General Sessions & Highlights
Opening Session with Scott Giles, President & CEO, VSAC
Scott Giles is President at the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. Scott has devoted his career to expanding access to education and training for students of all ages. From 2008-2009 he served as Chair of the Federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. He currently serves on the boards of the National Council of Community and Education Partnerships, National Council of Higher Education Resources, Education Finance Council, Vermont Higher Education Council, and the Vermont Workforce Investment Board. He serves as chair of the Vermont PreK-16 Council and is one of the leaders of the Vermont 70x2025 education and training initiative.
Prior to joining VSAC, Mr. Giles served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the House Committee on Science. As Deputy Chief of Staff he advised the Chairman on education, space and research policy and managed the Subcommittees on Research and Space and Aeronautics. Mr. Giles was a principal staff member on the Mathematics and Science Partnerships Act, the Tech Talent Act, the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act, the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002. He also served as one of the principal staff members of the Science Committee Space Shuttle Columbia accident investigation. From 1997 to 2001, he served on the professional staff of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions where he advised the Chairman on budget, education and research policy. Mr. Giles served as the Committee’s chief staff negotiator for budget and appropriations and was a principal staff member on the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 1998, and the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. Prior to joining the Committee, he worked for ten years as a Senior Associate and team leader at Cassidy & Associates where he provided government and public affairs services to colleges, universities, hospitals and non-profit organizations. From 1982-1986, he served as legislative director for the Honorable Frank Horton (R-NY). Mr. Giles has a BA in religious studies from St. Lawrence University and an MA and PhD in religious ethics from the University of Virginia. He writes and speaks extensively on education and science policy.
Student Loan Crisis—Rhetoric or Reality: A Walk Through The Current Research And Its Implications
Sometimes it seems that a day doesn’t go by without a headline proclaiming the burgeoning student loan debt crisis, the impact it is having on students, the economy, and raising questions about the value of postsecondary education. Anecdotes make powerful headlines but what does the research say? Join Scott Giles has he guides you through the current research on student debt to distinguish rhetoric from reality and the implications for policy and your efforts to educate families and support informed conversations on your campus.
General Session with NASFAA President Justin Draeger – Inside the Beltway Update
NASFAA President and CEO Justin Draeger will provide a high level overview of the Washington political climate, overall trends in student aid, and an overview of pending legislative proposals. The session will also provide an overview of NASFAA-led projects, services, and advocacy efforts.
Justin serves as the primary voice of NASFAA and as the liaison between the association members, the U.S. Congress, federal agencies and the media. Most of Justin’s career has been devoted to assisting disadvantaged populations achieve their educational goals and better their communities. Since 2002, Justin has been engaged in either administering, interpreting, communicating, or developing student financial aid policy. His prior experiences include working as a financial aid director, regulatory and policy analyst, and spokesperson. He has held senior positions overseeing government relations, communications, and policy work. Justin is frequently quoted in the press and has appeared on The Today Show on NBC, National Public Radio, APM’s Marketplace, Fox Business News, CNBC, and C-SPAN, and is often quoted in national news outlets. Justin currently serves on the boards of directors of Baker College, the Association Mutual Health Insurance Company, and other organizations that promote health and education. He earned his undergraduate from Brigham Young University and his MBA from Baker College. Justin lives in Fairfax, VA with his wife and three children, where he spends his free time shuttling children to various events, playing racquetball, running or swimming.
Keynote Session with Dr. Shaunna Payne Gold, Associate Director, Assessment & Student Development, University of Maryland
Dr. Shaunna Payne Gold is the Associate Director for Assessment and Student Development in the Office Multi-ethnic Student Education at the University of Maryland College Park. As the sole assessment administrator for the unit, she is responsible for drafting student learning outcomes, designing data collection, and drafting reports for programs under the Division of Academic Affairs. She currently serves on numerous committees including the Faculty Senate – Committee on Education, Diversity, & Inclusion, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion Assessment Working Group co-chair, Undergraduate Program Advisory Council, President’s Commission on LGBT Issues, and previously served on the search committee for Deputy Director to the University’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. Gold recently completed her Project Management Master Certification at Harvard University. Dr. Gold is also affiliate staff with the Office of LGBT Equity at the University of Maryland, teaching such fundamental courses as Rainbow Terrapin Training. She won the “Advocate for Equity” Award from the Rainbow Terrapin Network in 2010. More recently she was inducted into the Lavender Leadership Honor Society as one of four staff members alongside student leaders. Dr. Gold has been fortunate to teach both at the University of Maryland and at The George Washington University as a professorial lecturer. Dr. Gold’s most popular courses at GW include Intercultural Campus Leadership, Helping Skills in Student Affairs, Intercultural Campus Leadership, Multicultural Lens for Programming on Campus, and Student Development Theory.
Dr. Gold has a Doctor of Education degree from The George Washington University in Higher Education Administration; her dissertation focused on spiritual development of non-heterosexual undergraduate students. Dr. Gold also has a Masters of Divinity from Eastern Mennonite University with a focus on Campus Ministry, and a Bachelors of Business Administration from James Madison University in Marketing and Computer Information Systems. Dr. Gold is a committed mom to two boys -- Charles Gold III (6) and Kendrick Edward Gold (3) -- as well as a triathlete, marathoner, and Masters' Swim Coach for adult learners.
This session will highlight our implicit biases and assumptions which may affect our administrative work in higher education. Given changing Federal laws, specific State perspectives, and unique campus contexts, we will discuss the multiple identities of our students and how we can be supportive of their persistence to graduation. In addition, join Dr. Gold for a follow-up concurrent session, Stay With It: Applying Diversity Awareness to Your Living Case Study, where you’ll have the opportunity for some hands on work in the form of case studies in small groups with your colleagues! These real-life case studies concerning complex multiple identities issues will assist to further increase your awareness and ability to improve student persistence to graduation and to make your workplace a more receptive and effective environment for everyone.
Federal Update with Jeff Baker, U.S. Department of Education
Jeff Baker is no stranger to financial aid and to EASFAA. He has been a student aid professional for more than 30 years, starting at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and including almost 20 years at San Francisco State University. Prior to entering the field of financial aid, Jeff was a public school teacher in the Port Washington Wisconsin public schools. For over a decade, Jeff has been employed at the Department of Education where he is currently the Director of the Policy Liaison and Implementation Staff for Federal Student Aid. In that capacity he advises senior FSA management on all statutory, regulatory, and policy matters that relate to the Title IV Federal student aid programs.
Don’t miss this closing session to get the latest update from the Department of Education.
Federal Concurrent Sessions with Pam Gilligan, U.S. Department of Education (and EASFAA Past-President)
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she started as a work -study student in the Office of Financial Aid, Pam Gilligan has been in the field of higher education for over 30 years. During that time, Pam has worked as a financial aid professional at institutions in Connecticut and the Boston area, including Trinity College, Regis College, Boston College, and Berklee College of Music.
Pam has served as President of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) and EASFAA, the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, representing EASFAA on the NASFAA Board of Directors.
Several years ago, Pam took a slight course change and moved into higher education marketing, spending eight years as Director of the Northeast Region for the National Student Clearinghouse. Following that stint, Pam returned as a financial aid consultant for several schools and organizations bringing her back to college campuses, as well as creating national training for volunteer tax preparers providing free assistance to low-income families completing the FAFSA.
In 2011, Pam joined Federal Student Aid/ED as a Training Officer based in the Boston regional office combining with Training Officer, Anita Olivencia to represent Region I.