BASIC FUNCTION: Advises and counsels students, parents and other interested parties regarding financial aid programs; Verifies student files in accordance with federal and institutional requirements; Processes financial aid appeals; Manages a project or set of projects directly related to the management of financial aid programs and collaboration with other offices on campus; Conducts on and off campus financial aid and financial literacy presentations; Participates in the growth and development of the department; Promotes safe and secure working conditions. Nights and weekends may be required during peak enrollment season and to support events being hosted by campus partners.
UNUSUAL WORK CONDITIONS: Exposure to highly confidential information
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree required
EXPERIENCE: 3-5 years of related financial aid experience; demonstrated record of responsible and successful work in financial aid;
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL NEEDED: Comprehensive knowledge of federal and state aid programs, processes and regulations; demonstrated knowledge and comfort utilizing various computer technologies and federal electronic programs; experience with Ellucian Banner preferred; excellent written and oral communications skills, including public speaking skills; possesses an administrative style that emphasizes collaboration and service with faculty, staff and students; ability to work in a team environment as well as the ability to work independently; keen attention to detail; ability to exercise independent judgement in the interpretation of office policies and procedure.
REPORTS TO: Director, Financial Aid
Advises and counsels students, parents and other interested parties regarding financial aid programs, eligibility criteria, application procedures and the aid awarding process. This includes:
- reviewing student aid applications to determine eligibility for financial aid in accordance with federal and university guidelines,
- utilizing Ellucian Banner as well as federal and state computer programs to track financial aid applicants and administer aid programs,
- educating students and parents about financial aid options,
- identifying and referring students to alternative funding sources as needed,
- maintaining current knowledge of changing federal aid regulations and processes through reading, conference attendance and/or engagement within the financial aid professional community,
- adhering to FERPA and confidentiality regulations,
- serving as Counselor of the Day on a rotating schedule.
Verifies student files in accordance with federal and institutional requirements. This involves:
- comparing federal tax returns or tax transcripts to applicant-reported data on the FAFSA and CSS/Profile aid applications,
- communicating with applicants to obtain additional documentation as needed to complete the verification,
- adjusting aid awards according to federal and institutional methodology to reflect verification results,
- collaborating with other FA staff to ensure documents are reviewed in a timely manner,
- maintaining records, including confidentiality, of submitted documents.
Processes financial aid appeals. This involves:
- responding to appeal letters in a timely and professional manner,
- requesting and reviewing necessary documentation to render an informed decision on the appeal request,
- evaluating the individual circumstances of the appeal, making professional judgments and providing a recommendation as to possible action,
- communicating with families regarding the results of the appeal,
- serving on the Appeals Committee and attending related meetings.
Manages a project or set of projects directly related to the management of financial aid programs and collaboration with other offices on campus. The assignments below are equitably divided between the assistant directors, assignment of which may change to provide opportunities for cross training and staff development. This involves:
- engaging and maintaining a collaborative relationship with Advancement personnel to support donor cultivation
- allocating endowed scholarship awards to students who meet donor specifications and within each annual budget,
- maintaining historical records of award decisions and correspondence,
- gather and communicate outside scholarship opportunities to students.
Liaison to the Athletics Department:
- developing estimated financial aid awards to support the recruitment of student athletes to Fairfield,
- assisting Athletics personnel in understanding student need as well as financial aid regulations,
- ensuring that all athletics grant-in-aid is awarded in accordance with federal and NCAA regulations,
- administering athlete award renewals and cancellations.
Liaison to the Study Abroad Office:
- counseling students regarding financial aid ramifications of study abroad,
- providing educational programming for interested students, in collaboration with SA staff,
- advising students on alternative loan options,
- collaborating with the Scholarship Administrator to identify recipients of need-based study abroad scholarships.
State Grant Administration:
- reviewing rosters provided by state agencies to confirm eligibility for scheduled awards,
- thorough knowledge of policies and procedures provided by each state to be used to comply with awarding eligible students,
- certifying payment rosters and communicating with the Office of the Bursar timeline for funds to be sent to the University
- disbursing state grants once the funds are received by the University
- reconciling payment rosters and disbursement rosters.
e. Direct Loan and Private Loan Administration:
- origination of all direct loans,
- knowledge of federal and private loan program policies and procedures for eligibility,
- records management of the direct loan program: including monitoring of entrance and exit counseling records, master promissory note records, and originations and disbursement records both in the Ellucian Banner system and the Common Origination Disbursement system.
- direct loan reconciliation each month,
- certification of private loans, within procedural guidelines, both electronic and on paper,
- management of the ELMSelect online private loan database
- return of loan funds in compliance with University, federal and loan company rules.
f. Graduate and Special Student Populations Administration:
- advises, packages, counsels and performs verification of special populations of students: graduate, part time, second degree, certificate and non-degree on the ground and online student populations;
- works in collaboration with other members of the financial aid team on timely processing of financial aid for special populations;
- works in collaboration with ITS on process enhancement projects that impact areas of special population enrollment management and financial aid management;
- works in collaboration with the University Bursar on areas of payment and payment processing of special student populations;
- works in collaboration with the University Registrar on projects related to registration and its impact on financial aid and special populations;
- works in collaboration with the Office of Graduate Admission and university OPM system to design process and procedures to serve online students in accordance with federal regulations and university policy;
- provides support at enrollment events for special populations which may require evening and weekend work.
g. Federal Work Study Program Administration:
- implement university procedures for hiring and staffing of students in FWS positions,
- collaborating with Human Resources and Payroll to ensure students are paid correctly and in accordance with federal regulations,
- utilize electronic tools, including Banner Workflow, to assist campus supervisors in managing their FWS workers,
- maintain web-based and catalog information regarding FWS program, including job listings and policies,
- maintain and communicate student and supervisor FWS manuals and procedures.
Conducts on and off campus financial aid and financial literacy presentations. This involves:
- Maintaining presentation materials and appropriate handouts/audience resources,
- Conducting parent information nights at local high schools or community agencies,
- Participating in university recruitment events, open houses, guidance counselor programs and similar activities as needed,
- Serving as a resource to other campus offices or student organizations with financial aid information and related presentations as needed.
Participates in the growth and development of the department. This includes:
- communicating effectively with supervisor concerning pertinent departmental and University matters,
- promoting an image of efficiency and courtesy throughout the University community and consistent with the Office of Financial Aid,
- participating in departmental staff meetings as needed.
Promotes safe and secure working conditions. This includes:
- Promoting the proper utilization of equipment and materials,
- Notifying supervisor immediately of any unsafe working conditions.