The Graduate Financial Aid Counselor will develop financial aid packages for prospective and current students and adjust aid packages due to changes in students’ budgets, outside scholarships and appeals. Responsible for providing information to students and academic departments regarding financial aid regulations and contacting students regarding missing and/or additional information. Develop communication and presentation strategies to exit graduating students who have federal student loans and maintain exit documentation procedures.
Analyze FAFSA (federal) data for graduate students to determine federal aid eligibility under federal methodology, by implementing and interpreting federal regulations and academic programs’ terms of enrollment. Formulate and coordinate with various schools and academic program administrators, procedures for implementing institutional funding sources so that financial aid packages (federal and institutional resources) meet student needs. Counselor must exercise discretion in determining when it may be appropriate to invoke authority to use professional, independent judgment to deviate from federal methodology, on a case by case basis, and to advise academic programs if institutional funding sources in conjunction with federal aid result in an over-award or if the institutional funding type is inappropriate for enrollment status. Use judgment when to implement and release federal funding holds. Monitor enrollment during drop/add; adjust aid budgets and financial aid accordingly to avoid over-awards. Evaluate follow-up requests for waivers, adjustments for additional federal aid; determine whether individual circumstances justify an increase in federal assistance and/or the use of professional judgment to adjust federal aid.
Demonstrate extraordinary patience when providing detailed information and professional counseling to students and staff regarding federal financial aid eligibility and alternative financing. Assist students in meeting their financial responsibilities. In the course of counseling students, assess individual financial situations to determine whether there exists sufficient change or extenuating circumstance to justify a review and potential modification to initial eligibility determination; advise students and their academic programs of Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards and non-federal funding options if federal standards are not met. Work with academic programs to ensure that students receive appropriate documented SAP-related academic counseling for possible future reinstatement of federal aid.
Work with University, federal and third-party systems (SES, COD, FAA Access, NSLDS, ELMNet, OpenNet) to troubleshoot, analyze federal loan portfolios, monitor post-award updated FAFSA data (pushed ISIRs), complete federal refund/repayment documentation, analyze SES transaction reports and provide advice about University billing/payment problems to students and staff. Monitor federal financial aid regulations and develop updates for students and staff to ensure University operations are in compliance with federal regulations. Work closely with University information technology to test and troubleshoot system procedures. Monitor system functions so that federal deadlines are met. Provide timely delivery of federal student loan exit data, maintaining correct exit procedures and adhering to federal exit interview regulations.
Counselor is responsible for conducting group financial aid orientations, debt management presentations, and individual exit sessions for graduating undergraduate and graduate/professional students on both campuses. Clear and understandable information about very complex loan repayment plans must be provided.
Perform other duties as assigned.
Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in a major such as business, accounting or related field; OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
Minimum Two years’ experience in a financial aid office.
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral.
Excellent attention to detail.
Excellent time management.
Ability to meet deadlines.
Ability to prioritize and to alter course at a moment’s notice.
Three-five years financial aid experience in a private college or university setting.
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
Ability to patiently explain financial aid regulations to students and academic departments.
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral.
Group presentation experience.
Web design communication.
Ability to work with federal methodology.
Experience in packaging financial aid.
Excellent MS Office skills.
A creative thinker.
Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.
Internal Number: 35617
About Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a major private research university with 12 academic divisions located on three campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Education City in Doha, Qatar. We have approximately 2,500 full-time faculty members, 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and over 5,700 full and part-time staff. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth.