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Financial Aid Counselor - Financial Aid

Company: Central Washington University
Location: Ellensburg
Posted on: June 22, 2022

Job Description:

Job Summary

Central Washington University is recruiting a Financial Aid Counselor to join our Financial Aid team in Ellensburg, Washington. This role is an important member of our team as they enhance the vision for the University. The role is a campus-based position, which means you get to see the lives you are impacting. We're offering a salary, depending on experience, from $36,667 - $44,000 annually plus the awesome CWU benefits.

Who we are:
We are a team of individuals committed to Changing Students' Lives. No matter what job, each of us plays a part in supporting and empowering our students to fulfill their dreams.

Working in higher education provides career growth and career choice. Think of a university campus like a mini city, operating across 380 acres. You'll find diverse academics, libraries, athletics and sporting events, full service and quick serve dining, conferences and events from small to large, recreation centers, housing for -10,000 students, health services, police and public safety.

For the seventh time in eight years, CWU is a recipient of the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Come join us on our journey to encourage, inspire, and create spaces where all identities thrive on campus.

https://www.cwu.edu/financial-aid/

What we offer:
Our investment in you begins the day you join our team, a healthy and successful future for you is important to us. We offer medical, dental, life and disability insurance, retirement and optional savings plans, tuition assistance for you and your dependents, discounts across town, an employee assistance program for individualized counseling, and a wellness incentive program. Learn more: https://www.cwu.edu/hr/benefits

Tour our campus in Ellensburg here : www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjdhOegDa9A

The Role:
The Financial Aid Counselor works with applicants, students, and parents regarding financial aid, scholarships, and work-study. The counselor is relied upon to correctly process applications, verify application data, determine eligibility, issue and/or revise awards, and monitor student progress for continued eligibility. In addition, they make professional judgement decisions for satisfactory academic progress, revision requests, and dependency overrides. This position delivers public presentations for financial aid, recruitment, and retention purposes, serving as an expert on financial aid programs for all constituents. All employees are expected to support CWU's commitment to diversity and to bring and support inclusion into the university environment.





Job Duties

Counseling:
- Financial Aid Counselors use significant and broad professional judgment and discretion in the awarding of available financial aid. Situations require a thorough understanding of regulations as well as the personal issues involved. In many cases, the issues involved may be complex and require involved discussions and excellent analytical skills to arrive at a decision. All exceptions must be fully documented and made within the limitations of statute. Financial Aid Counselors explain, and sometimes defend, professional judgment decisions made by other counselors. Because of the shared workload and working styles of a large group of individuals, successful counselors must be excellent communicators, good negotiators, team players, and excellent colleagues who share the goals necessary to achieve a successful outcome.
- Bridging the gap between the expectations of students and parents and the reality of what financial aid will provide can be stressful. Counselors regularly deal with dissonance between a family's perceived need and the help available to the student. Counselors are expected to remain supportive, calm, and professional during these difficult conversations.
- Financial Aid Counselors interact in-person, over the phone, virtually, and by email with students, parents, and others seeking information and assistance with all aspects of the financial aid process. Counseling may include analyzing the student's circumstances in the context of financial aid eligibility, explaining outcomes and consequences of actions or decisions, and referring students to other offices or resources as warranted by the student's situation.
- Determine when standard procedures may be inadequate to meet the student's situation and advocate for exceptions to policy within the office or with process partners.
- Counsel college students, parents, high school students, and other prospective students on Federal, State, Institutional and Third-party aid programs (such as College Success Foundation, CWU Foundation, and other organizations that fund scholarships) and explain how they may interact with one another.
- Counsel students and parents regarding educational loan options including federal student loans, private student loans, federal parent loans, and other possible sources of funding.
- Counsel students one-on-one and in groups on financial aid, scholarships, loans, work study employment, financial planning, debt management, budget development, and loan repayment.
- Articulate timelines to students and parents and explain how financial aid programs coordinate. Assist students to secure the best financial package possible in the situation.
- Advise customers on a broad range of financial aid rules, regulations, policies, and procedures, including some U.S. income tax filing rules.
- Serve as team/committee member on review of appeals, special projects, and tasks.



File Processing and Program Management:
- Provide day-to-day support in all aspects of financial aid processing: process applications, verify application data, determine eligibility, issue and/or revise awards, add scholarships and other funds to student awards and adjust other aid according to policy and monitor satisfactory academic progress.
- Accountable for properly following procedures used to process and distribute funds. Analyze high amounts of detailed data and take corrective action under tight time constraints. Contribute to development of system solutions for recurring problems.
- Review a variety of reports, comparing new data to previously recorded data, analyzing data for reasonableness and consistency with other information, contacting outside parties or students when necessary for clarification, making determinations as to how this affects student eligibility, adjusting the aid package and notifying students of changes.
- Take appropriate action if conflicting information or evidence of fraud is discovered. Make corrections to the application and/or ask for additional information as needed and under tight time constraints.
- Utilize professional judgment to counsel students regarding special circumstances. Review special circumstances presented by the student in-person or by means of written requests. Make appropriate revisions to student eligibility, cost of attendance or financial aid award to accommodate reasonable requests that are within the law, institutional policy, and funding guidelines. Document professional judgments and corrections, compiling documentation to support determinations.
- Award and revise financial aid in accordance with federal, state, and institutional regulations and guidelines. Verify or correct application information, track through automated correction process or enter data directly through FAAccess On-line.
- Responsible for an assigned program management area such as oversight of default prevention, consumer information, guaranteed sources, aid for study abroad, scholarships, or reconciling disbursements with program funding source. Serve as the expert on the specific program, train the assigned back-up staff member, and maintain the business process guides that outline the specific processes and procedures. Complete fund reconciliation regularly, if required by the assigned program.
- Maintain access to the administrative system (PeopleSoft), and other Financial Aid systems such as Common Origination Disbursement system (COD), National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), FAA Access, Central Process Service (CPS), WSAC secure portal, and ELM (private loan processing Center).

Presentations/Outreach:
- Counselors must be effective and knowledgeable in communicating to diverse groups and larger audiences the financial aid process and requirements, and willing to contribute whenever possible or needed to support CWU outreach activities.
- Perform community outreach at workshops using various types of presentation technology in a variety of settings, including on and off campus, day, evening, and weekend venues. Coordinate presentations with sponsoring groups and other presenters, determine in advance the appropriate equipment needed and handouts and materials to be provided. During peak times, financial aid counselors are conducting presentations at least once per week.
- Support the efforts of Enrollment Management by participating in evening and weekend recruitment events such as Wildcat Welcome Weekend, etc.

Attend Training:
- Attend State and Federal training both in-person and virtually to remain current with institutional and regulatory changes.
- Remain current in the field by attending training sessions, both in-person and virtually, provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) and through research using professional publications, manuals, and internet resources.
- Maintain expert knowledge of regulatory and institutional changes and utilize complex computer systems to meet job requirements. Specific assigned programs may be complex and require specialized training or skills.

- Other duties as assigned





Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor's degree OR combination of education and experience which demonstrate the ability to perform essential functions of the position.
Experience providing exemplary customer service in difficult or sensitive situations.
Experience working with diverse clientele.
Experience interpreting, explaining, and applying laws, regulations, and complex policies for multiple or highly specialized programs
Experience analyzing information and researching a variety of sources to identify and resolve problems or issues.
Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.
Demonstrated willingness and/or experience working with students and/or co-workers from a wide range of abilities, backgrounds, and experiences.

Preferred Qualifications

Master's Degree in Counseling, student personnel services, higher education, or related field.
Progressively responsible working experience in higher education financial aid.
Experience working with high school and/or college students.
Bilingual - preferably Spanish.
Experience with PeopleSoft, Banner, or comparable enterprise resource management systems (ERMS).
Public speaking/presentation experience.
Demonstrated commitment to improving access to higher education for students through various activities.
A record of promoting inclusivity in the work environment.

Competencies

Accountability/Dependability: Accepts responsibility for quality of own work; acknowledges and corrects mistakes. Shows up on time, meets standards, deadlines, and work schedules.
Judgement: Makes timely, informed decisions. Analyzes options and determines appropriate course of action.
Teamwork: Promotes cooperation and mutual support to achieve goals. Encourages participation and mutual support.
Adaptability/Flexibility: Responds positively to changing business needs and responsibilities. Adapts approach and methods to achieve results; recovers quickly from setbacks and finds alternatives.
Commitment to Diversity: Recognizes the value of diversity and helps create environment that supports and embraces diversity.





Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule

Salary : $36,667 - $44,000 annually

Schedule/Appointment : Monday - Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm (1 hour lunch). Occasional evenings/weekends.



Working Conditions : This position is located at the Ellensburg campus. Work is performed in an indoor office setting with frequent in-person interactions. It is essential to be able to remain at a desk/computer workstation for prolonged periods of time, perform extensive data entry and other computer-related tasks, and create/maintain filing systems. Some evening and weekend work will be required to accommodate peak times. Occasional travel may also be required.



Benefits : CWU offers a comprehensive benefits package including medical and dental insurance, retirement and optional savings plans, life and disability insurance, along with vacation and sick leave plans depending on employment classification. For additional information please visit: https://www.cwu.edu/hr/benefits



An employee of CWU may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program if the employee has student loans. To learn more, visit: https://ofm.wa.gov/state-human-resources/public-service-loan-forgiveness-program.





How To Apply

To apply for this position, you must complete the on-line application and attach:

A detailed cover letter clearly demonstrating how your education and experience: (a) meet the required (and, as applicable, preferred) qualifications, and (b) demonstrate the ability to perform the responsibilities as described by the posting;

Resume including work history, education, training; and


Contact information for three professional references.

Screening Begins: April 26, 2022

**Priority will be given to applications received by the screening date. Incomplete applications will not be considered.





Contact Information

Name: Inti Valverde
Title: Associate Director, Financial Aid
Email: valverde@cwu.edu
Phone: 509-963-3066
Website: https://www.cwu.edu/financial-aid/

Please contact Human Resources at hr@cwu.edu or 509-963-1202 if you require technical assistance with the on-line application process.





Conditions of Employment

Per Governor Inslee's Proclamation 21.14.1 , CWU employees are to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of October 2021. Your vaccination status will be verified if/when a job offer is made. Information about how to apply for medical and religious accommodations are available here: www.cwu.edu/hr/ . Failure to meet the vaccination policy (or approval of a medical or religious accommodation) will result in revocation of the offer.

Prior to employment, final candidate(s) will be required to sign a Sexual Misconduct disclosure in pursuant to RCW 28B.112.080and submit to a background check. All information obtained through background investigations will be strictly confidential and revealed only to those required to have access.

Keywords: Central Washington University, Yakima , Financial Aid Counselor - Financial Aid, Accounting, Auditing , Ellensburg, Washington

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