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FSA Conference: 10 Ways to Make the Most of Atlanta

November 12, 2014

FSA conf


I have had the privilege of attending the FSA conference for many years. There are so many sessions to choose from, so many people to meet, and so much great information to learn. Here are ten ways, from my personal experience, you can make the most of your FSA conference experience:

  1. Coordinate which sessions you will attend. If more than one person from your school is attending, divide and conquer and share notes in a debriefing meeting when you get back.
  2. Arrive at sessions a few minutes early to get a good seat. It is always good to have a back up plan, and FSA does a great job of offering popular sessions at multiple times. I always download the agenda to my phone and tablet.
  3. Photo via the Georgia World Congress Center (

    Photo via the Georgia World Congress Center (

    Bring comfortable shoes. There will be lots of walking (which helps offset all the food available). Also it is great to go for a walk after hours to get fresh air and exercise.

  4. Prepare ahead of time. What questions do you need to have answered? Jot them down now. You might learn the answer during a session, but you can also ask questions in the resource center, even if they are specific to your school or to a particular student.
  5. Attend the “Birds of a Feather” sessions. These sessions are for schools similar to your own and are great ways to learn how others handle their offices and help students.
  6. Meet at least five new people from other schools and exchange contact information. FSA is a great place to foster industry relationships and learn from other professionals.
  7. Visit the Resource Center to ask federal loan servicers questions. It is staffed all day, and we would love the chance to serve as a helpful resource.
  8. Tour the conference venue before it starts. Get your bearings and figure out where the key areas will be located. Find out where the meeting rooms are beforehand so you will know right where to go when the time comes.
  9. Experience something new. During your evenings, try a new food local to the area or visit a historical site and connect with friends. Make reservations as soon as possible if they are needed.
  10. Silence your cell phones. I have been on a panel discussion in front of 300 people when my daughter called about what was in the house for lunch. Embarassing.

BONUS! Here are some good links to keep handy on your smart phone or tablet during the conference:

General FSA conference information:

Sessions and agenda:

FSA conference FAQs:

Nelnet will be at the FSA conference in full force to support you and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to stop anyone with a Nelnet name tag if you have questions or feedback; we are open to any opportunity to help you, your industry colleagues, and your students. Our team looks forward to seeing you there!



Jim Harris, Managing Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Jim Harris, Managing Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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