Financial Aid

Associate Director Financial Aid/Systems

Western Washington University

About the University

Western Washington University, with over 16,000 students in seven colleges and the graduate school, is nationally recognized for its educational programs, students and faculty. The campus is located in Bellingham, Washington, a coastal community of 90,000 overlooking Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades Mountain range. The city lies 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. Western is the highest-ranking public, master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings.

About the Department

The Financial Aid Department is part of the Division of Enrollment and Student Services. We are looking for an energetic, professional colleague to join our team as we strive 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 to bring together individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in an inclusive, student-centered university that develops the potential of learners and the well-being of communities. 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

This position supports the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services by providing strategic administration of student financial aid programs through the effective implementation, configuration, and management of computer software for financial aid, and by oversight of the application processing flow, system documentation, and staff training in system related functions. You will directly supervise one Management Analyst 4, one IT Business Analysis-Entry, the Assistant Director of Financial Aid Operations, and indirectly supervise 4 classified staff and 1 temporary staff position in the Operations work group. You will also complete reports and surveys such as IPEDS, U.S. News and World Report, Washington College Grant/College Bound quarterly reports and the State Unit Record report. You will be a member of the administrative team, serve as Security Administrator for financial aid personnel by maintaining access and security levels for all Ellucian Banner Financial Aid forms, On Base electronic document files, the Washington Student Achievement Council secure website and portal, and Federal Title IV web access (COD, CPS, NSLDS).

Position Duties and Responsibilities 

Oversees the design, update, implementation, maintenance, testing, evaluation, and documentation of the financial aid software systems (Ellucian Banner, FA Data Warehouse, On Base, and Department of Education software).

  • Maintains an up-to-date understanding of what financial aid software can provide through training and self-initiated research. Coordinates Ellucian Banner financial aid upgrade activities with Administrative Computing Services, Financial Aid staff and others.
  • Performs extensive yearly financial aid systems configuration functions and processing flow evaluation and implementation.
  • Writes detailed programming specifications for required financial aid forms and reports not provided by the Ellucian Banner or On Base imaging systems.  Serves as a liaison with Administrative Computing to test and implement desired programming.
  • Determines whether the financial aid software systems meet federal and state aid regulations, with the assistance of relevant staff.  Informs the Assistant Vice President of major inconsistencies between regulatory requirements and what the systems provide.  Recommends proposals for systems resolution to the Assistant Vice President with rationale (pros/cons) for such recommendations.
  • Serves as primary representative/liaison for the Financial Aid office on institution-wide and state-wide technology initiatives.
  • Prepares and conducts systems training sessions for departmental staff.
  • Coordinates timely documentation of policies and procedures related to using the financial aid software system, to be written largely by departmental staff.
  • Participates on relevant interdepartmental committees that address technical and data integrity issues affecting administrative and academic departments at WWU and provide input for scheduling system down time and purchase of relevant software.
  • Writes database queries using several report writing tools to retrieve data from the financial aid system, as well as from other modules within the Western Student System, to support awarding of aid, problem solving,  and various types of statistical reporting.  Oversees other statistical reporting such as: common dataset, national college surveys, Washington Student Achievement Council requests, and requests from various constituents in the WWU community.
  • Works with the Financial Aid staff to identify and resolve system and processing flow problems.

Leads the Systems Support team, which includes a Management Analyst 4, an IT Business Analysis-Entry, and the Assistant Director of Financial Aid Operations, to provide a team approach to systems cross training, process flow analysis, and system documentation.

  • Supervises one Management Analyst 4 and one IT Business Analysis-Entry, who are responsible for serving as systems backup in the absence of the Associate Director for Systems, oversee financial aid data transmissions between the Financial Aid office and the Department of Education servicer and Argos reports writing. 
  • Directly supervises the Assistant Director of Financial Aid Operations, and indirectly maintains oversight of the operations team which includes 3 Program Coordinators, a Program Assistant, a part-time Office Assistant, and several student employees.  The Assistant Director of Financial Aid Operations is a key member of the Systems Support Team which is responsible for application processing flow and system configuration.  The Assistant Director of Financial Aid Operations is responsible for overseeing the processing of 19,000+ active student financial aid applications which includes; student FAFSA retrieval, loading data to the Ellucian Banner financial aid system, grouping and batch processing, intake and upload of documentation to the electronic student files in the On Base imaging system, student notification and system tracking of student documentation requirements, batch packaging of financial aid awards, cancellation of funding, transmittal and receipt of Direct Loan, Pell Grant and Teach Grant records, processing PLUS Loan application matches and revisions, monitoring intersession activities, and providing Satisfactory Academic Progress monitoring support.

Files the annual State Unit Record report, which summarizes all aid received by Western Washington University students who received any funding during the year and the Federal IPEDS report that focuses on Freshmen statistics.  Oversees the filing of the Washington College Grant and College Bound programs quarterly reports which serve as a request for supplemental funding and substantiate Washington College Grant and College Bound Scholarship payments for reconciliation and cash requests. 

Administers security for the Financial Aid office.  Maintains access and security levels for all Ellucian Banner financial aid forms, On Base financial aid access, the State WSAC secure website and portal, and Federal Title IV web access (COD, CPS, and NSLDS).

Creates, runs, resolves and/or oversees various discrepancy reports that ensure accurate delivery of aid, for example: Class level vs. Loan limits, Repeat Coursework Report, Late Starting Classes Report, “Offered not Accepted Aid by Fund,” and “Accepted not Paid Aid by Fund.”  Oversees fund re-awarding projects and fund switching for reconciliation.

Serves as a member of the Assistant Vice President’s Administrative Team, which plans and organizes department-wide activities to ensure the accurate and timely delivery of financial aid to students.  Also serves as a member of the Review Team, which reviews files, individual student cases, and provides input for changes to review processes.

Serves as an office representative on inter-office committees and meetings not listed above, attends office and division meetings, monitors list-serve postings like BFINAID, BPOST, BGENERAL, Ellucian E-Communities IFAP, and NASFAA, reads regulatory postings, attends trainings, conferences and webinars, and completes other special projects as assigned by the Assistant Vice President.

Required Qualifications

  1. Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Minimum 3 years of experience with support and maintenance of a mission-critical software system, including writing systems documentation
  3. Demonstrated experience working within Student Affairs/Services at a college or university
  4. Demonstrated experience learning and applying new technology
  5. Proven ability to maintain confidentiality and familiarity with the privacy and protection of sensitive data
  6. Demonstrated relational database experience, writing data queries and reports using query tools such as MS Access and SQL Developer
  7. Minimum 2 years supervisory or lead experience, with demonstrated ability to effectively plan, organize, prioritize, and delegate tasks to meet deadlines
  8. Demonstrated ability to accurately interpret and apply regulatory guidance to systems design
  9. Demonstrated commitment to support a workplace culture in which diversity and differing opinions are honored, respected and celebrated
  10. Excellent communication, customer service and interpersonal skills

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Master’s Degree or 5+ years of direct, mission-critical software oversight within student affairs/services office(s)
  2. Experience working in a college or university Financial Aid office
  3. Proficiency with Ellucian’s Banner Financial Aid module
  4. Working knowledge of OnBase or other imaging software
  5. Proficiency with Evisions Argos Report Writer or other report writers
  6. Project management experience

Salary

$77,930 – $90,930 commensurate experience, including an excellent benefits package

Application Instructions

A complete application requires:

  1. A cover letter that describes (a) how each required qualification is met in the order in which required qualifications are presented in this announcement; and (b) whether any preferred qualification(s) are met and if so, describes how they are met in the order presented in this announcement
  2. A resume
  3. Contact information for three professional references.

Closing Date Notes

Priority consideration will be provided for applications submitted by June 13, 2021; position is open until filled.

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