Welcome to NYSFAAA                                         

Welcome to the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association website. If you are a member, glad you came back. If you are just visiting, I hope you like what you see, stay a while and become a member.

Howard Leslie

 Now that we are well into our 52nd year as an association, as well as my 2nd and last term as President, it is time to reflect as well as work on what is to come. We are now leading the way on cutting edge accomplishments. In addition to this heavily trafficked website you will note that we are the first Financial Aid Association to have a Chatbot. The Bot “Ask Rory” is ready to answer Financial Aid Questions for Students/Parents and School Counselors empowered with Videos all supported generously by Ocelot. The Bot can also help members guide the user through the website and answer simple question like “when is the next conference?” or “who is the president of NYSFAAA?”

In the past year NYSFAAA has been focused, as always, on training colleagues and helping students start the financial aid process.  We have re-embraced advocacy and have been true to our strategic plan, Our mission is large-scoped and our tactics change as needed. We organically mentor our own. Become one of us and you will never walk alone. In 2020 we will be offering  NASFAA credentialing and in 20-21 the plan is to expand our offering in this area,  I believe that credentialing and eventually earning a Certified Financial Aid Administrator Certification (CFAA) IS OUR FUTURE. Jump aboard!

A Financial Aid Professional belongs to their state association, gets involved, first on  the local level, then state-wide. The professional joins a committee and gets so much out of it by giving back. For every minute I have given to NYSFAAA I  have received hours of benefit. I did not know that going in. I know it now and I feel it is my duty to share that with you now. Join a committee today and be better for it tomorrow and forever after.


So, what is  this NYSFAAA I speak of? For you visitors….

NYSFAAA is a non-profit organization comprised of nearly 1500 Financial Aid Professionals as well as other Higher Education Providers, such as High School College Bound Guidance Professionals. Our prime directive is to help promote equal access to education in New York State. We achieve this goal by advocating on behalf of our members and our students, and by providing FA professionals with extensive training.
As part of being in the NYSFAAA team/family, members enjoy full support and educate each other by networking and sharing information. Through our multiple list-serves, internal (private) and external (public) Social Media, EmpireChat BLOG, Newsfeeds, Regional Meetings, 12 or more webinars a year (each archived for future viewing) and our regularly posted Podcasts (Webinars and Podcasts FREE with the annual $70 membership fee). In addition, we have our nationally recognized Novice Training, Leadership Training, Annual Conference, and various other activities - so much, that you will find that the networking that occurs is always the cherry on the NYSFAAA cake that I and all of us are so proud of.

If you are not a member – trust me – IT PAYS TO BE A MEMBER.

Howard Leslie, NYSFAAA President - [email protected]


NYSFAAA Statement of Ethics and Guiding Principles
NYSFAAA Mission Statement



March 13, 2020  10:00am - 12:00pm  Statewide Training Comes to Your Region 
Topic: Loans - The Federal, The Private, The Regs. And The New                                           Register Now

This session provide will information on student loans and repayment options for both Federal and Private, NYS loan forgiveness program, major regulations and guidance on defining a semester and SULA.  We will also review and discuss the new version of and the Informed Borrower Tool.


Region 1 - D'Youville College

Region 2 - Roberts Wesleyan College

Region 3 - Le Moyne College

Region 4 - Empire State College

Region 5 - TBD

Region 6 - CUNY City College

Region 7 - NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine

Region 8 - Clarkson University

*Additional information will be provide to you by your Regional Representatives.  That information may or may not include additional training and/or meals being provided.



Louise Biron

Director, Student Financial Services
State University of New York at Cobleskill
Louise Biron is the Director of Student Financial Services and Student Outreach at SUNY Cobleskill. She began her career in Financial Aid six years ago after working for many years in the Business Office as the College Controller. She is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Personal Financial Manager, adjunct marketing/accounting instructor, and parent of 3 college students.  Louise has made financial literacy a high priority in her current position and has significantly expanded the student loan education efforts at SUNY Cobleskill using a variety of alternative approaches.


Thomas Kokis

Default Prevention & Loan Specialist
Baruch College

Tom Kokis has over thirty years of experience in higher education financing with a focus on financial literacy and loan repayment management. Tom has a broad student loan background, having worked for lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies and colleges. Currently, Tom is the Default Prevention and Loan Specialist at the City University of New York, Baruch College. Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz and a Master’s degree in Information Science from Saint John’s University.


Jeanne McCarthy

Director of Business Development

Jeanne joined Sallie Mae in 2004 and has over 20 years of experience in the financial aid industry. She was the Associate Director of Student Financial Services at Adelphi University, a Regional Marketing Manager at Chase Education First and eventually joined the East sales team. Jeanne is an active member of the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association and was selected to the position of Co-Chairperson for NYSFAAA 2020 Statewide annual Conference. She manages colleges/universities and high school organizations in New York.  Jeanne earned a B.A. from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and an MBA from Adelphi University.


Stephanie Stock

Director of Business Development

Stephanie has worked in the financial aid industry for 28 years starting at Northeastern University in Boston, followed by Barry University in Miami.  Prior to joining Sallie Mae 15 years ago, Stephanie was the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Utica College overseeing federal and private loans as well as graduate financial aid.  At Sallie Mae, she is responsible managing relationships with colleges/universities and high school organizations in upstate New York.   She is an active member of NYSFAAA and SUNYFAP and serves on various committees within the associations.  She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. from Hamilton College and an M.S. from Northeastern University.

Howard Leslie

Vice President, Financial Aid Compliance/NYSFAAA President
Berkeley College

Howard Leslie, celebrating over 41 years in Financial Aid, is currently the Vice President of Financial Aid at Berkeley College in New York and New Jersey and is the current President of the New York State Association of Financial Aid Administrators Association.

Prior to Berkeley, Howard was Dean of Student Financial Services at Monroe College for 10 years and, before that, Director of Student Financial Services at School of Arts for 20 years.

During those years, Howard has performed consulting for several institutions, worked with the Department of Education as a federal trainer, served on the original NSLDS Project, and participated in several other high-level initiatives for the department and NYS Higher Education Services Corporation. He has been a very active member of NYSFAAA, and when it was legal, served on a multitude of advisory boards including the original ELM board. It was his initiative that resulted in the first lender focus, to be followed by the Department of Education, on Student Financial Literacy. This goes back to the 1980s with Nellie MAE.

Prior to his presidency Howard was 2nd VP of NYSFAAA, an office he was elected to 4 times. Over the last 10 years, he has revived NYSFAAA training using video conferencing and webinars. Under his watch, NYSFAAA has trained over 7,000 people each year providing 12 – 13 webinars during the academic seasons.

Some of Howard’s accomplishments include being the first person to certify an electronic student loan in the nation. This was part of a NYS/Federal partnership to implement electronic loans. Howard also originated the concept of PLUS Pre-approvals and beta tested it with Chase and the School of Visual Arts. It didn’t take long for all lenders and schools to adopt the practice.

Howard will be happily married 41 years, next month, to his lovely wife Lisa; has one son and three grandchildren and his poodle Rory.





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October 26-29, 2020

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Huntington, NY







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