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June 15, 2024 1:22 am

Wayne Community College employee earns nationally recognized certification

GOLDSBORO — Vanessa Jernigan, associate director of financial aid at Wayne Community College, has earned the FAAC designation from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ accredited Certified Financial Aid Administrator (CFAA) Program.

The CFAA Program is a first-in-the-industry effort launched in 2019 that validates the skills and knowledge of financial aid professionals at postsecondary institutions.

Jernigan joins the ranks of an elite group of almost 500 other financial aid professionals who earned the FAAC designation after successfully passing a comprehensive knowledge exam and affirming commitment to the standards of ethical behavior that have long been a hallmark of the financial aid profession.

“Vanessa’s hard work and dedication to WCC and the financial aid industry have always been evident,” said WCC’s Director of Financial Aid and Veteran Services Katrina Lee. “Her desire for continued learning and professional development led her to seek this prestigious certification.”

Jernigan is a graduate of WCC and continued her education at Fayetteville State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in sociology. “I was a nontraditional student. I came back to school as a single parent. Prior to that, I had worked in banking and retail for many years,” she said.

She returned to school with the intention of working with at-risk youth one day. Jernigan now has 18 years of experience in the WCC financial aid office, participating in their work-study program as a student before becoming the office secretary and eventually a financial aid specialist.

“When I was in the work-study program, I would read books and study to be able to answer questions from students. It all started from there,” Jernigan said. “In a roundabout way, I am still helping at-risk students, just not in the way I initially planned.”

Lee, who has also received the FAAC certification, encouraged Jernigan to pursue it. “I’m very appreciative of her for that,” said Jernigan.

More information about the certification program may be found at nasfaa.org/certification_overview or by contacting NASFAA’s certification program staff at certification@nasfaa.org.