Jobs at Western

Financial Aid Counselor

Apply now Work type: Permanent Full Time
Location: Bellingham, WA
Categories: Enrollment & Student Services

Position Title Financial Aid Counselor
About the University

Western Washington University is an energized community with more than 16,000 students, 160+ academic programs, and six locations across Washington state. Western’s main campus is located in Bellingham, Washington, 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. This coastal community of 83,000 is nestled between Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the peaks of the North Cascades. Western offers the student focus and faculty access of a smaller college, but with the academic choice, opportunities for research, multicultural diversity, and room to grow of a large university.

Western is recognized nationally for its successes, from being named the top master’s-granting institution in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years in a row by U.S. News and World Report, which also named WWU as one of the best public schools in the West for veterans, to its recognition as one of the most sustainable, green campuses in the nation by the Sierra Club.

Western’s goal is to build a stronger Washington by being an international leader in active learning, critical thinking, and societal problem solving, as evidenced by the university’s 7th place ranking among more than 600 master’s-granting institutions for the number of graduates who go on to earn a research Ph.D. from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates. After its initial classification in 2010, Western was again one of 118 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification in 2020.

Western’s record for academic excellence is underscored by finishing third in the nation, tied with Stanford University, as producers of prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholars, third place among master’s-granting institutions nationally for Fulbright Scholars, and second in the nation among medium-sized universities sending graduates to the Peace Corps. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Academic Workplace report named Western as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, winning honors in two categories:  teaching environment and tenure clarity and process.

About the Department
The Financial Aid Department strives to reduce financial barriers to learning by providing eligible students with financial assistance to pay for their educational expenses through grants, scholarships, student employment and loans. The Financial Aid Department supports Western's mission, which states that together with our students, staff, and faculty, we are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement. We encourage applications from women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and with diverse experiences interested in this opportunity.
About the Position The Financial Aid Counselor is a professional, administrative exempt position that provides counseling to students, parents, faculty, high school counselors and others regarding financial aid eligibility, application procedures, student budget development, and debt management. This position reviews files, awards financial aid, makes financial aid presentations, counsels students on a drop-in or appointment basis, and makes informed and well-documented professional judgment decisions.

In addition, this position may be assigned special projects and/or program responsibilities based on operational necessity and individual experience and skills.

Position Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Provides one-on-one counseling in person, through e-mail and over the phone to applicants, students, and parents. Areas of counseling include the financial aid application process, financial aid eligibility, budget development, debt management, and University policies and procedures.
  • Provides guidance on resolving problems by explaining complex and detailed financial aid information in terms parents and students can more easily understand, and serves as liaison to other University departments including the Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, Student Outreach Services, and the Disability Access Center.
  • Responsible for managing a portion of financial aid applications (file load); determines if and what additional information may be required, makes corrections, and revises financial aid awards to ensure compliance with federal, state and institutional policies. Use analytical and mathematical skills to evaluate numerical information presented on tax documents, student aid application records, and aid eligibility worksheets.
  • Utilize professional judgment to accommodate and counsel students or parents regarding special circumstances. Make appropriate revisions to student eligibility, cost of attendance or financial aid to accommodate the circumstances that are within regulations. Requires the ability to review complex family financial information and situations and apply good judgment to arrive at defensible decisions. Document professional judgments decisions, justifying actions that will withstand review by audit.
  • Meets and collaborates with others to resolve issues pertaining to student eligibility and awarding of financial aid. Participates in complex Counseling Team decisions, policy development, and problem resolution.
  • Attends training opportunities in order to stay abreast of changing regulations, adherence to regulations, and for the enhancement of service to students. (May require out-of-town travel).
  • Assists with assigned ad hoc or special projects, and provides accurate analysis of data and efficient completion of assignments.
  • Stays current and compliant with federal, state and institutional financial aid regulations, policies and procedures governing the financial aid process, and maintains a working knowledge of federal, state and institutional sources of student financial aid.
  • Responsible for developing and maintaining a portion of the financial aid policies and procedures
  • Develops and delivers dynamic financial aid presentations to students and their families in support of Western’s recruitment goals, and to assist them with aid application processes at area high schools and other off-campus sites, as well as on Western’s campus.
Required Qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • In good standing on outstanding Federal Title IV loans
  • Demonstrated public speaking experience
  • Demonstrated ability to efficiently organize and prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and work independently within a highly computerized environment
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively provide services to people of diverse backgrounds and social identities
  • Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Work experience demonstrating attention to detail
  • Demonstrated ability to obtain, analyze and evaluate data
  • Demonstrated ability to apply and adhere to complex regulations
  • Demonstrated ability to contribute positively to a team-oriented environment
Preferred Qualifications
  • One year of student financial aid office experience
  • Experience using Ellucian Banner Financial Aid software
  • Experience working with document imaging software
  • Work history that demonstrates an innovative approach to quality improvement or problem-solving
Salary Salary for this position typically begins at $41,441 with an excellent benefits package.
Application Instructions

A cover letter and resume are required. Your cover letter must include a header for each required and preferred qualification and must have a written response to each required and preferred qualification even if the response is NA (not applicable) or no experience. You may cut and paste or upload your resume and cover letter as noted on the application.

Please complete the education and work experience section of the application and submit the names and contact information of three professional references.

Closing Date Notes Position closes April 5, 2020

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Office, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.

Job no: 497735
Advertised: Pacific Standard Time
Applications close: Pacific Daylight Time

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