CWU: Financial Aid Counselor 1 or 2 - Ellensburg

Employer: Central Washington University

Job Description:
Job Summary
Central Washington University is recruiting a Financial Aid Counselor or Financial Aid Counselor 2 to join our Financial Aid team in Ellensburg, Washington. This role is an important member of our team as they advise and counsel students and families on the financial aid process for the University. The role is a campus-based position, which means you get to see the lives you are impacting. We're offering a salary, depending on education and experience, from $38,000 - $43,000 annually (Financial Aid Counselor) or $44,000 - $48,000 annually (Financial Aid Counselor 2) plus the awesome CWU benefits.

Who we are:
We are a team of individuals committed to Changing Students' Lives. No matter what job, each of us plays a part in supporting and empowering our students to fulfill their dreams.

Working in higher education provides career growth and career choice. Think of a university campus like a mini city, operating across 380 acres. You’ll find diverse academics, libraries, athletics and sporting events, full service and quick serve dining, conferences and events from small to large, recreation centers, housing for ~10,000 students, health services, police and public safety.

Central Washington University has been named a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Top Producing Institution for the 2022-2023 academic year. In addition, for the seventh time in eight years, CWU is a recipient of the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Come join us on our journey to encourage, inspire, and create spaces where all identities thrive on campus.

Tour our campus in Ellensburg here.

What we offer:
Our investment in you begins the day you join our team, a healthy and successful future for you is important to us. We offer medical, dental, life and disability insurance, retirement and optional savings plans, tuition assistance for you and your dependents, discounts across town, an employee assistance program for individualized counseling, and a wellness incentive program. Learn more:

The Role:
Financial Aid Counselor
This position is located at the Ellensburg campus. The Financial Aid Counselor works with applicants, students, and parents regarding financial aid, scholarships, and work-study. The counselor is relied upon to correctly process applications, verify application data, determine eligibility, issue and/or revise awards, and monitor student progress for continued eligibility. In addition, they make professional judgement decisions for satisfactory academic progress, revision requests, and dependency overrides. This position delivers public financial aid presentations for recruitment and retention purposes, serving as an expert on federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs for all constituents.

Financial Aid Counselor 2
The FA Counselor 2 fills a leadership position on the financial aid counseling team. In addition to the regular duties and responsibilities of a financial aid counselor, they model best practices and excellent customer service while providing guidance and assistance to the Student Financial Services Department. The FA Counselor 2 is a subject matter expert, able to give presentations for both small and large events and provide individual counseling support. Their understanding of processes, policies, and procedures allows them to work efficiently and with minimal supervision. They are a resource for financial aid counselors, the Student Financial Services Department, the university, and the community.

All employees are expected to support CWU’s commitment to diversity and to bring and support inclusion into the university environment.

Job Duties
Essential functions include, but not limited to:

- Financial Aid Counselors use significant and broad professional judgment and discretion in the awarding of available financial aid Situations require a thorough understanding of regulations as well as the personal issues involved. In many cases, the issues involved are complex and require involved discussions and excellent analytical skills to arrive at a decision. All exceptions must be fully documented and made within the limitations of statute/regulation. FA Counselor 2s explain, and sometimes 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 skilled leaders, excellent communicators, practiced negotiators, team players, and excellent colleagues who share the desire to achieve a successful outcome.
- Bridging the gap between family expectations and the reality of limited financial aid resources can be stressful. Counselors regularly deal with dissonance between a family's perceived need and the help available to the student. Counselors are expected to remain supportive, calm, and professional during these difficult conversations
- Financial Aid Counselors interact in-person, over the phone, virtually, and by email with students, families and support networks, and others seeking information and assistance with all aspects of the financial aid process. Counseling may include analyzing the student's circumstances for financial aid eligibility, explaining outcomes and consequences of actions or decisions, and referring students to other offices or resources as warranted by the student's situation
- Counsel college and high school students, families and support networks, and other stakeholders on Federal, State, Institutional, and Third-party aid programs (such as College Success Foundation, CWU Foundation, and other organizations that fund scholarships) and explain how they may interact with one another
- Advise customers on a broad range of financial aid rules, regulations, policies, and procedures, including some U.S. income tax filing rules.

File Processing and Program Management:
- Provide day-to-day support in all aspects of financial aid processing: process applications, verify application data, determine eligibility, issue and/or revise awards, add scholarships and other funds to student awards and adjust other aid according to policy and monitor satisfactory academic progress
- Accountable for properly following procedures used to process and distribute funds. Analyze high amounts of detailed data and take corrective action under tight time constraints. Contribute to development of system solutions for recurring problems.
- Utilize professional judgment to 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 award to accommodate reasonable requests that are within the law, institutional policy, and funding guidelines. Document professional judgments and corrections, compiling documentation to support determinations.

- Counselors must be effective and knowledgeable in communicating to diverse groups and larger audiences the financial aid process and requirements, and willing to contribute whenever possible or needed to support CWU outreach activities.

Attend Training
- Remain current in the field by attending training sessions, both in-person and virtually, provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) and through research using professional publications, manuals, and internet resources
- Maintain expert knowledge of regulatory and institutional changes and utilize complex computer systems to meet job requirements. Specific assigned programs may be complex and require specialized training or skills.
- Other duties as assigned

(Additional duties assigned to Financial Aid Counselor 2. Complete list of duties available upon request.)

Minimum Qualifications
Experience providing exemplary customer service in difficult or sensitive situations.
Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.
Experience interpreting, explaining, and applying financial aid laws, regulations, and complex policies for multiple or highly specialized programs
Experience analyzing financial aid and student record data and researching a variety of sources to identify and resolve problems or issues
Demonstrated experience interacting effectively with students and/or co-workers from a wide range of abilities, backgrounds, and experiences
Demonstrated willingness and/or experience working with students and/or co-workers from a wide range of abilities, backgrounds, and experiences.
OR applicable combination of education and/or experience which demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the position.

Preferred Qualifications
Bachelor’s Degree in counseling, higher education, or related field
Progressively responsible work experience in higher education financial aid
Bilingual – preferably Spanish
Demonstrated participation in programs designed to promote inclusion.
Demonstrated commitment to improving access to higher education for students through various activities.

Accountability/Dependability: Accepts responsibility for quality of own work; acknowledges and corrects mistakes. Shows up on time, meets standards, deadlines and work schedules.
Judgement: Makes timely, informed decisions. Analyzes options and determines appropriate course of action.
Teamwork: Promotes cooperation and mutual support to achieve goals. Encourages participation and mutual support.
Adaptability/Flexibility: Responds positively to changing business needs and responsibilities. Adapts approach and methods to achieve results; recovers quickly from setbacks and finds alternatives.
Commitment to Diversity: Recognizes the value of diversity and helps create environment that supports and embraces diversity.

Don’t meet every single requirement? At CWU we’re dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive, and authentic workplace, so if you’re excited about this role but your experience doesn’t align perfectly with every requirement, we encourage you to apply anyway. This may be the job for you!

Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule
Salary: $38,000 - $43,000 annually based on education and experience (Financial Aid Counselor) or $44,000 - $48,000 annually based on education and experience (Financial Aid Counselor 2)

Schedule/Appointment: Monday - Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm (1 hour lunch) / Occasional evening/weekends

Working Conditions: This position is located at the Ellensburg campus; other locations may be considered. Work is performed in an indoor office setting with frequent in-person interactions. It is essential to be able to remain at a desk/computer workstation for prolonged periods of time, perform extensive data entry and other computer-related tasks, and create/maintain filing systems. Some evening and weekend work will be required to accommodate peak times. Occasional travel may also be required.

Benefits: CWU offers a comprehensive benefits package including medical and dental insurance, retirement and optional savings plans, life and disability insurance, along with vacation and sick leave plans depending on employment classification. For additional information please visit:

An employee of CWU may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program if the employee has student loans. To learn more, visit:

How To Apply
To apply for this position, you must complete the on-line application and attach:

A detailed cover letter clearly demonstrating how your education and experience: (a) meet the required (and, as applicable, preferred) qualifications, and (b) demonstrate the ability to perform the responsibilities as described by the posting;

Resume including work history, education, training; and Contact information for three professional references.
Screening Begins: May 21, 2023

**Priority will be given to applications received by the screening date. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

Contact Information
Name: Inti Valverde
Title: Associate Director, Financial Aid
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 509-963-3066

Please contact Human Resources at [email protected] or 509-963-1202 if you require technical assistance with the on-line application process.

Conditions of Employment
Prior to employment, final candidate(s) will be required to sign a Sexual Misconduct disclosure in pursuant to RCW 28B.112.080 and submit to a background check. All information obtained through background investigations will be strictly confidential and revealed only to those required to have access.

Contact Person: Inti Valverde
Phone: 509-963-3066
Email: [email protected]
Location: Ellensburg, WA
Application Method: Apply online
Base Pay: $38,000 - $43,000 annually based on education and experience

Posted on May 22, 2023

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