Director of Financial Aid
Augustana College invites well-qualified candidates to apply for the position of Director of Financial Aid (DFA) to serve the institution and its students in the strategic and compliant packaging and delivery of all institutional, federal, state, and outside sources of financial aid. Leading a team of six skilled, experienced and customer service-oriented staff members, the Director will report to the Executive Vice President of External Relations (responsible for Advancement, Communication, Enrollment, and Planning). The DFA will serve as a leader and partner, bringing keen financial aid expertise within the enrollment division, and will serve as an effective and collegial campus collaborator within the Augustana campus community.
The primary duties and the responsibilities of the Director of Financial Aid will include:
Strategic Financial Aid
The Director of Financial Aid will strategically manage $67 million in institutional gift funds within an overall financial aid resource allocation, from all sources, of $258 million. Working in partnership with the Vice President and senior leadership within the enrollment division, the DFA will play an instrumental role in determining financial aid packaging rules that will best serve students and meet institutional goals and objectives for enrollment, discount, and net revenue. With a long-standing partnership between Augustana and Ruffalo Noel Levitz, the DFA will participate in all financial aid and enrollment optimization analysis, discussion, and engagement to develop strategy to meet enrollment and financial aid goals. Data collection and dissemination falls under the purview of the DFA, as well as setting packaging rules that will satisfy the goals and objectives decided upon.
As Augustana explores and implements new academic programs, including at the graduate level, the DFA will inform and educate leadership and the community on the impact on financial aid eligibility, collaborate on best practices for financial aid eligibility, and construct new financial aid policies and procedures to benefit future students in those programs.
The Director of Financial Aid will oversee the management of the Ellucian Colleague financial aid module in conjunction with Information Technology Services (ITS) support and members of the financial aid team. On an annual basis, the DFA will create and maintain programming rules and algorithms for all aspects of financial aid packaging. The DFA will collaborate with admissions operations and ITS to continue and improve integration with Slate (Customer Relationship Management system) and coordinate with ITS to implement new packaging cycles, enhancements and resolve issues.
The DFA in collaboration with members of the financial aid team will continuously explore new ways to increase productivity and efficiency through technology and automation. This will include exploration through Ellucian Colleague, its Self Service module not yet implemented, Slate, and other systems that will enhance office procedure and customer service.
Federal and State Compliance and Policies and Procedures
The Director of Financial Aid serves as the chief financial aid compliance officer with a student-centered approach. The DFA will ensure complete and accurate compliance with federal and state regulations and laws, and institutional policies, and also ensure that compliance is achieved at all levels, for all programs. Building on a track record of exceptionally clean audits, the DFA will actively participate in internal and external audits with actionable and appropriate responses, will complete all federal and state reports, applications, and reconciliation, and will appropriately delegate some of the responsibility, with oversight, to the team of financial aid professionals. The DFA will ensure the efficacy and accuracy of all processes and electronic functions within all financial aid procedures, and, along with the financial aid team, document all policies and procedures, and update, as needed, for new regulations, new programs, and new processes.
Office Management and Customer Service
The Director of Financial Aid will inherit an incredibly competent staff with a robust understanding of customer service and regulatory compliance. The DFA will continue to ensure that the Financial Aid staff members are knowledgeable and competent in policies, procedures, and all financial aid services. Cultivating an environment of support, collegiality, and transparency will be essential so that staff will be encouraged to work to their potential for the betterment of the student experience. The DFA will provide vision and maintain oversight of staff in the office. Maintaining and increasing the highest level of customer service experience across all service points, including in person and electronic communication, is critical. Along with other members of the financial aid team, the DFA will advise and counsel prospective and enrolled students and their families or sponsors on the availability of financial aid and the delivery process for receiving it. The DFA will ensure best practices, customer care, and timely notifications of student eligibility.
The Director of Financial Aid will foster strong collaborative efforts with all administrative offices pertinent to the awarding and distribution of financial aid and with all offices and services responsible for the support of students. The DFA will serve as a senior member of the Executive Vice President’s team and work collaboratively with admissions in the recruitment of new students. At times, the DFA will represent the College at recruiting events both on and off campus. The DFA will also work with the Business and Registrar Offices to maintain a seamless transition between student aid packaging, disbursements, and federal reporting. The DFA will also work collaboratively with the Office of Institutional Research, College Advancement and Academic Affairs. The EVP and DFA will coordinate efforts to advise College senior leadership on the impact of proposed state and federal financial aid legislation and recommend institutional response. Collaboration is essential with the ability to educate and train across the campus community on pertinent financial aid issues.
The successful candidate will possess deep experience in elements of financial aid, office management and supervision, and a contagious spirit of customer service. Specifically, Augustana College will seek the following qualifications:
- Experience in the strategic application of financial aid;
- Commitment to federal and state compliance and all federal and state reporting, such as the FISAP and Program Participation Agreement;
- Understanding of econometric enrollment models, development of financial aid leveraging programs, and strategic use of merit and need-based aid funding;
- Deftness with technology systems and programming financial aid packaging rules and algorithms; experience with Ellucian Colleague and Slate is a plus;
- Oriented toward data utilization to inform financial aid and enrollment predictive modeling and analysis systems;
- Knowledge of working with external enrollment consulting partners; experience with Ruffalo Noel Levitz is a plus;
- Noted campus collaborator, partner, and educator;
- Experienced public speaker, in such venues as conference presentations, group training, recruitment events, and/or high school financial aid presentations;
- Strong manager, equipped to empower staff, supporting and encouraging them to reach their potential as financial aid professionals;
- Six or more years of financial aid experience in a progressively senior supervisory role is required;
- A bachelor’s degree is required and an advanced degree is desirable.
- A highly collaborative, nimble individual with a strong work ethic and a recognition of team’s professional strengths, and attention to work/life balance;
- Flexible and nimble, with the ability to respond to new, strategic ideas and initiatives with quick planning for implementation;
- Priority for engaging contemporary quality technology and systems to strengthen office efficiencies;
- Clear commitment to ongoing efforts in exceptional customer service to students;
- A strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts when hiring and training staff, and in serving students and families.
Augustana College, deeply rooted in the liberal arts and sciences and an inclusive expression of Lutheran higher education, is committed to offering a challenging education that develops the qualities of mind, spirit and body necessary for students to discern their life’s calling of leadership and service in a diverse and changing world.
The goals of Augustana College are:
- To develop in qualified students the characteristics of a liberally educated person through a program of general studies.
- To develop in each student expertise in a major field of study.
- To encourage each student to confront the fundamental spiritual issues of human life by discerning their individual and communal callings, supported by the academic study of religion and the campus ministry program.
- To supplement students’ formal curricular programs with a full range of opportunities for personal growth and vocational discernment through participation in co-curricular activities.
- To encourage the personal and social growth of students through its residential life programs and extracurricular activities.
- To offer the church and local communities the benefit of its programs and staff within the context of its basic mission as an undergraduate liberal arts college.
Augustana College is a selective, private college that serves approximately 2,500 undergraduate students, offering 90 majors and related areas of undergraduate study and enjoys a ranking in the top tier of U.S. News, National Liberal Arts Colleges. In 2020, a new graduate program in speech-language pathology at Augustana was accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All undergraduate students receive an Augie Choice award for $2,000 to be used for an internship, research or study abroad. Augustana is a residential campus. First-year and sophomore students live in residence halls; juniors may choose transitional living areas (apartment-style housing on campus); seniors live on campus or in the neighborhood. Students engage in an abundance of activities including music groups, theatre, debate, publications, broadcasting, student government, local Greek system, and a wide variety of professional, religious, departmental, political, social and service organizations. As a member of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, the Augustana Vikings participate in 25 varsity athletic teams under NCAA Division III.
Founded in 1860 by Swedish settlers, the college honors its roots and its afﬁliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At the same time, Augustana’s rich liberal arts environment is enhanced by diversity. The beautiful campus is located along the Mississippi River in Rock Island, Illinois. The 115-acre wooded campus has been listed as number one in “The 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America” by College Week. In fact, due to the college’s proximity (a stone's throw) to the Mississippi River, River Readings are sometimes held with visiting scholars and poets. The Augustana campus has transformed and modernized more in the past 20 years than probably any other time in its history, carefully preserving the campus history, beauty and charm while doing so.
Life in the Quad Cities
Augustana College is located within the city of Rock Island, Illinois, a full-service community that is part of the larger Quad Cities (Rock Island, East Moline and Moline in Illinois and Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa) located on the Mississippi River. The Quad Cities have an estimated population of 400,000 situated 165 miles west of Chicago. Residents enjoy the natural beauty along the Mississippi River at Schwiebert Park, bike on the Great River Trail and explore the Quad City Botanical Center. The Quad Cities offers a great array of restaurants, a rich local art scene, and many events and festivities for the whole family. For more information about Rock Island, visit http://downtownrockisland.org/.
The Quad Cities are easily accessible by car and air (Quad Cities International Airport) and sit at the convergence of Interstates 74, 80, and 88. This mid-sized metropolitan area offers the amenities of a big city with all the hospitality of a small town. The Quad Cities is the largest metro area between Chicago and Des Moines and the Twin Cities and St. Louis. The area has a great transportation infrastructure, cultural attractions, and high quality of life, while providing ease of travel, low cost of living, and low crime rate. For more information about the Quad Cities area, visit: https://visitquadcities.com/
Napier Executive Search is assisting Augustana College in their search for the Director of Financial Aid. For more information or to nominate someone for this position, contact Robin Reynders at email@example.com or Mary Napier at firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential conversation. Interested candidates should submit 1) a current resume and 2) a cover letter expressing interest in the position, in Augustana College, and noting qualifications for the position to: email@example.com on or before May 18, 2021 for best consideration. Review of materials will continue until the position is filled. Candidates should also provide the names and contact information for at least three references. References will not be contacted without permission. Finalists will be subject to standard background checks. The expected start date is late summer 2021.
Augustana is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is Augustana College’s policy to provide equal opportunity to all qualified employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability and any other category protected by federal, state or local law.
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