Job Listings

Director of Financial Aid - Systems

Western Washington University
Job Location:
Financial Aid

Position Title Director of Financial Aid-Systems

About the University

Western Washington University, with over 15,000 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 2024 U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Western Washington University is committed to achieving excellence through advancing inclusive success, increasing our Washington impact, and focusing on transformational education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and based on innovative scholarship, research, and creative activity. Western's greatest strength is the outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae who make up its community. Western supports an inclusive governance structure for all and provides a learning and working environment in which everyone can thrive. In pursuit of this excellence, individual employees are expected to establish and maintain productive and effective inclusive working relationships amongst diverse populations including staff, faculty, administration, student, and external constituents. Further, individual employees are expected to have the ability to operationalize sustainability concepts (economic, societal, environmental) into all aspects of performing their job duties.

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. We support 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 Director of Financial Aid-Systems has high level leadership responsibility for Western Washington University, directing the Systems and Operations enterprises for Financial Aid. The Director reports to the Executive Director of Financial Aid (ED-Fin Aid), providing strategic administration of student financial aid programs through the effective implementation, configuration, and management of computer software for the Financial Aid department and by oversight of application processing flow, systems documentation, and staff training. The Director supervises two IT Business Analysts, one Senior Financial Aid Counselor, the Assistant Director for Financial Aid Operations, and indirectly supervises three classified program coordinators and one program assistant who serve within the Financial Aid Operations Center. The Director serves as Acting ED-Fin Aid in the absence of the Executive Director.

The Director completes reports and surveys with significant compliance implications for the institution. This leader oversees administration of a number of financial aid programs, has significant responsibility for managing disbursement of millions of dollars of federal and state aid for the institution, and serves as a member of the Financial Aid Leadership Team.

Job Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Systems Team Leadership and Responsibility
    • Oversees the design, update, implementation, maintenance, testing, evaluation, and documentation of the financial aid software systems at Western (including but not limited to Ellucian Banner, FA Data Warehouse, OnBase, and U.S. Department of Education software).
    • Maintains an up-to-date understanding of the functions that financial aid software can provide through training and self-initiated research. Coordinates Ellucian Banner financial aid upgrade activities with Enterprise Application Services, Financial Aid staff members and others.
    • Performs extensive yearly financial aid systems configuration functions and process flow evaluation and implementation.
    • Writes detailed programming specifications for required financial aid forms and reports not provided by the Ellucian Banner or OnBase imaging systems. Serves as a liaison with Enterprise Application Services 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 Executive Director of major inconsistencies between regulatory requirements and what the systems provide. Recommends proposals for systems resolution to the ED-Fin Aid 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, largely by departmental staff.
    • Participates on relevant interdepartmental committees that address technical and data integrity issues affecting administrative and academic departments at WWU and provides 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 statistical reporting. Oversees other statistical reporting such as: Common Data Set, national college surveys, Washington Student Achievement Council requests, and requests from constituents within the WWU community.
    • Works with the Financial Aid staff to identify and resolve system and process flow problems.
    • Responsible for security administration for Financial Aid, including maintenance of access and security levels for all Ellucian Banner financial aid forms, OnBase financial aid access, the Washington Student Achievement Council secure website and portal and Federal Title IV web access (COD, CPS and NSLDS).
    • Leads the Operations enterprise for Financial Aid. The Operations Team conducts the processing of 19,000+ active student financial aid applications, including 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 OnBase imaging system, student notifications and systems tracking of student documentation requirements, batch packaging of financial aid awards, cancellation of funding, transmittal and receipt of Federal 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.
  • Supervision and Personnel Management
    • Leads the Systems and Operations Center, which includes two IT Business Analysts, the Assistant Director for Financial Aid Operations, and one Senior Financial Aid Counselor, to provide a team approach to systems cross training, process flow analysis, and systems documentation.
    • Directly supervises two IT Business Analysts, who are responsible for serving as systems backup in the absence of the Director of Financial Aid, oversees financial aid data transmissions between Financial Aid and the Department of Education servicer, Argos report writing, and data security for the Financial Aid Department.
    • Directly supervises the Assistant Director for Financial Aid Operations. Indirectly maintains oversight of the Operations Team, which includes three Program Coordinators, one Program Assistant and several student employees. The Assistant Director for Financial Aid Operations is a key member of the Systems Team and a leader in the Financial Aid Department, responsible for application process flow and systems configuration.
    • Directly supervises one Senior Financial Aid Counselor position. This position's responsibilities include the regulatory oversight and reconciliation for the $17 million Federal Pell Grant program, $6 million private alternative loan program, $100,000 Alaska Loan program and time-sensitive financial aid withdrawal calculations and processing for federal, state, and institutional aid programs.
    • Serves as hiring authority for Systems and Operations Center and has significant responsibility in advising the Executive Director for Financial Aid as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion, or any other change of status of other Financial Aid employees.
  • Reporting and Budget Responsibility
    • Responsible for meeting high-stakes, high-risk reporting requirements on behalf of Western Washington University, defending and justifying our continued use of millions of dollars of federal and state aid.
    • Oversees the production and filing of 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 Financial Aid report.
    • Oversees the accurate and timely compilation and filing of the FISAP, as well as quarterly and annual reports for funds including the Washington College Grant/College Bound Scholarship/Passport to College/Washington State Bridge Grant. These reports serve as requests for supplemental funding and substantiate disbursements to eligible students.
    • Creates, runs, resolves and/or oversees 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.
    • Completes surveys including but not limited to IPEDS, the Common Data Set, U.S. News and World Report, Peterson's College Board-Big Future College, and Princeton Review.
    • Serves as a member of the departmental Leadership Team, which plans and organizes department-wide work to ensure the accurate and timely delivery of financial aid to Western students.
    • Collaborates with the Counseling Team and provides input for changes to review processes.
    • Responsible for non-Title IV Federal emergency funding policy analysis, awarding, communications, and reporting. Maintains an up-to-date knowledge of awarding criteria associated with non-Title IV federal emergency funding and identifies students who are eligible for such funding via collaboration and systems retrievals among multiple areas, including but not limited to Financial Aid, the Registrar's Office, and Student Business Office. Provides clear communications to students that outline eligibility requirements and notifies students of their awards. For 2021- 22, non-Title IV Federal emergency funding exceeded $16.1 million to an estimated 9,000 students and former students, from a population of approximately 26,000 eligible students and former students.
    • Responsible for policy analysis, awarding and communications associated with administration of Washington State Bridge Grants, disbursed to approximately 2000 low-income students annually totaling an estimated $900,000.
    • Budgetary responsibility for Aid Funds: Federal Pell Grant approximately $17 million to over 3,000 students annually; Federal
    • Direct Loan Programs approximately $40 million to over 4,500 students annually; Washington State Grant/Scholarship Programs approximately $23 million to over 4,000 students annually.
    • Miscellaneous
      • Serves as a representative on inter-office committees and meetings not listed above, attends office and division meetings, monitors list-serve postings including but not limited to 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 Executive Director and/or ESS leadership.
      • And performs other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications

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

Preferred Qualifications

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

Conditions of Employment All employees must comply with our Immunization policies, including Proof of Rubeola Measles Immunity within 60-days of hire. Please reach out to if you need information regarding medical or religious exemption and applicable accommodations.

Salary $106,479 - $122,451. Through longevity position tops out at $138,423.

Benefits Information

Benefits Overview for Administrative Professional Position.

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; and (3) contact information for three professional references.

Closing Date Notes

Application review begins June 13, 2024; the position is open until filled.

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 Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Western Washington University, Old Main 126 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

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