National University

December 20, 2010

by Sarah Hikel

As a nonprofit, private university in California, National University employs a unique one-course-per-month program that provides students with a different educational experience than traditional post-secondary education. This allows for an accelerated program where students can take 12 courses per year, as opposed to the usual 9 courses.

With University headquarters in La Jolla, the institution boasts 27 campuses in California and Nevada, as well as 4 Online Information Centers. Classes take place on campus or online and are designed to fit busy schedules with weekend and evening classes. As a result, the University allows year-round registration for new courses beginning every month.

With enrollment of 22,000 students, National University offers 100 graduate and undergraduate degree programs through its School of Business and Management, School of Education, School of Engineering and Technology, School of Health and Human Services, School of Media and Communication, and College of Letters and Sciences. The University also offers more than 1,200 online courses.

Founded in 1971, National University has received a great deal of recognition for its unique programs that meet the needs of non-traditional learners. The University has received multiple awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and Military Advanced Education Magazine named it one of the Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges provided accreditation for the University, which also serves as a member of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.


Federal Housing Authority

November 28, 2010

Several years ago, a housing boom occurred that caused home prices to skyrocket. As the inflated market increased real estate value, many individuals intent on purchasing property were unable to do so. When the housing bubble finally burst, first-time homebuyers were presented with an opportunity to utilize the financial crash in a positive manner, taking advantage of some of the lowest mortgage rates in history. In the past two years, the federal government has instituted an innovative program to breathe life into the ailing real estate market, offering qualified first-time homebuyers a tax credit incentive toward the purchase of a home. The response to the tax credit initiative has been overwhelming. Although many were able to benefit from the incentive, late filings and a lack of governmental funding kept a number of potential buyers from immediately realizing their dreams of ownership. Currently, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) is offering loans at 4.25%, with a required 3.5% down payment. In the past, mortgage lenders suggested a down payment of at least 5%, often encouraging buyers to put down as much as 20% if possible. Today, the real estate industry is drastically different from the way it was several years ago; lenders are now focused on innovative solutions for those who are prepared to purchase a home. Buyers who choose to take an FHA-approved loan are in good company, as FHA mortgages now comprise one-third of the market. With the abundance of affordable housing, there has never been a better time to buy. The current FHA mortgage rate is similar to that of a conventional mortgage, but FHA borrowers are eligible for additional state funds that are distributed through grants and bonds. Similar in concept to the first-time homebuyer’s tax credit initiative, FHA loans help facilitate new home purchases and reanimate the real estate market.

Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project (FCSNP)

September 13, 2010

I am involved with the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project (FCSNP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless and shelter-bound cats in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. FCSNP’s mission is twofold. FCSNP strives to eradicate instances of unnecessary euthanasia by reducing the number of stray cats, and to raise awareness regarding the importance of spaying and neutering. Working in partnership with Regional Animal Services of King County and PetSmart stores, FCSNP provides shelter cats with a new chance to find homes, bringing the animals from the King County facility to a Saturday adoption site at the Issaquah PetSmart location. When cats are adopted, FCSNP takes careful measures to ensure that every animal receives all necessary immunizations, also testing for diseases such as feline leukemia. Moreover, FCSNP provides follow-up assistance to new pet owners, ensuring that spaying or neutering occurs within a reasonable period of time following the adoption. The spay/neuter services offered by FCSNP are entirely safe, humane, and included in the nominal adoption fee. When one cat finds a home, a place in the King County shelter opens up, allowing FCSNP to continue expanding the reach of its mission. Currently, FCSNP is preparing an innovative, highly beneficial project. In the near future, individuals who adopt a cat through FCSNP will retain the option to microchip their furry friends. Thousands of domesticated, loving cats enter shelters each year with no collars, tags, or other identification that might be used to contact their original owners. Shelters fill up quickly, and are often forced to turn away needy animals due to overcrowding. A microchip functions as a piece of permanent identification, allowing King County to contact a lost pet’s owners immediately. Just as spaying or neutering helps reduce the number of animals living in shelters, micro-chipping enables King County staff to return found animals to their loving homes. To learn more about how you can assist the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project and the Regional Animal Services of King County with their mission, visit or

About Sarah Hikel

August 12, 2008

Sarah Hikel sets herself apart from other successful corporate executives with a commitment and passion for ethical and fair business leadership that goes far beyond the industry standards. Hikel earned her Bachelor’s of Business Administration in 1996 from National University, graduating Suma Cum Laude. The year Hikel earned her degree she joined Bank One Financial Services as Vice President of Business Control. Bank One’s consumer lending and wholesale acquisition specialization worked well for Hikel, who worked directly with the CEO of the Financial Services Division while collaborating with numerous Presidents and CFO’s from the company’s subsidiaries. Hikel helped lead the financial department and laid out budget plans that helped the company run more efficiently. In 1998, Sarah Hikel left Bank One to work at DMR Financial Services. Serving as Senior Vice President of Operations, Hikel pioneered new process flows and operating software usage at the mortgage lending firm, helping the company achieve newfound industry success. In October 2000 Sarah Hikel left DMR, and wasting no time joined the Washington based Mortgage Investment Lending Associates aka. MILA, Inc. only a month later. In her new e-commerce mortgage investment lending company, Hikel was tasked with the title Chief Operations Officer, and immediately set about innovating corporate procedures. Hikel helped raise the company’s operating budget from $10 million to $100 million in only five years. Reporting directly to the founder and CEO, Hikel used her years of experience and operating insight to help the company grow exponential in each year of service. Hikel created and led the Business Control Process, designing automated monitoring systems for operation procedures, while helping the company increase its staff and production without reducing quality or employee satisfaction. Those who worked alongside Hikel marveled at her commitment to the company and ability to create a corporate culture that was open and safe, but still maintained high standards of operational efficiency and regulatory compliance. Sarah Hikel holds an important skill set that many executives fail to flex; the ability to not only think strategically, but implement the resources necessary to bring this strategic vision to life.

Hello world!

July 17, 2008

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