TRIO programs provide educational opportunities for first-generation, low income and students with disabilities. AASAP members are passionate about helping students meet their potential and achieve their goals.


REMINDER--Applications for 2018 AASAP Scholarships are due on June 1, 2018. Click here to access more information and the application!

June 13, 2018

Happy Hump Day!                                                                                                      

I hope that everyone is doing well.  As some of us gear up for summer sessions and the rest of us gear down with preparing for Fall, I want everyone to remember that we still need to advocate for our programs.

PROSPER Act: Yesterday, SWASAP sent out a call to action concerning the PROSPER Act.  While the “whip count” may have happened last night, remember it is not OVER yet.  Please take the time to contact your Representatives to encourage them to vote “NO” on PROSPER.  Below is the information from SWASAP sent out yesterday:

SWASAP has learned that on Tuesday evening, the House Republican leadership will conduct a formal “whip count” to determine whether there are enough votes to pass the PROSPER Act in the House of Representatives. Although there is no chance of a full reauthorization of the Higher Education Act this year due to stalled action in the Senate, an affirmative vote on the PROSPER Act in the House would have significant implications on the overall reauthorization process. Passing the legislation in the House would signal approval to the Senate on the many troubling proposals included in the bill, including several negative reforms to TRIO.

Therefore, it is critical that all TRIO supporters, but particularly those represented by Republicans in the House of Representatives, take time on Tuesday morning to call their House Representative with the following message:

“My name is ___________ and I’m a [TITLE] at [INSTITUTION] in [CITY, STATE]. I want to urge [REPRESENTATIVE] to vote against the PROSPER Act because of harmful reforms it proposes to the Federal TRIO Programs.”

After you call, urge five more friends to call. Our purpose is to create a high volume of calls to House Republican offices with a single message VOTE NO ON THE PROSPER ACT!

Remember, the PROSPER Act proposes to:

1. Require the Secretary of Education to set aside an unlimited amount of TRIO dollars for new applicants (undermining the experience and efficiency of existing programs)
2. Create a 20% matching requirement
3. Limit eligibility for institutions that host similar programs

These are just a few of the many concerns with the bill. That is why more than 400 higher education associations and institutions signed a letter in opposition to the TRIO proposal in the bill.

Thank you for your quick action on this critical matter.

COE National Conference:  Remember the COE National Conference will be in NYC!  If you are planning to attend this event, please email me at I would love to meet with as many AASAP members as possible and maybe have dinner together.  I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this great conference! Here is the link for more information on the COE National Conference:

Fair Share: Big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to fair share and for the all the hard work that Jeanette Youngblood has done!  AASAP is at 111% for Fair Share!  SWASAP is at 105%.  Nice job everyone and we greatly appreciate you donating to COE!

UAMS Grant: Robin Howell, Project Manager for UAMS regional programs reached out to AASAP to ask for support for the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) grant.  UAMS is interested in promoting partnerships with TRIO programs across the state.  As President, I am happy to say that we sent out a letter of support.  As I have spoken with Robin at UAMS, whether they receive the grant or not, UAMS is interested in fostering a growing partnership with TRIO programs.  As I receive more information I will get it out to all the membership. I am very excited to see this partnership grow and offer these benefits to our students.

Be on the LOOKOUT:  Please be watching your emails and our social media pages for updates:

·        AASAP Fall Conference in beautiful Hot Springs on September 30-October 2.  The conference committee is working hard to make this a great professional development for all! 

·        Be thinking of your TRIO Achiever nomination!  Everyone has a great student that is doing wonderful things in their chosen career path, please be thinking of whom you can nominate for TRIO Achiever!

·        SWASAP is in Arkansas this year!  Please make plans to attend SWASAP in Little Rock November 11-14, 2018.  Let us show off our beautiful state and all we can offer!

As always if I can be of any assistance to your or if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 870-612-2024 or

Have a great summer!

Ronda McLelland
AASAP President


February 26, 2018

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone has survived all the rain that Arkansas has been receiving for the last week.  I have some updates for the membership.  I do apologize for not emailing you all sooner, however, the flu invaded my household and finally- we are now flu free!

Constitutional Changes Ballots:  The ballots have been counted and due to not having 2/3 of the membership return ballots, the measure has failed.  We have 164 members of AASAP and only 89 ballots were returned.  However, the board has decided to develop a committee to review the Constitution and By-laws in order to best serve the needs of the membership.  If you are interested in serving on this committee, please contact me or complete the google form . 

I would really like to have this committee in place within the next couple of weeks.

TRIO Day: Thank you ASU Beebe for hosting TRIO Day this past weekend.  Thank you to all the schools that braved the rain and flooding to attend a great TRIO Day!  My students bragged on how great it was the whole drive home.  If you did not attend, please make plans to try to bring your students next year!  It is a wonderful way to have all TRIO programs together to celebrate the great things TRIO does every day for our students!

Hall of Fame: If you did not submit a Hall of Fame student for TRIO Day, there is still time!  Sharon Scudder is still collecting Hall of Fame nominees.  Please email completed nomination form, student’s picture, and 300 words or less biography to Sharon Scudder at Please make your selection as soon as possible and submit this form no later than Wednesday, February 28, 2018.  I would love to have several stories from Arkansas to have in the Fact Book for Policy.

COE Policy Seminar: COE Policy Seminar is fast approaching.  If you are planning on attending Policy this year and have not contacted me, please do so.  I am making congressional appointments and I would like to have a estimated number of AASAP members that will be attending Policy this year.  With the PROSPER Act and possible budget cuts it is so important for TRIO to have student stories and advocates for our programs.  I hope that EVERYONE considers traveling to our nation's capital for this. We are in a crucial time and EVERY TRIO program is on the line, not just EOC and McNair. We need as many advocates and stories we can get. 

Spring Leadership: Save the date for Spring Leadership at UAFS on March 26, 2018.  I hope to see all of you at Spring Leadership this year.

If there is anything that I can do to assist you or if you have questions regarding any of the above information, please feel free to contact me.

 Thank you,

Ronda McLelland


Arkansas Association of Student Assistance Programs (AASAP) 
(870) 612-2024


January 10, 2018

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful break and are ready for the upcoming year.  I am so excited about the possibilities that a new year brings.  Here I have some updates for the upcoming year.

Constitutional Changes Ballots: Just a reminder that all ballots need to be returned and postmarked no later than January 12, 2018 (this Friday).  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.  If you have not received a ballot, please contact me as soon as possible.

TRIO Day:  Big Thank You to ASU Beebe for hosting this year’s TRIO Day Olympics: Go for the Gold!  TRIO Day will be held on February 24, 2018.  Registration will begin at 8:30am and the program will begin at 9:30am and conclude at 2pm with campus tours available to those interested.  Be on the look out for the registration form in next week!  I look forward to seeing all of our students at TRIO Day. 

Hall of Fame:  It is time again to recognize our Hall of Famers!  The Hall of Fame is an effort to showcase the array of students within Arkansas TRIO Program by noting their various academic and civic accomplishments.  Each individual TRIO program can nominate one participant for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.  Hall of Fame nominees will be recognized during the Arkansas TRIO Day Program which will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the ASU Beebe campus.

Please email completed nomination form, student’s picture, and 300 words or less biography to Sharon Scudder at Please make your selection as soon as possible and submit this form no later than Friday, February 9, 2018.

COE Policy Seminar:  The application for the Policy stipend is OPEN! Please click the link below and submit your application for free money to go toward your Policy expenses! AASAP and SWASAP partner to ensure Arkansas TRIO programs are represented on Capitol Hill as we advocate for our programs. Both organizations have pooled money together and every active AASAP member AND/OR Arkansas TRIO alum is invited to apply for this

Policy is a great way to connect with the TRIO cause on the federal level. For more information on this event, please visit the Council of Opportunity's website by clicking this link. Please note, there are registration discounts for newcomers. The SWASAP ELI class of 2015 made a video highlighting why you should go to Policy in Washington DC. Check it out!

The 2018 Stipend application can be found clicking this link. 

The application deadline is January 17, 2018. 

I hope that EVERYONE considers travelling to our nation's capital for this. We are in a crucial time and EVERY TRIO program is on the line, not just EOC and McNair. We need as many advocates and stories we can get. 

 I look forward to serving the membership this upcoming year!  If there is anything that I can do to assist you or if you have questions regarding any of the above information, please feel free to contact me.

 Thank you,

Ronda McLelland
AASAP President


November 28, 2017: Vote on Constitutional Changes

At the fall conference, on October 3, 2017, the AASAP Executive Board received a petition from the membership proposing changes in the constitution. The petition was signed by 81 active members. These signatures were verified by secretary Shawna McKenzie-Neal and given to president Michelle Ciesielski on October 4, 2017. For the following months, the president worked to ensure the most up-to-date constitution was being utilized before any changes were voted on. The 8/20/2008 constitution on the website was found to be the most updated version. The following is the petition that was received:


Petition to strike "Fall" Conference and "Spring" Leadership in the Constitution of AASAP to be changed to "Annual" Conference and "Annual Leadership Institute.

And under Article 7, Section 2 strike "213" (as it already says two-thirds(2/3)).

As stated in the AASAP Constitution, this proposed amendment must be made available to all members at least 30 days before the expected action. This will be done on AASAP's website, social media accounts that direct members to the website, and email.

As stated in the AASAP Constitution, ballots will be mailed to each active member. This will be done via United States Postal Service, as the Constitution does not state electronic mail as an acceptable method. Each member shall indicate "for" or "against," sign the ballot and return it. 

Members are strongly encouraged to review the AASAP Constitution before voting. Please be looking for updates on this issue.

Thank you,

Michelle Ciesielski

2018 AASAP Board Members

The elected officers of this association shall be President, President-Elect, Treasurer, two (2) at large representatives to the SWASAP Board of Directors and two (2) at large representatives to the State Executive Committee.

2018 AASAP Board Members Contact Info (PDF)

2017 AASAP Board Members Contact Info (PDF)

AASAP Constitution & Bylaws

We, the members of this organization, do ordain this the constitution of the AASAP – Arkansas Association of Student Assistance Programs, as the constitution for the members of AASAP - Arkansas Association of Student Assistance Programs.

AASAP Constitution/Bylaws (PDF)

AASAP Policy & Procedures

The intent of this manual is to provide guidance, stability, and continuity to the Executive Committee of AASAP. This manual may be revised, modified, or changed upon the approval of a majority of the members of the Board.

AASAP Policies & Procedures (PDF)