2015 Access Group Graduate & Professional Financial Aid Conference
Graduate and professional school administrators face different challenges than their undergraduate counterparts. The Access Group Graduate & Professional Financial Aid Conference embraces these differences and is dedicated to education and discussion relevant to you – those serving graduate and professional students. As the premier Conference bringing together administrators from all graduate disciplines, plan to attend this important event!
Schedule Day 1 - Monday, November 9 Start End
Financial Aid 101
9:00 AM 12:00 PM Conference Opening Luncheon and General Session 12:30 PM 2:00 PM The Role of Foundations in Shaping the Future of
Federal Higher Education Policy
2:15 PM 3:15 PM The Policy, Politics and Perspectives of Student Loan Repayment 3:30 PM 4:45 PM Evening Reception 5:30 PM 6:15 PM Dinner and Opening Remarks 6:15 PM 7:15 PM Keynote: PostSecret Live with Frank Warren 7:15 PM 8:15 PM Day 2 - Tuesday, November 10 Start End Breakfast 7:30 AM 8:20 AM Discipline-specific Sessions 8:30 AM 9:30 AM Concurrent Sessions 9:40 AM 10:50 AM Concurrent Sessions 11:00 AM 12:10 PM Lunch 12:10 PM 12:50 PM Concurrent Sessions 1:00 PM 2:10 PM Concurrent Sessions 2:20 PM 3:20 PM Concurrent Sessions 3:30 PM 4:30 PM Southern Hospitality Hour 5:30 PM 6:30 PM Evening on Your Own 6:30 PM Day 3 - Wednesday, November 11 Start End Breakfast 7:30 AM 8:15 AM Presenting in a Millennial World 8:30 AM 9:45 AM "Making it Work"-shop 10:00 AM 11:45 AM
In addition to our Conference schedule, we will also host our inaugural Access Group Legal Education Research Symposium on November 8 through 9. Read more about the Symposium including how to attend.
All of our sessions are designed to enhance and lead the conversations that are so critical in the world of higher education—financing options, indebtedness, diversity and so much more. Your participation, and that of your colleagues, will stimulate the conversation and get you thinking in resourceful and innovative ways. And, our networking opportunities are aimed to introduce you to a large number of attendees in an efficient and relaxed manner.
Pre-Conference Session: Financial Aid 101
This comprehensive workshop covers basic need analysis, the fundamentals of budget construction, the use of professional judgment and the development of financial aid. A “must” for professionals new to the field, and a great refresher for veteran administrators. This session is also a great complement to Conference programming for those administrators with primary responsibilities outside of financial aid.
The designers on “Project Runway” aren’t the only ones who have to “make it work” in order to be successful. In offices throughout the country, graduate and professional school administrators are making it work despite budget and personnel constraints, technology issues, and various other limitations. In this creative and informative full-group session, best practices are examined with an eye toward the tips, tricks and fresh ideas your colleagues are using to make navigation, workflow, reporting and other everyday job responsibilities easier to accomplish – often with better results! Hear how your fellow administrators are “Making It Work,” and learn to do your job better… with a little help from your friends.
The “Making it Work”-Shop opens with presentation skills training. But not just “been there, tried that” presentation skills. Scott Schwertly, the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation design and training agency will teach you what you need to know about Presenting in a Millennial World. Whether you’re a novice speaker or seasoned presenter, Scott will show you the way to get your message heard and meet the unique expectations of the Gen Y students you serve.
- Scott Schwertly, the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3
Jason Delisle, Director of the Federal Education Budget Project at New America; Neal McCluskey, Director of the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom; and David Bergeron, Vice President, Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress will examine the issues surrounding student loan repayment from all sides of the political and policy spectrum. Join these leaders in higher education policy for an active exchange of views on the pros, cons and what's next.
- Jason Delisle, Director of the Federal Education Budget Project at New America
- Neal McCluskey, Director of the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom
- David Bergeron, Senior Fellow, Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress
The Lumina Foundation is the largest foundation focused exclusively on increasing access and success in postsecondary education. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success strategy has a goal to ensure that students complete a postsecondary program that helps them support themselves, engage in their communities, and achieve their dreams. This session will feature leaders from both organizations who will discuss the current policy environment for transforming higher education, and how the foundations collaborate with grantees to support student access and success. In addition, with reauthorization of the Higher Education Act currently under discussion, the panelists will discuss the role foundations and their grantees have in informing those policy discussions.
- Nick Lee, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Zakiya Smith, Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation
Meet with colleagues in your discipline to discuss recent developments and current issues related to financial aid. These group discussions will include loan repayment scenarios and will be facilitated by members of the 2015 Conference Planning Committee and Access Group staff.
Our concurrent sessions are the mainstay of the Conference and provide attendees with small group sessions in which they can participate and learn from their fellow attendees. Below is a list of topics planned for this year's Conference. More still to come, so please visit again soon.
PostSecret creator, Frank Warren introduced the world to a collection of highly-personal and artfully-decorated postcards mailed anonymously from around the world, exposing the soulful secrets we never voice. Since PostSecret's inception in 2004, Warren has received over 1,000,000 anonymous secrets on homemade postcards.
PostSecret’s website is the most visited advertisement-free blog in the world, and with over 2,500,000 views, his TED talk is one of the most watched in the popular series. All six PostSecret books published have been featured on the New York Times bestselling list, and PostSecret postcards have been exhibited at the renowned Museum of Modern Art in New York. You won’t want to miss this entertaining, inspiring, and heartwarming event.
The Conference registration fee covers all conference sessions, program materials, and most meals during the Conference.
- Early Bird Registration Fee (register on or before August 15): $530
- Standard Registration Fee (register on or before September 30): $580
- Late Registration Fee (register after September 30): $630
Are you also interested in attending the Legal Education Research Symposium? Register for both the Symposium and the Conference and receive a 15% discount on the registration fees! Read more about the Symposium.
Guest Meal Tickets
Registrants may purchase individual tickets for their personal guests for most meal-related Conference events. So that each function can be properly planned, all guest meals should be requested by Friday, October 30. Guests are welcome to attend any or all conference meal functions listed below at the following costs:
- Monday Opening Reception, Dinner and Keynote: $100 per person
- Tuesday Buffet Breakfast: $40 per person
- Tuesday Buffet Lunch: $50 per person
- Tuesday Southern Hospitality Hour: $50 per person
- Wednesday Buffet Breakfast: $40 per person
To order guest meal tickets, please e-mail your request to email@example.com, or call Julie Fox, Marketing Coordinator, at 800-227-2151, extension 3366. Guest meal ticket orders will be billed separately.
Cancellations and Refunds
If you must cancel, your registration can be transferred to another individual at your institution at no additional cost. Requests for substitutions must be submitted in writing. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us of the change. A full refund of registration fees will be made if a written request is submitted to Access Group by Thursday, October 15.
For cancellations made between Friday, October 16 and Friday, October 30, a refund minus $100 per registrant will be granted. No refunds will be given after October 30; however, substitutions will still be accepted.
Refunds of guest meal ticket fees will be made if the request is received at least one week prior to the event.
Note: All refunds will be processed after the Conference. Substitutions of registrants are allowed at any time.
In the event that you check-out of The Westin prior to your reserved check-out date, an early departure fee of one night’s room and tax will be charged to your account. To avoid this fee, you must advise the hotel at or before check-in of any change in the length of your stay.
The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort adheres to a 72-hour cancellation policy. In the event that you need to cancel your room reservation, please do so by 6:00 p.m. ET three days prior to your scheduled arrival to avoid a one-night penalty of $169, plus taxes. For cancellations at any time prior to three days before your scheduled arrival, no charge will apply. Please be sure to ask for your “cancellation confirmation number” to avoid any dispute or miscommunication.
Note: Access Group will be happy to cancel your hotel room for you. To have Access Group cancel your room, contact Julie Fox at 800-227-2151, extension 3366, or via e-mail. All above policies will apply.
The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort
1 Resort Drive
Savannah, GA 31421
About The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort
Experience true Southern hospitality at The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort. Located on the Savannah River with spectacular views of historic River Street, this AAA Four-Diamond property is complimentary ferry ride from Savannah’s fantastic shopping, food and nightlife, yet far enough away to enjoy the tranquility that only a resort can give. Amenities include the world-renowned Heavenly Spa by Westin, an outdoor heated saline pool, tennis courts and fire pits, hammocks, cabanas and so much more.
Immerse yourself in the history, beauty and charm of this beloved Georgia gem. Savannah’s reputation as The Hostess City is well earned as you wander the cobblestone streets of the historic district and receive the warm greetings of merchants and locals alike. From its oak tree canopies and majestic architecture to its outdoor cafes and gastro pubs, live music, and art exhibits, this ravishing city will truly delight.
The special conference rate for attendees of the 2015 Access Group Graduate & Professional Financial Aid Conference is $169 for singles or doubles plus applicable taxes (currently 13% plus $1.75 occupancy tax) per night, if reserved by Thursday, October 15 by 5:00 p.m. ET. The rate will be extended for up to two nights before and after the Conference for those wishing to spend extra time at The Westin. (This rate is subject to availability.)
In addition, all Resort Fees (regularly $21, plus taxes, per night) have been waived with the exception of guestroom internet which will be charged at $10 per day, only if used. (Complimentary internet is offered in the meeting space and all public spaces.) 2015 Access Group Conference attendees will receive toll-free calls and local telephone calls of up to 60 minutes; on-resort shuttle transportation; fitness club access, including WestinWORKOUT® Room, steam room and sauna at the Heavenly Spa by Westin; use of tennis racquets and courts; golf club storage; use of the chipping and putting greens and driving range (including clubs); and access to the private beach located at the resort’s sister property, The Westin Resort on Hilton Head Island (located 45 miles away). All complimentary!
Participants should make their room reservations with The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort no later than Thursday, October 15. Rooms can be reserved online, or by calling 800-228-3000. When making reservations by phone, you must identify your affiliation with Access Group to receive the special Conference rate.
When making reservations online, please use the dedicated Access Group Conference reservation site.
Note: When using the online reservation link, you can request a preferred room type (King or Double) or other room preferences, in the Special Request box under My Stay Preferences. The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort cannot guarantee special requests until check-in, but will do their best to accommodate you.
The hotel has no obligation to provide rooms at the Conference rate after Thursday, October 15. You will be responsible for settling your own hotel bill upon check out. Hotel check-in time is 4:00 p.m. Check-out time is 12:00 p.m.
The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort recommends flying into Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport (airport code SAV). The drive from the airport to the resort is approximately 20 minutes.
Upon arrival to Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport, taxis are plentiful and can be attained directly outside of the baggage claim doors. A taxi transfer is approximately $35.00 one way.
Complimentary Return Shuttles
To ensure your ability to participate in the entire “Making it Work”-shop on Wednesday, November 11, Access Group will provide complimentary shuttle service from The Westin to Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport. Shuttles will depart every hour beginning at 12:00 p.m., ending at 4:00 p.m. Please consider this when making your travel plans. More information will be sent to registrants as the Conference approaches.
Note: The Westin offers return shuttle transportation TO the airport for a fee of $25 for the first passenger and $15 for each additional person on the same trip. (This service is available for RETURN trips only; service is not offered for transportation from the airport to the resort.) Seats are limited, so if Access Group’s complimentary return shuttle service on November 11 does not accommodate your needs, please contact the Front Desk or Concierge in advance for departure times or to arrange service, or call the hotel and ask for the Airport Shuttle.
Car Rental and Parking
For your convenience, Access Group has arranged for reduced rates on all Enterprise-Rent-A-Car rental cars. For easy pick-up and drop-off of your rental car, Enterprise is located on property at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. Access Group Conference participants will receive a guaranteed discount of 10% off the standard rate. To reserve a car or get more information, call 1-800-RENT-CAR (1-800-736-8227), or go online at www.enterprise.com. When calling to reserve your car, be sure to mention the Access Group corporate code: Corporate ID #: 17AA542. When making reservations online, please enter the corporate code listed above. Then, when prompted, enter the letters ACC to continue with your reservation.
The following fees apply for parking at The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort:
- Valet Parking: $23.00 per day
- Self-Parking: $18.00 per day
Savannah Belles Ferry
Getting to Savannah’s celebrated Historic District—just across the river from the hotel—is quick and simple, thanks to the complimentary water ferry, accessible adjacent to our resort dock. The Savannah Belles Ferry runs two to three times an hour from 7:00 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week. This convenient 10-minute ride from the Resort will take you directly to/from fabled River Street. Historic Savannah, a block above on a bluff, can be accessed via the same water taxi stop. Visit http://www.catchacat.org to download the ferry schedule.
For those who would opt for ground transportation into the city, taxis are readily available at the resort’s taxi stand. The city also operates a free trolley system throughout the Historic District and River Street, subject to scheduling.
Conference Planning Committee
Jill Stone (Chair)
Director of Financial Aid
Yale Law School
Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
Baylor Law School
Director of Financial Aid
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Director of Financial Aid
Arizona State University College of Law
Director of Financial Aid
University of Virginia
Darden School of Business
Assistant Director of Financial Aid
and Financial Literacy Coordinator
Tufts University School of Medicine
James Newell, J.D.
Director of Financial Aid
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
The Bee Cause Project
Saving the honeybees… one school at a time.
It is an Access Group Conference tradition for staff and attendees to raise funds for a worthy charitable organization local to the Conference site. This year, the organization selected for support is small, but is creating quite a buzz… The Bee Cause Project in Savannah, GA.
Honeybees endangered? Perhaps you think, "Great! Now I won't get stung by one at the next family picnic." But what you might not realize is that bees play a vital role in producing many of the foods at the picnic. Today, one-third of the total U.S. diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants with honeybees pollinating 90 different kinds of crops. This makes their survival, which is currently threatened by parasites, pesticides, habitat loss, and grazing practices, incredibly important to maintain high levels of food production.
The Bee Cause Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for the honeybees and to ensure their survival. Through the installation of beehives in 1,000 schools, young people learn the importance of honeybees in our lives, and the need to understand them and to care about their well-being.
Along with the hives, The Bee Cause Project delivers a complete curriculum to participating schools so teachers can easily structure lesson plans around the beehive. This curriculum includes lessons about pollination, honey bee community structure, colony collapse disorder, co-evolution and symbiotic relationships. The hives provide a hands-on opportunity that no text book or film could possibly deliver.
This is education that excites! For more information on The Bee Cause Project, please visit www.thebeecause.org.
Your tax-deductible contributions help The Bee Cause Project in their work - installing observation honeybee hives in schools, creating educational activities for children, developing and maintaining a bee sanctuary, and giving workshops and classroom lectures. The Bee Cause Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; all donations are tax deductible and will be matched by Access Group after the Conference.