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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Kevin Campbell from the US Department of Education

April 18, 2011

Kevin Campbell, Trainer in Region 6, Department of Education

What is your official title?

I am a training officer with Federal Student Aid, which is part of the United States Department of Education. 

What is your territory or area of coverage?

I am expected to go anywhere in the US, but I am attached to the Region 6 office, which is Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

How long have you been with The Department?

I have been with the department since 1994.

What is your job’s focus?

I focus on making sure that my financial aid community has the clearest understanding of the Title IV regulations and their responsibility in being in compliance with those regulations. 

Are there any special projects or initiatives that you are a part of?

A special project that I am currently involved with, and these come and go depending on the length of the project, is that I am the team lead to what we prefer to as “The Topics Team.”  It is made up of several training officers and we try to make the determination of the training topics that will be selected for a particular period of time (usually the government’s fiscal year).  We base that on input that we receive from the community and other sources of data that we have available, to determine what next year’s training topics will be (webinars, workshops, etc).  

What would you say has been your biggest challenge these past 12 months?

The biggest challenge is the one that has been presented by there not being  a federal budget in place.  We are operating under a series of temporary resolutions that put forth challenges to many.

As you travel and consult with the community, what would you say are the biggest issues that you are questioned about?

That is difficult to boil down because we have very recent regulations.  This is March, and we just had regulations given in October, that address a variety of Title IV issues.  So, I am getting questions on all of those.   I guess the most questions we get are in regards to what I call “the usual suspects”:  return to Title IV, satisfactory academic progress, and verification.  Those are three areas that there are always questions about and are reflected in program reviews and audits. 

What would you say are some current trends that you would find in financial aid?

Current emphasis is on providing more transparency with the student, so that the student has the most amount of information available to them as the family goes about making decisions about the education (where to go, what to study, how much to borrow, etc.).

Do you have anyone in the industry that you would consider as a mentor?

I have had several mentors.  When I came to the USDE in 1994, I had no experience with financial aid, other than being a student.  My first boss was Pamela Cole, who has since retired from federal service, but continues to be active in the school area.  She works in the state of Oklahoma as an administrator there and she provided a lot of guidance to me, not only about financial aid, but about being a civil servant who works for the federal government.  

What do you like most about your job?

If gives me a lot of opportunity to travel.  As I am sitting next you now, I am in my sixth consecutive week with 3 more weeks to go!  The reason why I enjoy travel is that it brings me out to the community and gives me good opportunities to communicate with people one on one, etc. 

What is something people don’t know about you?

I like to scuba dive.  Most people are surprised when they hear that. 

Do you go very deep?

It depends where you dive.  The deepest I hit was in Roatan, at 131 feet, which is one foot deeper than you should go as a “recreational diver.” 

What is your favorite Movie?

The Godfather.

Lou Murray, Southwest Regional Director

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