Mercer staff are leaders in Georgia financial aid association

Two individuals are engaging in a discussion in a modern office lobby, with one holding a laptop; in the background, a digital display shows information about services such as financial planning and student loans.
Emma Stich, director of financial planning services, engages a Mercer University student in a conversation in the Stembridge Center for Student Success in Macon. Photo by Marin Guta

Staff members in Mercer University’s Office of Student Financial Planning are playing integral roles in the Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (GASFAA), a statewide professional organization that includes 650 individuals from more than 120 institutions.

Emmilee Mitchell, director of operations for student financial planning, accepted the gavel for president of the GASFAA for the 2024-25 academic year. Emma Stich, director of financial planning services, is now chair of virtual webinars for the 2024-25 academic year, a role previously held by Dr. Maria Hammett, associate vice president of student financial planning. Dr. Hammett also served GASFAA as president for the 2020-21 academic year.

“In her role as associate vice president at Mercer, Dr. Hammett has focused intentionally on ensuring the Office of Student Financial Planning remains a leader among state, regional and national institutions,” said Dr. Penny Elkins, executive vice president of Mercer. “More than ever before, our students deserve highly qualified professionals who can help them navigate the college financial planning process, and Dr. Hammett is insistent that Mercer’s team models that standard of excellence for students and colleagues alike.

“She achieved this vision by not only volunteering to serve in professional organizations herself but also by inviting the Georgia Student Finance Commission and GASFAA organizations to our campuses.”

Mercer has been the No. 1 training location for GASFAA workshops for almost a decade, offering training for financial aid professionals on the Macon and Atlanta campuses and at the Henry County Regional Academic Center. The University is also the No. 1 training spot for state training with the Georgia Student Finance Commission, offering financial aid and high school counselor training on the Macon and Atlanta campuses.

“Dr. Hammett’s purposeful efforts have elevated Mercer’s presence in the state, provided invaluable training to staff, and brought hundreds of high school guidance counselors to our campus locations — all with the goal of equipping professionals in this critical field to better serve current and prospective students,” Dr. Elkins said. “Her service became a model for what she expected of others, and now we look forward to another very productive year with Emmilee Mitchell as president of GASFAA.”

Mitchell said she is thrilled to serve as GASFAA president for the upcoming year.

“My membership in GASFAA has significantly contributed to my professional growth in financial aid and enabled me to build strong connections with fellow administrators across the state,” she said. “I look forward to leading our association as we continue to make a meaningful impact on student financial aid and enhance the success and well-being of students throughout Georgia.”

Jennifer Falk
Jennifer Falk is director of digital communications at Mercer. She edits and writes feature stories for The Den and examines web data and analytics to drive content decisions. She also creates and supervises the creation of content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters.