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(2000 NASFAA Conference Materials) Kay Jacks' Remarks

Conference Date: to
Type: Association Meetings
prestitle: Kay Jacks' Remarks

Hello....It is great to be here...about 11 years ago, I had the great honor to serve as one of NASFAA’s Chairmen at the conference at this same hotel....so this hotel has many memories, many ghosts. Recalling that time, provides a frame of reference but some things prevail: We have too much to do, too little time, technology keeps changing faster than we can imagine and students are our business....

Greg Woods has just described the future as many trendsetters see it. It will assuredly be a world of increasing technology; however, perhaps for the first time, technology can be used to create a sense of community, of increased personalization. The technological advances of the last 2 decades have focused on gathering massive amounts of information, sending it places and performing faster processing cycles....but all of the control has rested with the keeper of the data, data that ultimately belonged to the student...

Today’s technology puts the consumer/student into the driver’s seat about her own information. Consumers move from passive to active participants. No longer must we try to anticipate a student’s information needs, or where the student will be in the summer, rather the student will simply check out the info herself: anytime, anywhere. Clearly student expectations will change. This generation was born wired...and demand wireless. Campuses are responding to that eventuality by making their campus wireless. For those students who attend a brick & mortar campus, they will be able to walk from the library to a class and never stop bidding on eBay or checking email.

Such trends toward incredible speed and availability of information offer exciting challenges to each of us. I personally know that some campuses, likely the majority, are slow to respond to these powerful trends and the significant manner in which they will influence a student’s enrollment choice.

Given the demands on your campuses, we at SFA know that we must make your interactions with us simpler. The PBO was created by the Congress to do something many of us have talked about for a long time: integrate the student financial aid delivery systems. Integration will save money, make some things simpler and create more opportunity...opportunities for us all to focus on this student of the future.

SFA’s first “integrated product” will be released at the end of September 2000. It is called a Schools Portal and is the result of the efforts of one of many Integrated Product Teams (IPTs’) formed to improve services for you. This
"virtual" portals team included representatives from SFA, an Anderson modernization partner, and most importantly schools. The Schools were great...they told us the portal must:
Be Interactive: Support questions and feedback
Push information that is...easy to find, and is intuitive
IFAP needed a better search engine...
No glitz....you just wanted to get to the information...fast.
The portal provides an ecommerce platform to for integrated access to our current and future products and services. Let me take you on a tour:

Overview:

On the right hand side, schools asked for “News headlines” and alerts to changes at a glance. Down the left-hand side, you will start with access to SFA student data systems, then an area called bookstore, then Training, Participation and Funding, on the right...a calendar...

You can click onto any of the student data systems
FAFSA on the Web....By the way, so far this year 29% of the total filing population of 6.5 million have used the form and we have many improvements for 2001-2002, including a Spanish version, improved on line help and renewal FAFSA’s available via the web on a continuous basis. And there will be no Question 28 next year....It will be question 35...with specific details being worked out. I encourage each of you to attend Jeanne Saunders session on the 2001-2002 Application Process for more details....She and Jeanne Van Vlandren, the General Manager for Students will be there to hear all of your ideas.

You can go to NSLDS...and using a PIN obtain access to student level data. Likewise you can go into the Pell RFMS web site. What you quickly notice is that two “sign ons” were required. The first release of the Portal in September 2000 will require multiple “sign ons”; however, we believe we can offer a single sign on with right to know security with the 2nd release.

Each of you can personalize your portal. Each person will have a secure sign on. By clicking onto MY SFA, you can identify those functions most useful to you...such as a list of lenders, ELM, student loan clearinghouse...or weather in Belize.

You will have access to products such as SFA coach (which we will move to the Web).

IFAP has also been improved. You can do a quick research on a topic such as satisfactory progress or more easily find a publication using the a-z quick tool.

You can give us feedback. On the bottom of the page, we welcome ideas on portal improvements. Click onto “Got a Question?” and we have a team of 27 staff members who will take responsibility for your question and get you an answer.

Last but not least, we have a calendar for Events such as the NASFAA conference, Training, Deadlines and NPRM’s. We thank NASFAA for agreeing to exchange events databases so that by going to either the Schools Portal or to the NASFAA site, the user can obtain an integrated view of training and conferences. We will even give you a map with virtual pins so you can see where all the training is on a given day.

The NPRM event will permit you to access the actual NPRN and since I know that most of you are just waiting to tell us what you think about everything, you can actually send your comments to us electronically directly from the portal.

And this is not all....no this is not all.....The portal is incredibly exciting, with just a few minutes of use, you can see how the tool will save you time and increase your productivity...., but behind the tool, we still have nonintegrated systems....We are still storing data in multiple places, we still have separate customer service centers, these systems cost us ½ billion dollars annually. You know, if we always do what we always did, we always get what we always got. Therefore simultaneously we have a team working on truly reengineering the systems through a number of activities such as Common Origination and Disbursement, permitting schools to send to lenders, guarantors and the SFA a common record for reporting and exchanging data, gathering most of the data needed for the FISAP, and permitting us all real time access to data stored one place....but more on that another time.

For we have miles to walk before we sleep. This technology stuff is “way cool” ....but the truth is Student Financial Aid is a people business...not a techo business. By removing barriers, we create dreams.

Newsweek a “message from a Welfare Mom”, The author, Ramona, a community college student sent messages to all of those “professionals” who help her. She begins:

"Like many other single mothers, I am on welfare. I have received Aid to Families with Depending Children ever since I divorced by husband six year ago. Living on government aid does several things to people. It destroys their pride and dignity; it makes them dependent on a system that penalizes them for being willing to work. I’m also made to feel ashamed because I cannot pay for things with my own hard-earned money."

"To the people behind the grocery-store line: You have helped me feel guilty. You chip away at what little pride I have left by snickering to others when I use my food stamps, at the same time commenting loudly about an abuse of taxpayers’ dollars."

"To my children: I did not intend to raise you on welfare. Bear with me a few more years, for I am trying to make a bad situation better. All of you kids have complained about having to apply for the free-lunch program. I know how ashamed you must feel when you’re singled out in the classroom as a free-luncher, and hurt caused by whispers among your friends that you’re poor and your mother is on welfare. I’m sorry for the things I can’t afford. But my biggest apology is for the groceries and boxes of toys you saw delivered to the house four years ago by the Old Newsboys organization."

"To whom it may concern: Do not feel pity for me. I don’t want it. I have been given an abundance of self-worth these past two years. Enrolling in college and getting an education is my key to a future without AFDC. Managing a full-time class load, 20 hours a week on a work-study program, and being a mother hasn’t been easy, but I’ve survived. Every time I cash my work-study check, I get back a piece of my pride. I still use my food stamps in another town, but at the same time I use dollar bills that I have earned myself. With each passing semester my head lifts a little higher. What I could use is a smile of understanding and words of encouragement and support. With help, not hindrance, I will make it."

Last Modified: 07/26/2000