Great Turnout for SLAP

Yesterday, the St. Louis Aid Professional Group, commonly and endearingly know as SLAP, met for the first time in quite some time. It was a great turnout and there was a lot of good discussion. Samantha Matchefts, UMSL, MASFAP President, shared updates in regards to MASFAP and Melissa Findley, Missouri Scholarship & Loan Foundation spoke about a new state initiative called MOCAN. There was discussion and ideas shared about many topics. The group overwhelmingly wanted to continue SLAP, and decided on quarterly meetings and rotating the location. Greg Hutchinson, SLU, and Kathy Dixon, MOHELA, agreed to help coordinate the next meeting.

May is National Military Appreciation Month By Lorrie Baird

May is National Military Appreciation Month.  I am a military mom and I have a son who is serving in the Air Force and is currently deployed overseas.  I want to remind everyone to remember current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who died in the pursuit of freedom.  The military has played a very important role in the development of our country.  The U.S. Army was created in 1775 to protect the freedom of the first 13 colonies.  Since then our military has grown into a leading fighting force which serves to defend our vast population and to protect our national interests.

One of the benefits of being in the military is the GI Bill which helps servicemembers, veterans, and their families to achieve their education goals through a variety of GI Bill programs.  The purpose of the GI Bill is to reward members of the Armed Forces for their service and to give them a means to readjust to civilian life after serving.

Many of us deal with military and veteran students daily helping them reach their goals and achieve their full potential.  Many Veterans returning to college face unique challenges and it is up to faculty and staff to help transitioning soldiers through all means possible.  As Bob Lutz, a Marine veteran and motor industry veteran (GM, Chrysler, Ford, BMW) once said,

Veterans personify economic strength… veterans represent the ready workforce for the 21st century… veterans, regardless of their generation, have the soft skills that every employer seeks: team players with a strong work ethic, loyalty, the ability to start a job, and get it done all the way through. 

It is imperative for institutions of higher education to provide a supportive environment for veterans to transition from the military to civilian life while earning a college degree. Focusing on student veterans’ assets fosters their confidence and resiliency. Higher education faculty & staff can work with student veterans to improve veteran recruitment, admissions, advising, retention, graduation rates, and support.

Take time to recognize veteran and military students during the month of May, National Military Appreciation Month.  And don’t forget Memorial Day a day to remember and honor persons who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is because of these brave men and women that we can live the lives we live.

Soldier Poem

By Angela Goodwin

There is discipline in A Soldier you can see it when he walks,
There is honor in A Soldier you hear it when he talks.
There is courage in A Soldier you can see it in his eyes,
There is loyalty in A Soldier that he will not compromise.
There is something in A Soldier that makes him stand apart,
There is strength in A Soldier that beats from his heart.
A Soldier isn’t a title any man can be hired to do,
A Soldier is the soul of that man buried deep inside of you.
A Soldier’s job isn’t finished after an 8 hour day or a 40 hour week,
A Soldier is always A Soldier even while he sleeps.
A Soldier serves his country first and his life is left behind,
A Soldier has to sacrifice what comes first in a civilian’s mind.
If you are civilian – I am saying this to you…..
Next time you see A Soldier remember what they do.
A Soldier is the reason our land is ‘Home of the free’,
A Soldier is the one that is brave protecting you and me.
If you are A Soldier – I am saying this to you…..
Thank God for EVERY SOLDIER Thank God for what YOU do!

Lorrie’s son

Announcing the 2019 MASFAP High School Counselor Workshops By Kayla Klein

The Early Awareness committee has worked with schools across the state to set the dates for the fall 2019 high school counselor workshops. We will be hosting nine, free workshops across the state of Missouri for high school counselors to attend. The purpose is for MASFAP members to build relationships with the high school counselors, as well as to present information and updates regarding the FAFSA, the award letter process, verification, and other pertinent financial aid topics. This year we will be collaborating with MDHE to also provide information on their services that counselors can utilize to assist students.  Our first workshop will be held in St. Louis on Friday, September 13 and MASFAP partners with St. Louis Graduates and EducationPlus to put on this particular workshop.  All nine workshops will be held between September 13 and October 11. See the below Save the Date card with the locations and dates!

Please help the Early Awareness Committee to get the word out about this events by forwarding the dates to your contacts at the high schools in your area.  Additionally, Kayla Klein will be emailing the counselors who attended the workshops last year. Again, thank you for your support of MASFAP and these workshops – partnerships with the high schools is so important to the success of students!

MASFAPWorkshops19 SaveTheDate

Kayla Klein is MASFAP’s Early Awareness Chair

My Helpful Travel Tips By Kayla Klein

Over the past several weeks, I have traveled to meet new Tigers that are soon headed our way. This got me thinking about all the packing I do for work travel, and also for all the spring break and summer fun. Being on the road whether it be by car, plane, or bus I have discovered some helpful tips to make the process easier.

  1. Make a list. I make a list of all the items that I need to pack right down to the snacks that I want to pack. You can make your list in your planner, excel sheet, on your phone, anywhere that you can use a quick reference. It is also a way to make sure that you do not forget anything that you might need.
  2. Packing cubes!!! Okay, so I have been told about packing cubes for a couple of years now, and I was like… how can a bunch of squares possibly make my packing better? I can now say they are amazing! I bought some packing cubes for my last round of travel to Dallas and Chicago at Marshalls, figured I would give them a try. My suitcase stayed organized, I was able to roll all my clothes (and they stayed rolled), and I was able to fit way more in my suitcase. Packing dress clothes and keeping them nice is always a struggle, but with the packing cubes it was no problem at all. Amazon has some great options for packing cubes; however, you can get them all over.
  3. A coat that does not take up a lot of space is a must for me. Going from one weather extreme to another is hard to pack for and packing a coat in your suitcase can take up too much of the room. I found the perfect coat that can be rolled up, fits in its own bag to limit space, and fits perfect my suitcase… plus it is water resistant so it works in the rain too.
  4. A good set of headphones is a necessity; noise cancelling ones are nice when you are on a crowded bus or airplane. So, I have multiple pairs of headphones, and yes I travel with multiple pairs of headphones for different scenarios I encounter. It sounds crazy, but I always fear I will lose a pair, or worse break a pair, and I do not want to scramble to buy another set while traveling. I have done this before and paid way too much for them. A good set of headphones also helps to block out the noise as you read your book or work as you sit in the airport.
  5. External battery pack. This is a lifesaver especially when all the charging stations are full in the airport… or you have to sit on the plane waiting to take off… and you need to charge your phone. It is also handy on a long bus trip and your seat is not next to an outlet. I also carry a charging tower that I bought at Target for $5.00 which allows me to charge four things at once. It is easy to pack and you only need the tower and the cords so there is less to lose and less to pack.
  6. My last “must have” is a good carryon bag/backpack. One that has lots of pockets that you are able to find items easily and fit all the things that you need. It should be lightweight and one that can hook onto another suitcase is ideal so you minimize the items that you have to carry.

Over the years, I have nearly perfected a packing strategy that works for me and have tweaked my ways (such as my new found excitement for packing cubes). I also love learning new tips and tricks on how other people travel. Hope mine help and feel free to share your tips below on this blog! Happy traveling!

Kayla Klein is MASFAP’s Early Awareness Chair