President's Pen

I have always loved the summer. Growing up in Canada, summer meant freedom from the routine of school, time outside with friends, running around at the beach unchecked, unkempt and unencumbered, and so.many.lollipopsicles. These days, while summer is very different from how it looked for me as a kid, it’s still an opportunity to get outside, to refresh, and to change up old routines. This year, it will also be a time to prepare for change. And this is a big year of change for our profession.

There was a recent post on the NACAC listserv asking that we “please be kind to our rising seniors” as they will be contending with a lot of change (new PSAT, new SAT, new Writing section on the ACT, PPY/Early FAFSA, Coalition Application, etc. etc.). Simply writing that list is overwhelming, so I want to take this time to encourage you to also be kind to one another and to be kind to yourself. Change can be scary, overwhelming, and intimidating, but change can also present opportunities; opportunities to learn, grow, develop professionally, and discern what direction our jobs, professions, and the work we do with students takes. It can be easy to get caught up in the fear that change can bring, but I would like to suggest that you to take this summer to learn about the new initiatives, shift your vocabulary and expand your understanding of the new applications, testing concordances, and financial aid opportunities that are out there. That way, when you return to work with students (or continue, if you don’t have the summers off!) you will feel ready to help them manage the stress their senior year might bring. If there are ways that PNACAC can help, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

As an affiliate, we are coming off of a very successful Annual Conference and celebration of the 50th Anniversary of PNACAC. For the 450 attendees who joined us at the end of May on the campus of Saint Martin’s University, I hope you found the conference to be a good time to connect, learn, and grow as a professional. This conference was the largest in PNACAC history and I am so grateful to my co-chair, Emilie Schnabel of Saint Martin’s University and the amazing planning committee members who did an outstanding job, devoting countless hours to making sure the event went smoothly.

I would like to also acknowledge and thank the outgoing Executive Board members and Chairs who have devoted years of service to PNACAC. Eric Pedersen, Karlen Suga, Grant Blume, David Compton, Sarah Weiss and Janah Valenzuela, you are amazing and you will be missed! I am also excited to welcome Robbie Cupps, President-Elect; Shannon Carr, Treasurer-Elect; Michael Sass, Government Relations Chair; Sara Calvert-Kubrom, Membership Chair; Annie Hayward, Communications Chair; and Katie O’Brien, Regional College Fairs Chair to the board.

This summer will be a time for reframing, readjusting, and hopefully, relaxing. Take time to take care of yourself and each other so that you are well rested and have the patience, understanding and  strength to help students navigate the path before them.  I look forward to serving as your president this next year and to spending time this summer chasing the carefree days into dusk.

Sara Calvert-Kubrom
PNACAC Membership Chair
Lewis & Clark College


Over the past year, the Membership by-laws were updated to reflect NACAC policy and to create a past-president membership category.  Additionally, we publicized PNACAC membership at Prior-Prior Year workshops in the region, were a Reach Higher Washington convening sponsor, and had a booth at the PNACAC conference.  We continue to collaborate with the Professional Development and Inter-association committees to enhance awareness of PNACAC in the region and to serve our members.  In the coming year we also hope to create an honorary membership category and to develop networking opportunities for our members.  Finally, as the annual membership cycle ended on May 31st, June has been busy with membership renewals and new membership applications.  Please contact me if you have questions or suggestions pertaining to membership.


PNACAC Membership as of May 2016

Colleges in PNACAC region


Colleges outside PNACAC region


High Schools (including districts)


Independent Counselors


Non-Profit Service Organizations & CBO


Retired & Past-Presidents


Grad Students


Total Paying Organizations/Individuals


Total Members



Paying Organizations/Individuals


Total Members




Paying Organizations/Individuals


Total Members




Paying Organizations/Individuals


Total Members




Paying Organizations/Individuals


Total Members




Paying Organizations/Individuals


Total Members



Outside Region

Paying Organizations/Individuals


Total Members


Professional Development
Megan Diefenbach
PNACAC Professional Development Chair
Holy Names Academy


In April, PNACAC presented five town hall meetings around the region to showcase the upcoming changes to the college financial aid process, namely Prior-Prior Year (PPY) / Early FAFSA.  Spearheaded by PNACAC Government Relations Chair, Grant Blume, and jointly sponsored by the PNACAC Professional Development and Inter-Association Committees, these regional town hall meetings sought to educate professionals on the evolving landscape of federal financial aid.
Approximately 300 professionals, ranging from school-based counselors to college-based financial aid administrators, attended these five town hall meetings.
Thanks to our five campus hosts in Washington, Oregon and Idaho! 
April 19:  Lacey, WA - Saint Martin's University
April 20:  Spokane, WA - Gonzaga University
April 20:  Portland, OR - University of Portland
April 26: Boise, ID - Boise State University
April 27: Seattle, WA - Seattle Pacific University

We also want to thank the U.S. Department of Education and the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators for partnering with us in planning these events.

PNACAC Conference 2016
PNACAC Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

On May 25th our association celebrated its 50th Anniversary of becoming a chartered affiliate of NACAC in conjunction with our yearly conference. Over 450 participants, the largest group a PNACAC conference ever witnessed, joined 28 of our Past Presidents in the festivities.

After the opening session many of the Past Presidents participated in a breakout session discussing college admission issues past, present and future.  When this session was created there were many who hoped for enough participants to fill the front row. We were lucky enough to see a “full house!”

I want to express how honored I was to be asked to chair this committee. I also want you to know it would not have happened if it were not for the efforts of the following Past Presidents:  Jim Rawlins, Alice Tanaka, Ed Bean, Cathy McMeekan, Michael McKeon, Palmer Muntz, Ralph Burrelle, Ann Nault, Eric Pedersen, Martha Pitts, Kevin Dyerly, Alicia Ortega, Matt Burns, Teri Calcagno and Jeanne Eulberg.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the conference leadership and thank conference co-chairs Andrea Frangi, now our sitting President, and Emilie Schnabel for a memorable conference. Thanks, too, to host Saint Martin’s University. Great organization. Great facilities. Great food. Great housing. Flawless effort! Thanks for the memories.
PNACAC 2016 Award Winners
Program of Excellence Award - Genesis Meaderds, Bienvenidos a Eastern Oregon University
Sister Shawn Marie Barry Distinguished Service to Youth Award – Kathy Krueger
Rising Star Award - Oster Hernandez
Exemplary Service Award - Alice Tanaka
Exemplary Service Award - Joe West
The Power of Time
Anne R. Wager - Independent Educational Consultant at Benchmark Associates, LLC

It will come as no surprise that one of the biggest gripes about our college counseling work is a lack of time. In anticipation of my presentation at PNACAC in May, I sent a short questionnaire to all of the counselors attending the conference. Something hit a nerve, as I quickly received almost 100 responses. I would like to share some key points.

When asked about our top three gripes, time, which impacts student engagement and parent communication, came out as the most stressful part of our work. Lack of time means less opportunity to visit and research colleges, keep current on financial aid and standardized tests, and stay on top of multiple applications and recommendations. Time-consuming administrative duties clearly are biting into college counseling time.

Another interesting set of responses dealt with college lists. When asked why students add colleges to their lists, the focus was on majors, rankings, and location, despite the fact that more than 85 percent of students change their intended majors.  Yet when asked what questions get to the heart of a student’s college interests and preferences, the compelling responses fell into four main categories:

  1. Your Learning Style and what works best for you now

  2. Picture your future and imagine doing what you love most

  3. Imagine your ideal college experience. what is it you cannot do without?

  4. Exploration of personal values: what makes you happy and how do you define success?

The disconnect between these two sets of responses made me think, “what could counselors accomplish if they just had more time?”

One school counselor’s response brings us full circle to why we need to work hard to bring counselors back to the forefront of the college process: “Our caseloads are so large that there isn’t enough time to tend to important details or to follow up on students’ plans and steps taken. Often students have misconceptions about all of the post-secondary options, and they need a lot of individual assistance. The personal counseling that could happen if we had time just doesn’t get done, but it would be powerful if it could happen!”
College Success for Veterans
Bob Dannenhold - Independent Educational Consultant and Certified Veterans Service Provider

The topic of student veterans applying to colleges in very large numbers is both inspiring and tragic. Inspiring because it is about free educational opportunities for young men and women who have valiantly served their country; tragic because so much of this funding goes unused, or is squandered on programs that sound good but offer little real value. As a college advisor who has worked with many returning veterans over the years, I have learned a few things about the roadblocks they sometimes face and would like to share my knowledge with other college advisors and colleges and universities seeking veteran applicants.

A 2013 study by Operation College Promise and the Pat Tillman Foundation titled Completing the Mission II: A Study of Veteran Students’ Progress Toward Degree Attainment in the Post 9/11 Era, has shown that when student veterans are supported by their college or university their grades, retention and graduation rates are higher than their peers’. This support comes in many forms, from on-campus veteran centers to special program offerings designed around the particular strengths of that institution. Providing such opportunities offers amazing returns for both the veteran and the college or university.

College advisors should also examine their strengths (and hearts) to see what they can do to help veterans achieve their goals. Although the Post 9/11 GI Bill makes a college education more than affordable, it does not guarantee success. Choosing the right college and then helping with the transition to a college campus is of utmost importance. That is where the special talents of PNACAC and other ACAC members around the country can help.

We can all make a difference by taking on just one or two returning veterans, pro bono if possible. Please feel free to contact me for more information about how to do this important work. 
In Our Region
12th Year Campaign

The 12th Year Campaign, a combination of two national programs (College Goal Washington and the College Application Campaign), aims to boost college and financial aid application rates in Washington. The Washington Student Achievement Council administers this campaign to provide high school seniors with support for two important processes: applying to colleges and applying for financial aid. For the past two years, the FAFSA completion rate for Washington State’s public high school seniors has been just shy of 50%.

12th Year Campaign events will typically take place in October and November and would not be possible without our amazing volunteers! You do not need to be fluent in financial aid to volunteer – training webinars and videos are available to prepare you to help students fill out their FAFSA and WASFA applications. You can also volunteer by registering students and families at events, presenting on relevant topics in your area of expertise, or ensuring that events run smoothly. If you would like to volunteer at a 12th Year Campaign site and help increase the percentage of students completing their FAFSA, WASFA, and college applications, please complete our Volunteer Interest Survey

Pacific Lutheran University

We have promoted several members of our staff:

Hannah Middlebrook, Associate Director of Admission

Hillary Powell, Assistant Director of Admission

Cassandra Brazell, Senior Admission Counselor 
Fall College Fairs

Douglas County - October 3, 2016 

12:00pm - 2:30
Roseburg High School

Southern Oregon - October 4, 2016

9:00am - 11:30am
Southern Oregon University

Central Oregon - October 6, 2016

9:00am - 11:30am
Redmond High School

Lane County - October 7, 2016

9:00am - 12:00pm
University of Oregon


Kenai Fair - October 18, 2016

10:00am – 1:00pm
Soldotna High School

Andrea Frangi 
PNACAC President
Seattle University