Newman financial aid team focuses on career growth, earning credentials

Jan 26, 2017

The Newman University Financial Aid staff is working hard on staying up to date on the topics and procedures that matter most to them. Director of Financial Aid Myra Pfannenstiel began her Newman career in the fall of 2016, and immediately began the process of getting her team on board with earning accreditation credentials.

Director of Financial Aid Myra Pfannenstiel
Director of Financial Aid Myra Pfannenstiel

Earning the credentials will ensure that the university is staying current and compliant with federal guidelines. According to Pfannenstiel, “Only 32 people in the state of Kansas, including the five of us in the Newman University financial aid office, have credentials.”

Financial Aid Counselor Kara Schwinn, who had already earned her credential during the summer, has been working at Newman for about six years. She said she is happy that Pfannenstiel is encouraging everyone to go through the training. “This is going to help with professional growth,” Schwinn said. “Having that one more thing on my resume and to be able to say that I don’t just do the job, but I have the credential to go with it.”

Schwinn attended the Rocky Mountain Summer Institute in Golden, Colo., during the summer of 2016 where she learned of the Return to Title IV accreditation. The process of calculating how much aid an early exiting student has used, and how much should be returned to the government, is one that is part of her everyday job.

Kara Schwinn (Middle row, right) with part of her group at Summer Institute
Kara Schwinn (Middle row, right) with part of her group at Summer Institute

She said the training gave her a deeper understanding of the process, and the experience was challenging yet enjoyable. “It dealt with scenarios that we don’t see here at Newman, so that’s where the deeper understanding comes in,” she said.

Sharisse Meyer is also a financial aid counselor at Newman and she recently received the credential for Student Eligibility. “The credentialing process is something that definitely makes you more valuable as a counselor,” said Meyer. “But not only that, handling the loan portion of the federal loans is a huge part of what I do. So it helps me understand and know what to look for so I don’t do something against the federal regulation.”

Meyer will be attending the Rocky Mountain Summer Institute this summer and looks forward to discovering more about other credentials she can earn. “I’m planning on continuing to earn credentials, one per year for sure. Possibly two.”

All five associates in financial aid now have credentials, and will continue to work on earning more. Pfannenstiel has 15 of the 16 credentials available and has already scheduled to complete her last training this spring.