TG announces 2008 dates for Financial Aid Leadership Symposium
If you're a supervisor or manager looking to advance in financial aid, you may have noticed the dearth of training opportunities geared specifically for your needs. TG helps fill the void with a unique training experience — the Financial Aid Leadership Symposium, a week-long workshop on the building blocks of good leadership. One of the great advantages of the Symposium is that it applies the principles of leadership — building trust, motivating staff, and having a vision, for example — in the context of a financial aid office. Another advantage is that participants get to learn these concepts as they discuss real-world issues drawn from their own work experiences.
TG has hosted the Symposium annually since 2006. Recently, the corporation set training dates for the 2008 Financial Aid Leadership Symposium, which will be held February 4 - 8 in Round Rock, Texas.
A distinguished track record
The Symposium follows a strongly interactive format so that participants learn the content in a hands-on way. Participants work in small-group exercises, make individual presentations, and discuss financial aid issues in an open forum. Throughout, attendees hear from experts in financial aid and get the feedback of colleagues.
The Symposium helps to groom participants to be leaders, but it also offers a number of other lasting benefits, including an informal network of peers who stay in touch via . Graduates use the 'tree' to seek advice or to get feedback from fellow Symposium participants. "We've become a lifelong 'family' of financial aid administrators," said Sherri Ornelas, director of financial aid at Texas State Technical College in West Texas.
The Symposium also offers participants an opportunity for talking candidly about the challenges and issues they currently face in financial aid. For that reason alone, many find the experience invaluable.
"Authentic feedback, unbiased, unscripted, and sometimes unabashed, is something we do not achieve regularly as adults," said Melet Leafgreen, assistant director of loan programs at Texas Christian University.
TG's second Financial Aid Leadership Symposium, held in February 2007, was a definite success with the 15-member cohort of student financial aid leaders drawn from across the country. Members were energized by discussion and carried back the insights and the spirit of the Symposium to their respective home schools.
"Last year's cohort banded quickly and built strong relationships during the Symposium," said Tom Rebstock, TG senior corporate trainer. "The trust they developed enabled them to analyze issues very deeply and openly."
How can I attend the 2008 Symposium?
To enhance the hands-on learning environment, enrollment in the Symposium is limited to a small, diverse cohort of selected applicants.
To apply, complete an application located on TG Online at www.tgslc.org/training/leaders.
The application deadline is December 1, 2007.
The fee for the symposium is $1,000 per participant. The fee includes the full week of classes and materials, as well as hotel accommodations and selected meals.
To learn more about TG's Financial Aid Leadership Symposium, visit TG Online at www.tgslc.org/training/leaders or contact Tom Rebstock at (800) 252-9743, ext. 2835, or send an message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back to Top
Meet Kathy Campbell, TG's account executive for California
After working 23 years in most every area of financial aid, Kathy Campbell stays dedicated to her profession for one simple reason.
"Knowing how many doors higher education can open for an individual who is willing to make the long term commitment to college has always inspired me," said Campbell.
Campbell is energized by the social good that she contributes to as a professional working for higher education. And she projects that enthusiasm as TG's account executive for California, traveling the state for much of the year and meeting with financial aid administrators on campus or at conferences and training events. Her mission is simple: Help schools educate students and families about financial aid — and student loans, in particular; and offer TG's expertise in training on industry and regulatory issues to financial aid staff.
She describes the concrete benefits that training can offer this way.
"It's very gratifying when someone tells you that you're the first person who has really listened and offered solutions to a question or problem," said Campbell.
A varied perspective
Campbell has a rich background of professional experience to draw on. She taught elementary school — grade 4 — for five years. She was then drawn to work in financial aid in 1984 when a position came open at Indian River Community College in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
"It seemed a good fit, having been a teacher for the previous five years," said Campbell. "The kids were a little older certainly, but still looking for answers. I hoped to be able to help them find those answers. Even now, more than two decades later, I still hope I can help them find the answers."
After three years in Indian River, Campbell went to work for a developer of financial aid software. Later, she augmented her financial aid and industry knowledge by serving with several lenders, including Sallie Mae.
"I remember thinking that I would probably stay in a traveling job for three years or so," said Campbell. "After I got tired of the traveling, I would get out and return to a more traditional office job at a school. It hasn't happened yet!"
As an account executive for TG, Campbell likes the one-on-one opportunity of talking with schools about their needs and tailoring solutions for those needs. Sometimes this help comes in the form of training in better office practices; it can also come by answering questions on CommonLine processing, or even providing advice on using staff better.
At the moment, Campbell is pouring energy into planning a training session for schools in the Los Angeles area for the fall. And she and co-presenters will be offering several sessions at the California Community Colleges Student Financial Aid Administrators Association (CCCSFAAA) Annual Conference in December. Check future editions of Shoptalk Online for more information.
To learn more
Campbell can be reached at (800) 252-9743, ext. 2506, or by at email@example.com. You can also find out more about TG's training and learn how to request a training event for your institution at www.tgslc.org/speakers/index.cfm.
Back to Top
Spotlight on TG's Public Benefit Grant Program: the McLennan Community College Foundation's "First Generation College Student Initiative"
McLennan Community College, located in Waco, Texas, serves about 7,500 students, one-third of whom live at or below poverty level and more than half being first-generation college students. About two years ago, the college's nonprofit, fundraising arm — the McLennan Community College Foundation — began a multi-faceted campaign, called the First Generation College Student Initiative, to support these students as well as reach out to the local community.
The initiative's objective is two-fold: to ensure the long-term academic and career success of the college's students, and to raise levels of college enrollment among local communities. The approach is comprehensive, offering scholarships, organizing college-prep courses, partnering with local community organizations, providing a summer orientation program, conducting research, offering early outreach to students in grades 4 and up, and even connecting students with mentoring services.
TG supports the work of this varied and interesting initiative with a grant from its Public Benefit Grant Program. To learn more about the program, — recently talked with Harry Harelik, executive director for the First Generation College Student Initiative.
Q.: The First Generation College Student Initiative relies partly on partnerships with local churches, schools, and other organizations. Can you describe how you established your partnerships and what they do for the initiative?
A.: We established a broad-based advisory committee, which has roots in the community and provided connection to many of the partnerships with whom we work. The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants provided the financial literacy training for participants. McLennan County Youth Collaboration conducted roundtable discussion for our research activities. Waco Independent School District (ISD) is assisting with the ACT/SAT preparation courses at all area high schools. We hope to get college access information — and support for higher education — to come through the pastors at local churches. Parents of some ethnic groups are more comfortable going to church than coming to their children's school and the message may be more meaningful coming from pastors and church-going peers.
Q.: Why does the initiative begin its outreach activities so early — at the fourth grade?
A.: After studying the First Generation College Student Initiative and objectives, we realized that many local students were dropping out in or just before the ninth grade. Therefore, efforts to talk to 11th and 12th graders about college weren't reaching many of the students. Also, unless a student and his or her parents are aware of the grade and course requirements for college entrance early in the student's educational career, the student can and often does end up as a senior in high school with the wrong courses and inadequate grades to enter many colleges in which they might be interested. The key to higher successful graduation rates is early knowledge of the requirements to achieve higher education. The seed must be planted very early for students to do well in reading, writing, and math and to lay the foundation for later learning successes.
Q.: Students who were mentored as freshmen in your initiative become mentors to students entering the program. What is the benefit of this?
A.: Though this part of the program is in its infancy, we have two things in mind with this expectation of students. The student will have a feeling of "giving back" or "repaying" and hopefully experience the thrill of helping someone else — hopefully laying the groundwork for future leadership and a sense of civic and philanthropic responsibility. And, because the student mentor has already been through the initial year, we are hoping the student mentors will relate more candidly and completely to those they mentor.
Q.: Can you describe how the initiative's research will be used?
A.: The hope is that the research will guide us on how to approach Hispanic families in our outreach. We will make this information available to other colleges and universities so that the same success might be achieved in other areas of the state and nation.
About TG's Public Benefit Award Program
TG established its Public Benefit Award Program to promote college access and student retention in higher education. The program provides grants to institutions that have projects and services created to enhance academic access and success.
To receive funds, organizations were required to submit proposals that addressed the issue of access to postsecondary education and that focused on the needs of first-generation college students, students from high schools with low college-going rates, and/or students who are underrepresented in higher education.
To learn more
If you'd like to learn more about TG's Public Benefit Grant Program, you'll find a description of its purpose and process on TG Online at www.tgslc.org/public_benefit/index.cfm.
Back to Top