February 12, 2007

Craig Yamamoto honored for directing

students toward financial aid

With the Academy Awards on the horizon, it seems appropriate that Sacramento State can brag about having an award-winning director on staff.

But rather than motion pictures, Craig Yamamoto, the newly appointed director of Financial Aid, has been in charge of directing services that favor college students, rather than blockbuster movies.

Yamamoto recently received three prestigious awards for his work while he was the financial services program manager at Sierra College from 2000-06. At the annual conference of the California Community College Student Financial Aid Administrators Association (CCCSFAAA) in December 2006, Yamamoto received the group’s first Lifetime Membership Award, as well as the California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CASFAA) President’s Award and Creative Leadership Award.

The CCCSFAAA Lifetime Membership Award was a result of Yamamoto’s work as a representative on its executive board for one of ten regions in the state: president-elect, president and past president. Yamamoto significantly assisted the organization in its mission of advocating for student financial aid programs and accessibility to higher education.

The CASFAA President’s and Creative Leadership Awards were tied to Yamamoto’s demonstrated innovation through significant leadership in the profession.

“The CASFAA awards were presented to me because of the ‘CASFAA Day at the Capitol’ event I helped coordinate in March 2006,” says Yamamoto. “I was instrumental in establishing the agenda and the panel discussions for that day. We were able to focus on issues that directly related to college students and their access to financial aid, as well as visit with legislative representatives and present information about financial aid access and how it affects everyone in the state.”

Yamamoto feels the work he did with those associations provided him with strong leadership skills—skills he plans to put to good use at the University. “I am a passionate advocate for students, and I was able to establish that reputation and make good contacts through my activities with CCCSFAAA and CASFAA,” says Yamamoto.

And he’s established a number of priorities for Financial Aid. “We anticipate some significant, positive changes in financial aid at the federal level,” says Yamamoto. “We’re specifically looking for increases to the Pell Grant programs. The students’ cost of living has been steadily rising, and we want to be sure that financial aid can meet that increase.”