Apr 28, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Justin Draeger, Leader of Financial Aid Association


Continuing on our theme of college financial aid, we were lucky enough to have Justin Draeger on the podcast show recently. As CEO and President, Justin leads NASFAA, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, whose membership includes over 20,000 financial assistance professionals at over 3,000 schools. So, when your students have a conversation with a financial aid professional at their school, it is likely they will be talking to a NASFAA member.

Given his role, Justin provides an “inside baseball” look at the world of financial aid from his intimate knowledge of the operations of a financial aid office to the broader trends that have gotten us where we are today. Given the location of his offices (you know, that town on the Potomac), Justin also has a good sense of where the regulatory winds are blowing.

Listen to this podcast to get Justin’s take on:

  • Are financial aid awards negotiable?
  • What are some of the misconceptions about financial aid?
  • How did we get to the place of students increasingly taking on more student debt?
  • What to look for when comparing aid award letters
  • What changes are making the process easier for families?


  • 0:00~1:03 – Intro
  • 1:03~2:00 – What is NASFAA?
  • 2:00~5:10 – Broad overview of financial aid
  • 5:10~11:09 – Misconceptions about financial aid
  • 11:09~13:50 – Shift of college costs from State to Individual
  • 13:50~15:23 – Will future students face higher college costs?
  • 15:23~19:11 – New FAFSA provisions
  • 19:11~21:52 – Top FAFSA concerns
  • 21:52~24:29 – Communication about financial aid between schools and students
  • 24:29~28:59 – What to look for when comparing financial aid letters
  • 28:59~31:20 – Standardization of aid award letters
  • 31:20~35:38 – Lightning Round
  • 35:38~37:45 – Three core concepts Justin believes are most important to teach students
  • 37:45~39:42 – Who struggles most with student debt?
  • 39:42~41:09 – Is college still worth it?
  • 41:09~42:52 – Changes made to make student loan repayment easier
  • 42:52~43:50 – Final Thoughts
  • 43:50~44:40 – Conclusion
Notable Quotes:
  • “It’s really frustrating that we have tools to keep everyone from defaulting but 1 in 10 student borrowers default within three years
  • “On the whole, college is worth it. And when people make a decision on where to go, they should really be thinking about a list of things including the cost, but it is worth it.”
  • “Financial Aid is complicated to a certain extent but it’s not so complicated that anybody that’s college eligible can’t figure it out”

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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