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Profiles in the Financial Aid Profession: Peggy Tvrdy from Doane College (NE)

January 18, 2012


Peggy Tvrdy, Director of Financial Aid, Doane College (NE)

Long walks with friends, reading mysteries, constantly redecorating her house, and spending time with family. That’s the best way to describe what Peggy Tvrdy likes to do in her time away from work. Peggy is the Director of Financial Aid at Doane College (NE) and serves as the Nebraska (NeASFAA) State President.  She has spent most of her life in the education arena, having served as Director of Financial Aid at Doane College and Southeast Community College (NE), working as a college planning specialist  for EducationQuest Foundation, and as a relationship manager for The Student Loan Corporation. She considers herself an avid Nebraska Cornhusker fan (very few in Nebraska do not claim this distinction) and is proud to note that her father has had Cornhusker season tickets for 47 years.

Don: How did you select financial aid as your profession?

Peggy: I don’t think anyone selects this as a career choice; you kind of fall into it.  I interviewed at the EducationQuest Foundation and had no idea what a FAFSA was. I was fortunate enough to come out of college free of student loan debt, thanks to sacrifices my parents made. After interviewing with EducationQuest, I was offered the position and I have been in the world of financial aid ever since.

Don: What major changes have you seen in financial aid during your years in the industry?  

Peggy: Obviously, the elimination of FFEL has been the biggest change as well as the continual demand of more reporting of information to ED.  In my early years in financial aid, the FSA Handbook was published ahead of time with the new regulations, whereas now we are implementing regs long before guidance is issued in writing.

Don: What is your favorite movie, book, TV show?

Peggy: Classic Book:  The Great Gatsby; Recently read book:  Save Me by Lisa Scottoline; Movie Classic:  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman & Burl Ives; TV Show:  PanAm, The Good Wife, Drop Dead Diva, Y & R

Don: If you could change one financial aid regulation, what would it be and why?

Peggy: I don’t know – there are a lot that could be tweaked a little, and that would make most of us much happier!

Don: Who are/were your mentors?

Peggy:  Tom Melecki & Tammy Stevenson have influenced me the most since I have joined financial aid.

Don: What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Peggy:  Knowing that I am helping students achieve their dreams of completing a college education and watching them mature over their 4 years at Doane.

Don: Name one thing about you that most people do not know.

Peggy: My real name is Margaret.

Don: What has been your biggest challenge work-wise over the past 12 months?

Peggy: Implementing the new SAP rules… not that they are much different than what we were doing previously, but how we handle transfer credits at our Lincoln Campus has been a challenge for our IT people to create a report that gives me the information I need.

Don:  How do you spend your time when you’re not working? 

Peggy: I enjoy spending time outside during the summer/spring/and fall and walking with girlfriends.  I love to read anything and everything, but particularly mysteries.  I also enjoy decorating my house and doing crafts.  I love to shop and drink wine with my girlfriends.  I enjoy spending time with family, especially my 7 nieces and one nephew. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I am a Husker fan through and through.  My dad has had tickets for 47 years.

Don: If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would they be?

Peggy: George Clooney, Warren Buffet, and Jesus (wonder what kind of conversation that would be like?!)

Don: Where was the last place you went on vacation? (and what did you do?)

Peggy: My last true vacation (not counting a day or two off after a conference) was in Las Vegas. My best friends from high school and I met there to celebrate our 40th birthdays. We had such a good time that we’re planning a trip to Phoenix in March.

Don: What is your favorite holiday memory?

Peggy: It is definitely NOT my favorite, but the most memorable was the Christmas Blizzard of 2009.  I was snowed in at my parents’ farm for days! Just the three of us – no one was able to get anywhere. Talk about cabin fever!  I have never felt so cooped up in my life.  I would have never survived one winter on the prairie as a pioneer!  Believe me, I have never been so glad to see a snow plow in my life.

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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