Financial Aid Counselor at Central Washington University

Posted in Other 11 days ago.

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Location: Ellensburg, Washington

Job Description:

Central Washington University

To apply for a job at Central Washington University, please go to Central Washington University is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity/Title IX employer committed to providing employment opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Job ID 1992
Location Ellensburg
Full/Part Time Full-Time
Regular/Temporary Regular

Job Summary

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, monitor student progress for continued eligibility in addition to making 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.

Job Duties

- Financial Aid Counselors must use significant and broad professional judgment and discretion in the awarding of available financial aid. Changes in a family's financial strength, exceptions to the standard cost of attendance for unusual educational costs, and satisfactory academic progress appeals to financial aid eligibility requirements due to unique and special circumstances of the student are some examples of issues that require the use of professional judgment. These situations require careful review based on 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 that is justified and as fair as possible. 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 and the hard work 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 deal continuously with the dissonance between a family's perceived need and the help available to the student. In this position, they may be the "bearer of bad news" sometimes accused of telling students they "cannot" attend the University. They must be able to deal effectively with the dejection that some students feel when confronted with limited resources to make their educational dreams come true as well as parents and students who may become adversarial in attempts to improve their treatment. To resolve these situations without assistance, counselors are knowledgeable and authoritative while remaining supportive, calm and professional even in highly charged circumstances.
- Counselors must also be effective and knowledgeable in communicating to diverse groups and larger audiences regarding the financial aid process and requirements, and willing to contribute whenever possible or needed to support CWU outreach activities.
- Financial Aid Counselors provide in-person advising and counseling for students, parents, and others seeking information and assistance with all aspects of the financial aid application, eligibility, verification process, disbursement process and loan repayment while adjusting content to the level of background of each client. In counseling, analyzing the student's circumstances in the context of financial aid eligibility and the student's interests, explaining the possible outcomes and consequences of each action or decision, 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 needs and advocate for the student for exceptions to policy within the office or with process partners. Advise and assist students and others over the phone and by email and mail regarding financial aid questions and issues.
- Counsel college students, parents, high school students, and other prospective students on Federal, State, Institutional and Third party aid programs (such as Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), 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 education 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 for his/her situation.
- Advise clients regarding a broad range of financial aid rules, regulations, policies and procedures including some U.S. income tax filing rules.
- Support the efforts of Enrollment Management by participating in weekend recruitment events such as Wildcat Welcome Weekend, etc.
- Provide counseling in-person, via telephone and/or e-mail; interact with all constituents in a professional and timely manner, exhibiting customer service standards as defined by CWU's "The Wildcat Way".

- 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.
- 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 accommodate and 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 the circumstances that are within the law, institutional policy and funding guidelines, including being defensible. Verify or correct application information, track through automated correction process or enter data directly through FAAccess On-line. Document professional judgments and corrections, justifying actions that will withstand review by audit. Award and revise financial aid in accordance with federal, state, and institutional regulations and guidelines.
- Responsible for an assigned program management area such as oversight of default prevention, consumer information, guaranteed sources, aid for study abroad, scholarships, and reconcile program 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.
- Use the Administrative system (PeopleSoft), and export and import data with 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, ELM (private loan processing Center).

- 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.
- 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.

- The financial aid counselor requires a thorough understanding of the federal, state, and institutional rules governing the various forms of financial aid. Federal law is reauthorized every 5 to 6 years with regulatory changes and new legislation commonly inserted within those spans. State aid can change annually with each session of the legislature. Every counselor will track these changes and the effects on student awards at the University. The counselor must successfully keep abreast of technical applications of regulatory and institutional changes and utilize competent and increasingly complex computer system skills to meet their job requirements. Specific assigned programs may be complex and require specialized training or skills.
- Attend State and Federal training both in-person and virtually to learn, reinforce knowledge and keep up 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.
- Serve as team/committee member on review of appeals, special projects and tasks.
- Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor's Degree AND experience in financial aid OR Bachelor's Degree AND any combination of education and experience which clearly demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the job.
  • Relevant experience in personal finance, counseling, teaching and/or customer service.
  • Experience providing exemplary customer service to clients in stressful, difficult, or sensitive interpersonal situations.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate technical information and convey disappointing information.
  • Experience working with diverse clientele.
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Experience working with computer applications such as Word, Excel, Access, Outlook and PowerPoint.
  • OR applicable combination of education and/or experience which demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the position.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Master's Degree in Counseling, student personnel services or other related field.
  • Progressively responsible working experience in financial aid related fields such as, operations, loan processing, etc.
  • Bilingual - preferably Spanish.
  • Experience with PeopleSoft, Banner or comparable enterprise resource management systems (ERMS).
  • Public speaking/presentation experience.

  • 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: $34,438-$47,475 annually

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

Working Conditions: 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 work station for prolonged periods of time, perform extensive data entry and other computer-related tasks and create/maintain filing systems for departmental records. Some evening or weekend work and/or occasional travel may 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:

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: March 21, 2018

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

Contact Information

Name: Alice Fulleton
Title: Office Manager, Student Financial Services
Phone: (509) 963-3049
Website: Student Financial Services

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

Conditions of Employment

Prior to employment, final candidate(s) will be required to submit to a background check. All information obtained through background investigations will be strictly confidential and revealed only to those required to have access.


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