Financial Aid SpecialistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
Financial aid specialists work for colleges or universities where they review and evaluate the applications for financial aid from students and prospective students and make determinations on eligibility status based on requirements. They track all applications and provide timely delivery of information, services, and funding to students. They educate applicants on financial aid programs, application procedures, award packaging, and keep them informed on financial aid progress. They also request renewal and correction applications and validate student enrollment and academic progress to ensure eligibility for financial aid.
Financial aid specialists may prepare and give financial aid workshops and presentations to students and prospective students. As such, excellent presentation and communication skills are required. They need to stay current on emerging trends and new legislation relating to financial aid, as well as adhere to industry best practices. Financial aid specialists must be organized, be able to prioritize and multitask, and be able to develop strong working relationships with students, employees, and the public. Familiarity with various computer applications and reporting tools, including Microsoft Access and Excel, is required. Financial aid specialists should also have the ability to work independently or with a team and must be conscious of handling sensitive and confidential data.
Sample job description #1
Job responsibilities include
Responsible in the coordination and administration of the Federal Direct PLUS and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan programs with emphasis on establishing eligibility, awarding of loans, and monitoring of the origination process. Will maintain to be informed of all Federal, State, and institutional policies and regulations governing the administration
Acts as liaison between students, parents, Department of Education, and Federal loan services in addressing and resolving any issues related to the awarding, processing and/or disbursement of the loans. This position will also monitor and update the Department of Education of any changes in award eligibility
Advises and counsels students and parents regarding the financial aid process. Analyzes and evaluates student’s financial needs. Advises on availability and sources of financial assistance including Pell Grant, Campus-based aid, Stafford loan, scholarships, and other programs. Interprets to students the policies, the processes, and the regulations
Participates in outreach activities and presentation of financial aid information to groups of students, parents, high school counselors, and/or the general public in workshop or training sessions
Attends professional workshops, meetings, and training sessions to assure adequate professional development and keep abreast of current rules and regulations
Some evening and weekend hours may be required
Performs other appropriate duties as assigned
High School Diploma or Equivalent and 0+ years of relevant experience.
Ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing
Ability to counsel and advise students
Knowledge of basic financial aid program requirements
Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with others
Knowledge of basic keyboard skills
Sample job description #2
Essential job functions
Provides complete and accurate financial aid counseling to students and families interested in applying for all financial aid programs administered by the University
Provides complete and accurate information on various payment plans and financing options to students and families
Assists in the processing of all federal and private loans and all entrance and exit counseling activities for borrowers
Coordinates the federal work study and campus employment programs
Co-manages the endowment/funded/perpetual scholarship programs
Manages the tuition remission/tuition exchange programs
Assists the Director in awarding and processing financial aid awards to students, including federal needs analysis and verification
Conducts presentations for on and off campus activities when needed
Provides prompt quality customer service to all constituents
Other duties as assigned
Reliable attendance is an on-going essential job function
Preferred minimum three years of experience working with federal and state regulations and/or college financial aid or equivalent combination
Experience working with financial aid software, Anthology preferred
Familiarity with IRS documentation
Education, licensure and certification needed
Bachelor’s degree in related area
NASFAA Financial Aid credentialing is a plus, but not required
Skills and abilities needed
High level of energy and enthusiasm for their work
Positive attitude and strong work ethic
Ability to be flexible and function efficiently in a fast-paced environment
Ability to take the initiative, work as a team member, and/or independently as needed
Demonstrated excellence in interpersonal skills and customer service
The position requires excellent oral and written communication skills
Proficiency with Microsoft Office and other software programs and applications
Willingness to participate in on-going professional financial aid training activities required.
Ability to collaborate with university colleagues with the shared goals of institutional success, service to students, and program integrity
Sample job description #3
Duties and accountabilities
Negotiates payment or payment plans of all current and past due accounts by direct telephone and written correspondence
Initiates correspondence regarding delinquency status, as well as updates student account information
Monitor and track private loan balance report
Identifies and monitors potential problem student accounts
Assists schools with the AR management process to ensure timely recovery of payments and maintain appropriate accounts receivable levels
Researches, resolves, corrects, and prevents invoice discrepancies by active interaction with student and other appropriate staff/departments
Researches and mails credit memos and duplicate payment letters
Researches and resolves all short payments within educational compliance, departmental policies and procedures
Performs detailed account reconciliations as needed to resolve complex disputed receivable issues
Communicates status of account problems on a regular basis
Prepares weekly balance reports to monitor cash flow
Process payments received directly to Group Office
Assists the Bursar’s office with projects as needed
Performs other related duties as assigned by Associate Director of Student Accounts
High School Diploma / Associate’s degree (A. A.) Preferred
Minimum of 3 years experience in collections (in an education environment preferred)
Strong Computer Skills (Microsoft Excel and MacBook) Microsoft office suite plus
Ability to prepare reports and business correspondence. Effectively turn numbers/data into usable data information
Versatility, flexibility, and a willingness to work within constantly changing priorities with enthusiasm
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a Financial Aid Specialist is $40,800 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Sample interview questions
How would you deal with a challenging financial case? Can you give an example of a past experience?
What are the keys to success when interacting with students and their parents?
Can you give an example of a time when you went above and beyond to deliver exceptional customer service?
What does discretion mean to you?
Describe a typical day at your current or previous job.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a financial aid specialist? How do you manage this?
How do you prioritize your work when responding to multiple requests simultaneously?
What is the most difficult part of providing excellent customer service?
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