2024 New Aid Officers Workshop (NAOW)

NAOW Registration CLOSED

WHEN:   April 10-12, 2024

WHERE:  Great Wolf Lodge 100 Great Wolf Dr, Grapevine, TX 76051

New Aid Officers Workshop (NAOW) is a safe learning space where new financial aid staff or even seasoned financial officers will gain invaluable knowledge and refresh their minds.

     While aid officers are here they will take back with them timely information on the following topics: 

        -FAFSA and Student Eligibility
        -Need Analysis and Calculating EFC

        -Cost of Attendance
        -Loans & Repayment Plans
        -Pell Grant and Campus Based Programs
        -Return of Title IV
        -State Financial Aid in Texas
        -State Resources
        -Professional Judgement
        -Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
        -Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Attendees must make their own hotel reservations by March 21, 2024. Click this link for our dedicated registration link: 2024 New Aid Officers Workshop Hotel Reservation.  If that does not work for you, visit www.greatwolf.com/grapevine using the offer code 2404TAFS.

This will grant them a Family Suite at the wonderfully reduced price of $129.00 a night. Each Family Suite includes 4 water park wrist bands.  Attendees can also commute in daily and enjoy free parking at the conference center. Water park access limited to those staying at the hotel.

Check in for training will open at 8:00am on Wednesday, April 10th with sessions beginning promptly at 9:00 am each day. The Workshop will conclude at noon on Friday, April 12th.The Registration cost of $350 includes the cost for all materials, Thursday & Friday Breakfast, Wednesday & Thursday Lunch, and snack breaks for all 3 days.

Click here to apply for the Mack Adams Scholarship!

If you are your institution's designated Key Contact, you will see two buttons:  [Register Yourself] and [Register a Linked Profile].  If you are registering someone else, choose [Register Linked Profile]. The list of linked profiles will appear on the next page.  If the person you wish to add is not on that page, you must add them to your organizational profile first before they will appear here.

Register Here

  Training Committee

2024 Training Committee / Presenters

Melissa Jones- Chair

Melissa is the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Her primary responsibility is to manage all aspects of the student loan programs, including the Federal Direct Loan Programs (subsidized, unsubsidized, Parent PLUS, and Graduate PLUS), State Loan Programs, and alternative loan programs. She has worked in the financial aid office for over 7 years and has worked in higher education for over 13 years. She is passionate about educating students about their financial assistance and the effects of over-borrowing.

Melissa has also worked on financial literacy, degree-eligible hours, compliance, verification, SAP, Pell Grant program, and Hazelwood Act Exemption. Melissa has received her bachelor’s degree in Business Finance at the University of Phoenix and has earned her direct loans and student eligibility credential from NASFAA.


Cecelia Jones

Cecelia Jones is currently the Director of Financial Aid at Jarvis Christian University. She has 31 years of experience as a financial aid administrator and has worked with financial aid professionals while serving in state, regional, and national associations. Cecelia has served on TASFAA’s Board of Director’s as a member-at-large and several TASFAA committees such as the Awards and Scholarship Chair and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair. Additionally, she presently serves as a member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Financial Aid Advisory Committee. Cecelia earned her Bachelor’s degree from Wiley College and her Master of Education degree from Abilene Christian University and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Education from Abilene Christian University.

Sarah Gordon

Past Chair

Sarah Gordon

Sarah is the Assistant Director for Compliance in Scholarships & Financial Aid at Texas A&M University and has over 7 years of experience in higher education. Sarah has worked in various areas, including Return to Title IV, beginning attendance, and federal program reconciliation. In addition, she currently handles compliance related to consumer information, policies, and procedures. She loves problem-solving, so she enjoys the challenges that all of those areas present. In her spare time, she enjoys baking for her family and knitting.

Sarah has her master’s degree from the University of Toronto and her bachelor’s degree from Penn State University. She has earned the designation of R2T4 specialist from NASFAA. In addition, she has completed the following NASFAA credentials: Application Process, Cash Management, Consumer Information, Direct Loans, Professional Judgement, Student Eligibility, Return to Title IV, and TEACH Grant.

Erin Dunham

Erin is a financial aid advisor for San Jacinto Community College in Houston Texas. After her own experience achieving a degree in higher education, she wanted to assist others in fulfilling their goals. Her primary responsibility includes daily interactions with students helping them manage their financial aid. She has worked in financial aid for almost 2 years and enjoys finding ways to improve the processes at her institution to make financial aid a pleasant experience for students.

Erin has a bachelor’s in psychology from Sam Houston State University. She has completed Financial Coach Training and the following NASFAA credentials: Satisfactory Academic Progress, Campus-Based Programs, Student Eligibility, & Application Process 

Bruce Ware

Bruce Ware is an esteemed professional with over 25 years of experience in the Financial Aid industry. Currently serving as the Interim Coordinator for Financial Aid at Houston Community College, Bruce has demonstrated a profound commitment to facilitating educational opportunities. He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas Southern University, solidifying his academic foundation. Beyond his professional achievements, Bruce is a devoted family man, proud to be the father of two daughters. His journey reflects a steadfast dedication to fostering access to education and supporting the aspirations of students.

Ilaria Puente

Ilaria Puente (she/her/first gen) is an Associate Director of Financial aid at Rice University. A native Houstonian and non-traditional University of Houston-Downtown graduate. Ilaria started her career in financial aid in 2009 as a Federal Work Study. In her current role she works with the FAFSA, CSS Profile, and family income and asset documents to apply for financial aid. She also helps families determine the affordability of a Rice education.

Julie Finn

Julie Finn is the Head of Campus Development in the Southwest for College Ave. Julie has been involved in higher education for over 20 years, working in both the admissions and financial aid office, before moving to the education finance side. She lives in Illinois with her 2 teenagers, 1 dog, and a fish that has defied the odds so far. She doesn't take herself too seriously, but she is passionate about helping families in their journey to pay for college, especially those who question whether or not it can actually be accomplished.

Current Presentations

Presentation Title   Presentation
FAFSA and Student Eligibility  
Need Analysis and SAI  
Professional Judgment  
Pell Grants and Campus Based Programs  
THECB Update-State Programs  
New and Next    


Prior Years' Presentations and Handouts

Presentations and handouts from previous years' New Aid Officers' Workshops can be found here.