The primary responsibility of the financial aid counselor is to help families and prospective students with the application process. The financial aid counselor is often referred to as an advisor or representative and participates in the various aspects of the financial aid program. A financial advisor can be responsible for the management and dispersal of monetary rewards and grants.
In the management of the financial aid department at institutions of higher education, the office of financial aid can be responsible for the disbursement of scholarship awards and application processes. Ideal candidates for financial aid counselor will perform regular audits of financial aid accounts. This position may require a bachelor’s degree and at least 1-3 years direct experience within the field, usually this experience will come as an assistant.
The ideal candidate must be familiar with all regulations, policy and procedures involved with the processing of financial aid applications and dispersal of funds. The financial aid counselors will rely on experience in order to set and accomplish goals related to the processing of applications within financial aid programs. They will typically report to the director of financial aid or the head of the department.
The average median salary for financial aid counselors is $30,000-$45,000 annually. It is paramount that this individual be able to interpret federal, state and college regulations.
They may be responsible for adhering to institutional budget limits on spending financial aid dollars by tracking dollars within their individual account responsibility. The qualified candidate will have the ability to participate in annual audits and ensure office compliance while submitting required and accurate reports. This position may require extremely comfortable usage of Banner Financial Aid or comparable database systems.
A commitment to work with the diverse community of need based individuals is a prime responsibility. A natural candidate for this position will be inquisitive and analytical by nature. A superior financial aid counselor will have the ability to think critically while solving problems and explaining advanced concepts to non-experts, with an aptitude toward helping these individuals to understand financial aid policy and processes.
Strong communication skills are essential to meet the demands of the financial aid counselor. Also needed is the ability to present detailed formatted information in a public form or one on one, as well as determining the need based eligibility of a student for federal, state and institutional financial aid. The most qualified candidate will have the skill to create and write independently of forms and applications.