COUNSELOR
University of Washington - Seattle, WA

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The University of Washington (UW) is proud to be one of the nation’s premier educational and research institutions. Our people are the most important asset in our pursuit of achieving excellence in education, research, and community service. Our staff not only enjoys outstanding benefits and professional growth opportunities, but also an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits, and natural beauty.

Student Finanacial Aid has outstanding opportunities for three Counselor positions.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

To counsel financial aid applicants, parents and other interested parties regarding financial aid eligibility, application, awarding, disbursement, and repayment. To review and verify data for student financial aid applications; to award and utilize professional judgment in revising financial aid to students, to assist students in receiving aid. To participate in outreach activities to increase community awareness of financial assistance for education.

Provide in-person advising and counseling for students, parents, and others seeking information and assistance with all aspects of the financial aid application, eligibility, and disbursement process, 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 e-mail and mail regarding financial aid questions and issues.

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 to accommodate the circumstances that are within the law and institutional policy and funding guidelines, and defensible.

Verify or correct application information, track through automated correction process or enter data directly through CPS 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.

Perform community outreach at workshops in a variety of settings, including on and off campus, day, evening, and weekend venues. Coordinate presentations with sponsoring group and other presenters, determining in advance the appropriate equipment needed, and handouts and materials to be provided.
Review a variety of reports such as outside aid, ISIR load, change in program or major, etc., 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.

Review federal and state written updates and attend training and information meetings to maintain current knowledge of regulatory and institutional changes and policies relative to financial aid.

Administrative or liaison activities unique to assigned programs. Serve as team/committee member on review of appeals, special projects and tasks.
The financial aid field is one that 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 inserted within those spans. State aid can change annually with each session of the legislature. Institutional costs and processes may change even more often in response to improvements and limitations of technology, approval and revisions of budget priorities, and structural organizations. Every counselor will track these changes and the affects on student awards at the University. A more experienced counselor will be able to explain how these issues reflect changes in institutional, state, and federal guidelines and explain why each change was required and implemented. The counselor must successfully keep breast 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 exceptionally complex and require specialized training or skills.

Beyond the technical and counseling skills required for evaluation and verification of financial aid eligibility, the 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 regulatory as well as 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.

Our student service structure calls upon counselors to explain, sometimes to 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 them.

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 under 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 wherever possible or needed to outreach activities.

For detailed information on Benefits for this position click here.

REQUIREMENTS:

Bachelor’s degree

• Basic knowledge and at least 1 year experience in the financial aid administration of federal, state and institutional aid programs – including, at a minimum, federal delivery system, verification, and awarding aid. Senior counselors are required to have 3 years experience as a financial aid counselor, with one year in the Office of Student Financial Aid.

• Demonstrated ability to work well with people from diverse backgrounds – clients, coworkers,
and other parties.

• Proficiency with computers and common office PC-based software products.
• Proficiency in providing written and oral communication.

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except where there are legal requirements such as license/certification/registration.

DESIRED:

Master’s degree in student personnel services or related field.

• Additional years or more experience in financial aid counseling/administration that may include
different school settings.

• Specialized training or experience in programs administered at the University of Washington,such as Work Study, state Need Grant, Federal Quality Assurance, Experimental Site, COD, etc.

• Excellent oral and written communication skills.

• Background in financial aid related fields, operations, loan processing, etc.
• Student service experience at a large, urban university.

• Familiarity with UW Student Database and proficiency in the use of the Financial Aid modules.

Condition of Employment:

Standard working hours are 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. Occasional deviations from these hours may be required for workshops, training or special events. Most activities take place within the Office of Student Financial Aid occupying offices on the first floor of Schmitz Hall. Many of the activities in the financial aid office are cyclical with heavy processing during late spring and summer months. Due to volume and the need to have aid ready for summer and autumn quarters, these activities may require overtime on an occasional basis.

Application Process:

Part of the application process for this position includes completing an on-line cover letter assessment as well as the Employment Eligibility Assessment to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process. The assessment(s) will appear on your screen for you to complete as soon as you select "Apply to this Position" on this job announcement. Once you begin the assessment, it must be completed at that time. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until the assessment is complete.

Appointment to this position is contingent upon obtaining satisfactory results from a criminal background check.

The University of Washington is a leader in environmental stewardship & sustainability , and committed to becoming climate neutral.

The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 / 206-543-6452 (tty) or dso@uw.edu .

University of Washington - 15 months ago - save job
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