Marian Dill, director of Financial Aid at Lee University, spoke before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Thursday on the invitation of the United States Senate.
The hearing, entitled “Strengthening the Federal Student Loan Program for Borrowers,” was held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
The purpose of the hearing was to examine all aspects of the federal student loan programs, touching on issues ranging from origination, counseling, repayment plans, servicing, collections, and shared accountability.
Ms. Dill was asked to provide an overview of the current system from her perspective as a financial aid administrator, particularly focusing on aspects of the process that are working well for students and where the process can be improved. She was also asked to provide any recommendations to strengthen the loan counseling process, streamline and simplify the current system, and improve loan servicing.
“I was honored by the invitation from Senator Lamar Alexander,” said Ms. Dill. “I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to advocate for improvements in the federal student aid programs.”
The hearing, which was televised live at 10 a.m. on C-SPAN, focused on four panelists, including Ms. Dill.
Ms. Dill covered student success recommendations such as improvements to loan counseling, limiting borrowing and over-borrowing and stricter underwriting requirements for the parent PLUS loans. Other suggestions were submitted regarding reduction of unnecessary administrative burdens.
Prior to Ms. Dill’s arrival at Lee University in 1998, she served as assistant director of Financial Aid at Cleveland State Community College and a financial aid counselor at Tennessee Wesleyan College.
She earned her MEd in Community Counseling at UTC, her bachelor’s in Human Services at Tennessee Wesleyan College, and an associate’s degree in Computer Science from Tomlinson College.
Ms. Dill was nominated and elected Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators vice president for 2014-2015. She currently serves as membership chair for SASFAA and will assume the vice president role on July 1.
Ms. Dill has served SASFAA as NAOW trainer, budget and finance chair, and Tennessee representative. She was a budget and finance chair, president, and treasurer for the Tennessee Association of Financial Aid Administrators, and she was on the Tennessee Student Assistant Corporation Board of Directors and was a PowerFAIDS National User Conference presenter.
SASFAA is an organization of over 1,200 financial aid professionals working within the nine southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) whose purpose is to promote the professional preparation of individuals within financial aid, to develop effective programs related to student financial aid, to facilitate communication between all interested parties within the financial aid community, and to continually evaluate and update their services.
Marian Dill, right, and Lee Assistant Director of Financial Aid Laurie Richmond with Senator Lamar Alexander.