Chapter 1 - Introduction

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The Indiana Student Financial Aid Association is fifty years old. For half a century, Indiana college and university officials have cooperated to promote activities and practices to identify needy students and make financial assistance available to them.

Very probably the oldest of the state associations in the nation, Indiana's organization took its impetus in 1935 when the General Assembly of the state mandated that fee remission awards be made to students on the basis of competitive testing. From a small beginning, the organization has grown in size and purpose until now, fifty years later, it can boast many diverse activities, membership in the hundreds, and an influence on the profession, which has resounded nationally.

It all began when the four state universities agreed to cooperate to test Indiana students. Public and private colleges of Indiana had offered financial assistance to impecunious students from their beginnings in 1801. But 1935 was landmark in that it initiated cooperation and thus professional interaction to assist students attending Indiana colleges.

In its half century of life, the association has had six names and as many constitutions. It has encouraged the birth of similar organizations around it. Wisconsin was organized in 1966, Illinois and Minnesota in 1967, Michigan in 1969. It cradled the founding of the Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators at Purdue University in 1962. It has grown from a group of four institutions in 1935 to 121 in 1985.

In each decade of its dynamic leadership, it has left its mark on the profession. In the 1940's, it influenced the separation of the aid function from the admissions and registrar functions and saw the formation of scholarship committees and later separate scholarship offices. In the 1950's, it became an organization of private as well as public colleges and lent its experience to the national movement just beginning. The profession was starting to take shape in that decade with the initiation of the National Merit and General Motors Scholarship programs as well as the coming of the College Scholarship Service and the passage of the critical National Defense Education Act.

In the 1960's, Indiana aid professionals not only assisted in the formation of MASFAA but also gave testimony and helped shape federal law, the Higher Education Act of 1965. And closer to home, with impetus from the Indiana Conference on Higher Education and educators all over the state, it drafted and gained passage of the State Scholarship Act of Indiana in 1965.

The singular purpose of the Association has not deviated during the fifty years of its history. Its proud chronicle of activities, publications, training, and ethical principles has ever worked to alleviate financial obstacles from students who desire and can benefit from postsecondary education.

Now, fifty years after its proud beginning, it is appropriate to tell the story of how it all began, how it grew, to record its accomplishments.