McAllister awarded The Fearless Nine Service to SCASFAA Award
The South Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SCASFAA) honored Dr. Tabatha McAllister, associate vice chancellor for student enrollment services for University of South Carolina Palmetto College (USC Palmetto College), with its highest award for an active member – The Fearless Nine Service to SCASFAA Award during its 50th anniversary conference earlier this spring.
Dr. Tabatha McAllister (formerly Chavis) is a 1985 graduate of St. Johns High School. She currently resides in Columbia SC with her spouse and children. She is the daughter of Pearlie Chaplin (formerly Sansbury) and Joe E. Chaplin of Darlington, SC. She earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education, Master of Education in Secondary School Counseling and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, respectively, from the University of South Carolina Columbia.
SCASFAA is a community of professionals promoting the advancement of financial assistance programs as an essential part of student access to post-secondary education. Individuals nominated for The Fearless Nine Service to SCASFAA Award are practicing student financial aid professionals who are current members of the association and have made outstanding, significant and meritorious contributions to SCASFAA through their leadership, activities and/or research in financial aid over an extended period of professional involvement, rather than a single event or activity.
The award is named for the nine founders of the state financial aid administrators’ organization.
McAllister has been a member of SCASFAA since 1992. Over the years her leadership and activities include serving as chairman to multiple committees and being elected to three offices.
She is one of two African Americans to serve as SCASFAA president during its first 50 years. During her tenure as president (2007-08), the association held College Goal Sunday (now College Goal South Carolina) – a volunteer program that provides free information and assistance to students and families who are applying financial aid for post-secondary education. She also transitioned the state’s organization to electronic voting, and she introduced two awards to honor association members with outstanding service.
McAllister was selected to represent South Carolina as a national decentralized trainer through the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). In that capacity, she traveled across the nation to train financial aid administrators. She also served several years as a SCASFAA new aid officers trainer and presented at multiple conferences.
Her regional activity with the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA) includes serving as a new aid officer’s instructor on multiple occasions.
She took a brief sabbatical from association leadership to complete her doctoral studies; however, her commitment to the profession and the notion of college access and affordability is reflected in her doctoral research entitled “The School Counselors’ Perception of Their Roles in Assisting Students with College Preparation.” The research revealed areas where financial aid administrators can offer additional support to school counselors in preparing students for the financial responsibilities of college. She returned to service as SASFAA vice president (2013-14), hosting a week-long new aid officers training at USC Upstate.
McAllister was honored again by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Her undergraduate story was submitted as part of the national organization’s “Student Aid Success Stories” series, and was selected to be featured in the NASFAA golden anniversary publication. She was also selected as one of six individuals asked to share their stories as NASFAA national conference luncheon speakers in July.
McAllister serves as a member of the USC Palmetto College executive team. After several years’ service as director of financial aid for the central financial aid office, her duties were expanded. As associate chancellor for student enrollment services, she manages admissions, financial aid and recruitment for the Palmetto College campuses and online programs.