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2014 NASFAA National Conference Highlights

Music City CenterMore than 2,500 financial aid professionals convened in Nashville, Tennessee starting on Sunday, June 30, for 4 days of activities centered on professional development– training sessions, up-to-date information on student aid programs from financial aid veterans, awards, product and software updates, and, of course, networking.

Below are some of the highlights of the conference, including federal updates given by Department of Education officials on the final day of the conference, links to other conference video footage, and conference-related Today's News articles and Facebook albums. 

Keynote Speakers

Ron ClarkThe NASFAA National Conference kicked off Sunday with a rousing keynote speech from educator Ron Clark, a Disney American Teacher of the Year and two-time bestselling New York Times author. As an educator, he’s helped students from suburban North Carolina to New York City’s Harlem succeed, often against tough odds. “The most important this is, I just believed in these kids,” Clark said. “When I saw potential in them, they started to see it in themselves.” Financial aid administrators play a similar role for the students they serve, Clark said – particularly when they show students they care.

HendrickPulitzer Prize-winning author Hedrick Smith gave a heartfelt speech to conferees the morning of June 30th. In his speech, Smith offered a historical perspective of the United States’ economy and the division of poverty and prosperity dating back to the Great Depression.“The cost of education has changed in terms of the burden that students and their families carry,” Smith said. To help these families, we need to reduce the inequality of income in America, Smith told conferees. 

View Hedrick Smith's speech.

Sen AlexanderSen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) gave a timely speech on June 30th at the NASFAA National Conference about the bipartisan act the Senator recently introduced that would, in part, reduce the number of questions on the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to two: family size and prior-prior year income.  At the end of his speech, Alexander received the Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award, one of NASFAA’s highest honors, from departing National Chair Craig Munier. 

View Senator Alexander's speech. 

Featured Events

Awards Luncheon And Business Meeting

Conference attendees congregated for the Awards Luncheon And Business Meeting, where a number of deserving recipients were awarded and recognized. 


Get the full list of 2014 award recipients. 

Federal Update

New National Chair Eileen O'Leary and Education Department (ED) officials shared news with NASFAA National Conference attendees at the closing breakfast Wednesday in Nashville. ED officials Jeff Baker and Lynn Mahaffie provided information about updates to the Department of Education's Title IV activities and initiatives. Topics included the President's Title IV budget proposals, including the status of sequestration; changes to Title IV programs as a result of the Supreme Court's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) decision; and an update on the Department's regulatory efforts. 


View the Federal Update Presentation (PDF) 

A New Leader

Eileen O'Leary Inaugural Speech StillOn Tuesday, July 1 the NASFAA membership welcomed its new National Chair, Eileen O’Leary of Stonehill College, who gave an inspirational speech about the year ahead.

View Eileen O'Leary's address to the NASFAA membership. 


NASFAA Year in Review

Attendees enjoyed this short video about the events, happenings, and accomplishments of NASFAA members across the country throughout the past year.

Daily Summaries from Today's News

Select Session Overviews

Executive Summaries of additional selected education sessions will soon be available to conference attendees. Handouts from sessions are also currently available to conference attendees.

NASFAA Conference Goes Social