questions, ten answers – with Bill Bushaw, Financial
Aid Director for Western Illinois University and recipient
of the Nelnet
Full Circle Award.
Nelnet understands that making educational dreams possible
is a process, and the Financial Aid Office
is often where students begin their journey. Recently we had
the opportunity to ask Mr. Bushaw, recepient of the Nelnet
Circle Award, a few questions about the process.
Nelnet: What is your biggest
challenge as a Financial Aid Director?
Bushaw: My greatest challenge in recent years has been to
find adequate financial resources for both students and for
the office operation.
received this award based on excellence in the financial aid
How do you feel your approach may differ
Bushaw: We have
been fortunate in keeping our focus on three simple goals.
The most important
is our commitment to providing excellent
student service. Student service is followed by providing award
notification as early as possible, and providing the best financial
aid package that we are able to hand-out, based on the resources
Nelnet: Are there
any notable contributions you feel you’ve
made to the financial aid field on a professional level, i.e.,
committees, leadership positions, contributions, etc?
have served in several executive positions and have chaired
various committees at
both the State and Regional level.
has financial aid changed over the course of your career?
What do you foresee
in terms of the future for the Financial
aid has changed dramatically since I started. At that time,
were just beginning to be used. Now, we
do most of our business on the Web and through e-communication.
As for the future, expect continual change. I could envision
a point where Financial Aid Counselors would do more in the
area of financial management.
gives you the most enjoyment in your chosen field?
get the most enjoyment out of providing excellent customer
service, reducing the bureaucracy
that students face, providing
early award notifications, and looking for niche programs or
applications for our financial aid use.
significance does receiving the Full Circle Award have for
is a great tribute to the WIU Financial Aid Office.
trends are you noticing in financial aid?
have noticed that the issue of affordability has received
In addition, there has been a greater reliance
on financing one's education through loans, especially PLUS
and Alternative loans.
many years have you served in the financial aid arena?
Nelnet: Are there....family,
friends, mentors, and coworkers you'd like to thank?
are too many to recognize in this interview. However, I'd
single out the financial aid advisors and support staff at
Western Illinois University.
Nelnet: What is your
favorite quote and/or motivational or inspirational line?
Bushaw: Coach John Wooden (of
UCLA fame) has always been a favorite of mine.
He was noted for giving much attention to basics and in believing
have great responsibility of their own destiny. Two quotes
that demonstrate this are:
"It's the little details that are vital.
Little things make big things happen." and "Things turn
out best for the people who make the best of the way
To nominate a Financial Aid Officer for the Full Circle Award,
Nelnet school representatives, coworkers, or other college
offices can write a one paragraph nomination letter outlining
how the nominee exemplifies the criteria for the award, and
e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to
Nelnet Communications, Attn: Sheila Odom, 121 S. 13th St.,
Suite 400, Lincoln, NE 68508.