S. at The University of Scranton.

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Natesha McMillon

Tesha McMillon has worked in the Higher Education industry since 2002. She spent 15 years working at College Foundation, a loan servicer. In those 15 years she held seven different positions, her duties included training staff and developing training resources, writing and updating procedures, implementing service improvements, improving efficiencies, loan counseling, maintaining knowledge of regulatory requirements, and coaching team members. Tesha is well-versed in the rules and regulations governing Title IV funding. Student loan repayment options is her area of expertise.

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In 2017 Tesha accepted a position with Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) as a Financial Aid Counselor/Default Manager. Two years later, she became the Assistant Director of Financial Aid/Default Manager. She has a clear understanding of FAFSA, FAFSA Verification, C-Codes, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), Professional Judgements, Awarding, Reconciliation, and all other duties involved in the day-to-day operations of the financial aid office. She also has experience with audit and reaffirmation. Tesha is very compliance-oriented and understands how detrimental it can be for an institution to be out of compliance, especially regarding federal funds. Her favorite saying is, “If you are out of compliance, you are out of business.”

Tesha has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration w/minor in Government Contracts & Acquisitions and a Master’s in Public Administration, graduating from both programs summa cum laude. Tesha lives in NC with her five-year-old son. She enjoys spending time with her son, reading and writing poetry, and giving back to the community by sharing her knowledge with those who need it most. Tesha hosts financial literacy workshops in the community and is asked to speak at similar workshops held by different organizations and entities.

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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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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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Javae` Motley

Javae` has worked in the higher educational field for over a decade beginning in 2009. She has worked for private institutions along with for-profit and non-profit colleges. She started as a Financial Aid Rep, Level 1 and gradually moved her way up to the Financial Aid Director’s position while also learning and navigating through the many facets of the financial aid spectrum. She has experience in but not limited to; verification and C -code clearance, FAFSA and exit counseling workshops, default prevention, auditing, originations, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), reporting, dependency override, professional judgment, training, and maintaining policies/procedures.

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Javae`’s scope of experience within Title IV programs include the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and Direct Loans. She specializes in many of The Department of Education’s government sites including NSLDS, FAA access and COD. She has experience with several software platforms including EdConnect, CampusVue/Nexus, Banner (Ellucian), FAME/Freedom, Gegi and others.

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Kianna Page

Kianna began her career in Financial Aid, in 2017. She began her financial aid career as a Financial Aid Advisor. Promoted to Student Finance Analyst II and Financial Aid Consultant. She completed her MBA in Finance. She retained her NASFAA Credential for Application Process and continues to collect her other NASFAA credentials. Kianna has experience with awarding and originations, verification and c-code clearance, professional judgment review, and implementing policies and procedures.

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She 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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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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Elizabeth Rollins

Elizabeth (Liz) Rollins has worked in higher education for 24 years.  Her experience ranges from private colleges to a large four-year, public university.  She has extensive experience in staff training, management, and compliance.  In each of her roles, Liz actively provided training and a point of contact within the office to establish policies and standards.  Whether acting as a Director or Associate, Liz’s priority has always been dedicated to team development and providing all staff the means to grow as financial aid professionals.  Her belief is that each opportunity should allow a person the tools to move forward in their field and for some, into a director role.  She is proud of the fact that two of her former college work-study students are now sitting directors in financial aid.

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Liz was a manager of compliance for over seven years.  This position allowed her to explore all aspects of financial aid as both a manager and mentor.  This role allowed her to study the regulations and apply them, ensuring consistent results across multiple campuses.

Implementing a new financial management system can be a daunting task.  Liz was the financial aid lead during the implementation of Banner and worked closely with her Ellucian colleagues to ensure a smooth transition of systems and knowledge.

Liz graduated from William Patterson University with a BA degree in English and History.  Later, she completed her Master’s in Business/ Information Systems at Saint Peter’s University.

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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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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.

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 worked her way up 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.

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Working with over one hundred and seventy for-profit schools across the U.S., Lynsey then went to work for WSU Tech in Wichita, Kansas where she gained knowledge on working directly with students and their families. Her duties included coordinating SAP appeals, verification, file processing, attendance review, other daily processing duties and meeting with students. Overall, she has worked with schools that have just ten students to over three thousand students in most aspects of financial aid. She specializes in working in all Department of Education software including Ed Express and has worked with CampusVue (also now known as Nexus) and Banner.

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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 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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Crystal Smith

Crystal has 18 years of experience in Higher Education. Starting off in 2002 as a Financial Aid Counselor, she moved her way up through the financial aid offices, both in the private and public sector. Crystal made a career move into consulting in 2015, where she has enjoyed assisting clients with their needs ever since. She has a wealth of knowledge with the day-to-day workings and processes within a Financial Aid office; as well as, conducting business process reviews, assessments, fit-gaps, new year setup, ERP configuration and implementation.

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She excels utilizing the platforms of Ellucian Banner and Recruit CRM. Outside of financial aid, Crystal is also very knowledgeable with Admissions, Recruiting and Registrar’s office processes.

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Kala D. Smith


Kala D. Smith is a higher education professional with 17 years of experience. Bringing a strong background in giving outstanding service to all levels of an Institution of Higher Learning. A lot of pride is given to administering all things Financial Aid, and Student Accounts, yearly training/staff development, facilitate/development of better business practices, and building positive teams.

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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, assist and 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 has been working in Financial Aid for over 15 years. She currently has two (2) Bachelor’s Degrees in Healthcare and Business Administration from Columbia Southern University. She started my career at Fayetteville Technical Community College, located in Fayetteville, North Carolina as a Records Clerk and moved my way up to a Default Management Counselor both for the Financial Aid Department and Student Services. She later continues her career and transfer to Fayetteville State University, where She was a Coordinator and overseer, of three (3) Department of Education and North Carolina State programs Financial Aid Specialist/Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)/Consortium and Dual Enrollment. She later moved to Dallas, Texas in 2017 for a position with Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) as a Complainance Specialist and overseer of 7 DCCCD Financial Aid Offices until 2021.

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Her specialty in both Banner (9 years) and Datatel/Colleague (6 years) gives her an advantage to helping student/parents in the Financial Aid Program Process.

She enjoys interacting with parents and especially students. Helping with day-to-day higher education needs. Her motto is “it truly takes a village”. She stands by that saying! She is here to help with student/parent financial needs in higher education. She has an open-door policy! You can come and talk to her about your amid-agitating circumstances, our policies, and procedures, etc. Where we will find a situation to the problem. Having a background and knowledge of Student Services and students’ needs gives me an advantage of what the students need and why they need our financial services. She is so excited to be able to join a magnificent group of colleagues at Higher Education Assistance Group. Inc.

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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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Crystal Thompson


Crystal Thompson (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. Crys has over 12 years of higher education experience. She began her career as a Financial Aid Clerk. Crys worked her way up to a Financial Aid Specialist. She was coordinator of the Tennessee Educational Lottery Program. Specifically, Crys was responsible for verifications, processing students’ eligibility with federal and state programs such as; PELL, SEOG, Federal Work-study, Tennessee Promise, and the Hope Lottery scholarship. Additionally, she is familiar with Ellucian Banner 8 and 9 system, COD, NSLDS, e-Grands, SAP, and packaging students and other financial aid functions.

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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 Crys was tasked to train new employees, and assist with implementing new policies and procedures. Crystal 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.

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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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Chad Wick

Chad Wick has over 20 years of experience in higher education. In addition to a Bachelor of Science degree, Chad earned an MBA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. and a Masters of Business Administration degree. He began his financial aid career as an Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Judson University. After his first year in Financial Aid he went on to become the Director of Financial Aid for Trinity International University. He continued in the role of Director of Financial Aid for another 6 years working in different types of education settings to include private not for profit and proprietary institutions. He transitioned over to Campus Operations and the Student Services side of Higher Education where he held roles of Director of Campus Operations, Director of Education, and Campus Director. During his time in Financial Aid he developed many policies and procedures to improve student satisfaction, information accuracy, and timely processing. He has managed institutional aid budgets and created matrix focused awarding tools to improve enrollment growth.

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Chas has extensive knowledge in operational efficiency, customer service, team building and development, student enrollment and retention, and data analytics. He has been part of turning around underperforming financial aid offices, establishing new financial aid offices, and launching new campuses. He has utilized a variety of software from home grown programs, Jenzabar, CARS, Class, Campus Management, Banner, Sales Force, and Canvas.

Chad is a man of faith and integrity. He enjoys working out, playing sports, coaching his children’s sports, and spending time with 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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