2019 WFAA Annual Conference

The Convention Center
Yakima, WA
Tuesday, October 22nd – Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Conference Registration Form

2019 WFAA Annual Conference took place at the Yakima Convention Center on Tuesday, October 22nd – Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Important Conference Announcements:

  • All sessions of the conference have been approved for continuing education clock hours for all High School Educators!!
  • To be able to provide all attendees the best possible conference experience, WFAA is partnering with Whova!! So don’t forget to download the App on your smartphone before the conference!
  • There is a full interest session description as well as a quick guide listing above the Tuesday schedule.
  • A special, pre-conference session has been added for Tuesday morning through WASFAA!  Please see the updated schedule.  Registration for the pre-conference session is separate from WFAA and the link is provided below.

 Keynote Speakers:

 October 22nd Luncheon, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

 Dr. Kathleen Ross

Dr. Ross is nationally known as a leader in higher education, especially in the field of cross-cultural communication. Her career in higher education spans more than four decades. In the 1970s, she served as provost of Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane where she oversaw the creation of outreach programs in Toppenish and Omak that extended the opportunity for four-year college degrees to rural, underserved and low-income populations typically overlooked by higher education institutions.

When Fort Wright College was forced to close, Sister Kathleen Ross, snjm worked with two Yakama Indian women, Martha B. Yallup and Violet Lumley Rau to start Heritage College in Toppenish as its founding President. She oversaw its growth from 85 students to more than 1400, and she stepped down in 2010. Today, she maintains her ties to Heritage and is working to share the success of the Heritage model with colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Dr. Ross has received numerous awards, including the 1989 Harold McGraw Prize in education, the 1991 John Carroll Award from Georgetown University, the 1995 Washington State Medal of Merit, and in 1997 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, the so-called “Genius Award.” She has received honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities including Dartmouth, Alverno, Pomona, Whitworth, Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Pacific Lutheran, Puget Sound and Seattle University. Dr. Ross holds a B.A. degree from Fort Wright College (the predecessor to Heritage University), an M.A. from Georgetown University, and a Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate University. At Claremont, she did her dissertation on cultural factors affecting the success of American Indian students in higher education.


October 23rd Breakfast, 8:00 am – 9:30 am

Javonnie Shearn

Javonnie Shearn is the Executive Director and Founder of Up and Over, LLC. Up and Over’s mission is to provide youth with the fundamental supports, techniques and strategies to empower them to successfully navigate life’s challenges, thereby achieving and maintaining a position of mental, spiritual and emotional balance. Up and Over was the result of her willingness to start a program for women in recovery but decided she did not want to wait until a young person needed recovery before helping.

As an advocate for youth, Javonnie has worked for six plus years creating and facilitating workshops, trainings and dialogues that support and equip youth, educators and parents. She has also worked with various school districts as a mentor and/or provided mentors through Up and Over’s programs. She has been speaking professionally for five years, covering a range of topics to both large and small audiences. She uses story telling as a way to connect the lessons she's learned and shares them in both entertaining and emotional ways!

Javonnie’s other areas of interests include issues related to youth transitioning out of correctional facilities back into the public school system and/or the workforce and educating and supporting youth and young adults experience mental illness. Being a parent of an adult son with schizophrenia and having to learn to navigate the system, she knows the emotional, mental and physical toll it can take on everyone involved. She recently began developing a program called “Someone’s Someone” which will help parents advocate for their loved ones and in July of 2017 was appointed to the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board.


Conference Agenda

For a listing of the interest sessions, please look at the following:

2019 Conference Interest Session Guide (Updated 9/30/19)
2019 Interest Session Quick Guide (Grid-updated 9/30/19)

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019:

Time Agenda Item
8:00 AM-5:00 PM Vendors Exhibit
7:30 AM-3:00 PM Registration
8:00 AM-11:00 AM WFAA Executive Meeting
8:30 AM-12:00 PM Special Pre-Conference Training-Separate Registration through WASFAA-See note below
11:00 AM-11:55 AM Newcomer's Welcome Session
12:00 PM-1:30 PM Welcome Luncheon, Keynote: Dr. Kathleen Ross
1:40 PM-2:50 PM Interest Session #1
  Washington State Opportunity Scholarship
  You Said What?  Effective Communications Tools
  Diversity Training
  Student Loan Advocate Update
2:50 PM-3:00 PM Break
3:10 PM-4:20 PM Interest Session #2
  Diversity Training
  5 Best Practices to Drive Scholarship Fund
  Passport to Careers Update
  Re imagining the Financial Aid Experience 
4:20 PM-4:30 PM Break
4:30 PM-5:30 PM Interest Session #3
  The WASFA: From Applying to Awarding
  Common Misconceptions about Financial Aid
  A Comprehensive Guide to Student Success in Higher Education
  Financial Aid 101
6:15 PM Off Site Social Networking Event


Note:  Pre-Conference Training Offered by WASFAA.  8:30 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesday.  Room is still TBA

Join us for an informative and interactive session in which we’ll explore the Administrative Capability standards a school must meet in order to participate in the Title IV HEA programs, along with some tools, or “Life Hacks,” to thrive in the sometimes stressful world of higher education administration.
“Demonstrating administrative capability to participate in the Title IV programs involves virtually every office within an institution, making compliance a campus-wide commitment and responsibility.”  NASFAA U Self-Study Guide: Administrative Capability

Included in the $55 WASFAA-member registration fee for this NASFAA Authorized event is the NASFAA U Self-Study Guide, regularly priced by NASFAA at $218, and voucher for up to two attempts to pass the Administrative Capability credential examination, a total value of more than $300. 
“All the Title IV expertise in the world will not achieve administrative capability if it resides in the financial aid office alone. An institution’s administration must be aware of requirements that cut across offices, and must facilitate interoffice cooperation. Other offices that perform functions affected by administrative capability rules must understand the ramifications of noncompliance and the benefits of willing assistance in satisfying federal regulations.”  NASFAA U Self-Study Guide: Administrative Capability 

Registration for the Pre-Conference training is separate from the WFAA Annual Conference and is available through the WASFAA site here.


 Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019:

Time Agenda Item
8:00 AM-5:00 PM Vendors Exhibit
7:30 AM-11:30 AM Registration
8:00 AM-9:30 AM Breakfast, Keynote Speaker: Javonnie Shearn
9:40 AM-10:50 AM Interest Session #4
  5 Best Practices to Drive Scholarship Fund
  Student Borrower Struggles & What Schools Can Do to Help
  Coming Together to Support Financial Aid Completion
10:50 AM-11:00 AM Break
11:00 AM-12:10 AM Interest Session #5
  Ask a Question, Save a Life
  Communicating Affordability to Prospective Students
  Charting your Financial Aid Career
  State Board for Community & Technical Colleges' Worker Retraining Program
12:20 PM-1:50 PM Luncheon, NASFAA/WASFAA Updates, WFAA Annual Awards
2:00 PM-3:10 PM Interest Session #6
  Managing Your Mindset
  Loan Limits: Why They Matter
  Professional Judgement
  Cost of Attendance & Award Letters
3:10 PM-3:20 PM Break
3:20 PM-4:30 PM Interest Session #7
  Self-Care in the Workplace
  Financial Literacy for High School Students
  R2T4 Essentials
  Internal & External Threats Facing Title IV Institutions
4:40 PM Sector Meetings
Dinner on your Own  


Thursday, Oct 24, 2019:

Time Agenda Item
8:00 AM-8:30 AM Breakfast
8:30 AM-9:00 AM Conference Charity Update
9:00 AM-10:00 AM WFAA Business Meeting (minutes from last year's business meeting)
10:00 AM-11:00 AM WSAC Update
11:00 AM-12:00 PM Federal Update
12:00 PM-12:15 PM Closure and Farewell


For this Year’s WFAA conference charity, we have decided to partner with Noah’s Ark, a homeless shelter, located in the Yakima Valley. With winter just around the corner, they are in great need of winter clothing and supplies.


Conference attendees can donate in two ways:


  1. Bring winter clothing (i.e. gloves, scarves, socks, beanies, gently used coats, underwear) or hygiene supplies (i.e. bar soap/body wash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, etc.). A donation table will be set up at the conference.
  2. At the conference, the donation’s table will be accepting monetary donations from anyone who was not able to bring any winter clothing or supplies.  All donations will be used by WFAA to purchase winter clothing and supplies for Noah’s Ark.


About Noah’s Ark:

In 2007, concerned community leaders from Wapato, the Yakama Indian Nation, and drug-counseling representatives met to discuss solutions regarding chronic homeless in the rural, poor area - many of them sleeping and living on the streets and parks in Wapato. The Rev. David Hacker purchased a large building in a commercial part of Wapato and with the help of several local agencies, was able to open an emergency shelter for those in need of nourishment, medical services, and a place to sleep.

Noah's Ark is named after Sheri Noah, a Presbyterian minister who dedicated her life to meeting the needs of the poor, the disadvantaged, and the homeless. Following her untimely death from cancer, David Hacker dedicated his life to continue that mission of helping others by providing his place to Generating Hope as a place where the lost can find their way - and rebuild their lives (Generate Hope).

In a remote, rural area where there are few alternatives for shelter or food, the alternative to their ARK's sanctuary can mean freezing, becoming a victim to abuse or robbery, or becoming sick with no help.


 Conference Registration Form

Preferred Hotel Information:

Holiday Inn Downtown Yakima
802 East Yakima Avenue
Yakima, WA 98901
1(509) 494 -7000

Hotel Maison
321 E Yakima Avenue
Yakima, WA 98901
1(509) 509-571-1900


(Deadline for 2019 nomination was Oct 1, 2019)