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Profiles in Financial Aid: Ken Kocer, Mount Marty College, SDASFAA President Elect

August 28, 2013
Ken Kocer, Financial Aid Director, Mount Marty College; President Elect, SDASFAA

Ken Kocer, Financial Aid Director, Mount Marty College; President Elect, SDASFAA

Ken Kocer has more than one reason to look past the hustle and bustle of the beginning of the fall semester. “In September I plan to go to Alaska with my cousin and a friend where we will do a wilderness adventure, have a small float plane drop us off in a remote area, and have the plane return in 7 days to a different location to see if we survived or not,” says Kocer.

Kocer is the Director of Financial Aid at Mount Marty College (SD) and the current SDASFAA President Elect. He also served as the organization’s President in 1998.

When asked about the biggest challenge facing SDASFAA, he notes, “I think it’s instilling a sense of volunteerism in our members and promoting the reward and the personal growth one gets from serving in a great organization like SDASFAA.”

During his 22+ years in financial aid, Kocer has seen major changes in the industry, including increased regulations and administrative burdens on schools, and transitioning from a predominately FFELP Loan Program to a total Direct Loan Program. And if he could change one regulation it would be the 150% subsidized limit on loans. “Seems to me to be an administrative burden on schools and a detriment for students that may change programs.  We already have SAP requirements in place to monitor student progress.”

The MMC financial aid office consists of a team of three professionals and Kocer says he couldn’t ask for a more dedicated team to work with. “Cyndi and Bob do what needs to be done and more to provide excellent service for our students.  We have a great work relationship and help each other out when needed to create a dynamic office environment.” Their hope is to someday transition to an “all imaging system.”

Although financial aid can be a time-consuming profession, Kocer takes the time to give back to his community by serving as a lector in his church, volunteering at their annual town festival (Tabor, S.D. Czech Days), and raising cattle on the family farm.

The past 8 months have been “awesome” for the 80’s music lover. “In January I went to Belize with my sister where we zip-lined, visited Mayan ruins, snorkeled and explored ancient ritual caves.  In July, my wife Rhonda (married 21 years) and I went to Banff, Canada where we hiked two mountains, visited the ice fields, and did a float trip down the Bow River.”

Much has changed during the past 22 years, but Kocer notes that the most enjoyable part of his job continues to be “working with a wonderful staff, supportive college, and assisting a great group of students each year accomplish their educational goals.”

Kocer considers his mentors to be Deb Henriksen (Black Hills State University, SD), Sharon Kienow (Northern State University, SD), Clarence Shoemaker (University of South Dakota), and yours truly. (NOTE: All I did was resign from MMC some 22+ years ago and said to Kocer, “Here you go.”) .

Kocer loves large family/group outings, so it makes sense that he would prefer not to invite just four people to a specific dinner, but simply have a grill out and host everyone that could make it. But he would love to host a dinner for four very special people, his grandparents.  “I lost my grandparents when I was young, so I never got the opportunity to know them.  I would love to hear of their lives growing up and the memorable moments they would have to share.”

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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