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Conquer New challenges

The transition from high school student to college freshman is challenging for students, parents, and the professionals who serve them. Guidance Symposium 2021 brings together the partners who contribute to this process to learn, network, and grow.

You’ll participate in four 20 minute power-packed presentations designed to help you make the most of your profession, address change, and help students seize the biggest opportunities in college planning.

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Our carefully curated panel of professionals has designed expert sessions to help you explore the latest tools and trends, and provide a forum for your professional growth.

Charles Wareham

Founder, Guidance Symposium

Charles is considered one of New England’s foremost authorities on college funding and is a trusted advisor for school counselors seeking his expertise. Thousands of families have found lasting value in his quick-to-grasp insights and college planning presentations. He has more than 25 years’ experience in college funding strategies, and helping families plan their financial future.

Briefing on the FAFSA Simplification Act of 2020

In December of 2020, Congress enacted the FAFSA Simplification Act which makes key changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Pell eligibility and the HBCU Capital Financing Program. The bill will take effect on July 1, 2023 and will dramatically affect how families apply for financial aid, and how their aid will be calculated. In this fast paced session, we’ll provide you with an overview of the changes and an understanding of how your families will likely be affected. For instance, we’ll address changes to the Cost of Attendance (COA) definition which has not been updated since 1972, the replacement of the existing Expected Family Contribution with the new Student Aid Index, and how the number of household members in college will no longer play a role I the calculation of the Student Aid Index! We’ll also provide you with tools that you can use to help communicate the changes, to prepare your families for the impact, and resources to respond to the most common questions you’ll likely encounter.

Dr. Carolyn K. Sorkin, Ph.D.

President, University Passport LLC

Dr. Sorkin is a longtime leader in the field of international and higher education, and has co-authored publications on the development and importance of intercultural competence. Over the past 30+ years, she has served on Brown University’s Board of Admission, as Director of International Studies at Wesleyan University, and at New York University in teaching and research on education and the Spanish-speaking world. A regular speaker at professional conferences and local presentations, she holds an AB in history from Brown University, an MA in education from Stanford University, and a PhD in education from New York University. Since 2014, she has led University Passport, helping students and families understand and navigate the increasingly complex world of college admission.

How Covid-19 Changed the College Admissions Landscape

Testing and visits and stats — oh, my! Come hear Dr. Carolyn Sorkin discuss the many ways Covid-19 has changed the admission landscape. Her presentation will focus on helping school counselors advise students on the new challenges — and even some new opportunities — related to the college application process for the classes of ’22 and ’23.

Debra Chromy, Ed.D

President, Education Finance Council

Debra Chromy is the President of Education Finance Council (EFC), the national association representing nonprofit and state-based higher education finance organizations. Dr. Chromy leads EFC’s advocacy efforts on regulatory and legislative issues related to student loans and higher education. She collaborates with all EFC members, EFC’s Board of Directors, staff, the Administration, Congress, and other industry groups, facilitating and promoting EFC’s goals and initiatives. In addition, Dr. Chromy works to develop and implement member services and operational and communications strategies.

Dr. Chromy has worked in the student loan industry her entire career, for a student loan lender of both private and federal loans, a student loan servicer, and a federal loan guarantor. Prior to EFC, Dr. Chromy served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for American Student Assistance (ASA), where she was a leader in ASA’s corporate strategic planning process and managed ASA’s external relationships and partnerships, including federal and state governments, colleges and universities, higher education associations, and other student loan industry organizations.

Dr. Chromy received an A.B. in economics from Smith College, an M.B.A. from Boston University, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Chromy currently volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors of the Smith College Club of Washington, DC; Vice Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Executive Doctorate Alumni Advisory Board; and Chair of the Legislative Task Force for the Municipal Bonds for America Coalition.

Washington Update – Education Policy

President Biden and Vice President Harris are set to deliver on many of their campaign promises related to the cost and financing of higher education. This session will review the Biden-Harris Administration higher education financing policy proposals as well as those from Congress and discuss which, if any of these, we can expect to be enacted over the next 18 months leading up the mid-term elections in 2022.

Cathy Mueller

Executive Director

Cathy Mueller, a Missouri native, earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Delaware. Before working with others to create Mapping Your Future, Cathy was a newspaper reporter and editor, a radio reporter and DJ, a television promotions writer and a public relations writer and director. When she moved to Texas in 1994, Cathy joined Texas Guaranteed as a writer. She helped launch the company’s web site and then work with a team to spearhead the launch of Mapping Your Future, which started as a cooperative venture among the country’s leading financial aid and student loan agencies. Cathy is an APR certified member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Student loan Forgiveness

Student loan forgiveness stirs emotions on both sides of the issue. While some say loan forgiveness could relieve millions of borrowers of crushing debt and help the economy, others raise questions of fairness to taxpayers and to future generations as well as other issues. This session will highlight some of the latest proposals (or actions) on student loan debt forgiveness, the questions being raised, and what is being said about this public policy issue.


The State of Connecticut has selected Fidelity Investments as the new manager for the Connecticut 529 CHET program going forward. Click here to read about it.


Below you’ll find helpful videos and downloads plus pictures from past Guidance Symposiums.

Invest in a Child’s Future with the CHET Advisor 529 Plan managed by Fidelity

CHET Advisor 529 Plan Advantages

About Guidance Symposium

College Savings is a Big Cash flow Issue for Families

How to Pay For College Seminar

Get Inspired

Build Community

Make a Difference for Families

If you’re committed to creating positive experience for students and families transitioning from high school to college, you’ll benefit from Guidance Symposium. It’s a trending speed session we designed to ease Zoom fatigue and quickly give you the tools to cultivate your career and positively impact the lives of students and families.


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