Financial Aid Specialist — Harper College

The Office of Student Financial Assistance at Harper College has an opening for a Financial Aid Specialist. Apply at

General Function:

This position is responsible for advising and counseling students, parents, faculty, and staff in all aspects of financial aid.  Expertise is critical in the areas of application and disbursement procedures, exercising professional judgment to analyze and process files, and operating in compliance with the regulatory and institutional requirements for federal, state, college, and external financial aid programs.  Serve as a primary source of direct information disseminated to Harper College stakeholders regarding the accuracy of specific aid status’ and deadlines, instruction on the proper completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid applications and forms, and complex aid regulations. Assist with the administration of the federal and state grant programs, as well as federal and private student loan programs (Stafford, PLUS, and Alternative Loans).

Characteristic Duties:

Serves as a direct source of information to ensure students and parents understand how to pay for college and educates them on how Harper College, federal, state and third party resources can provide assistance.

Advises students and parents about their financial opportunities to pay for college.  Provides timely, accurate and confidential information during in-person meetings, via telephone calls, CHAT and email to answer questions concerning financial aid, scholarships, work study and veteran’s programs including benefits, eligibility criteria, the application process, policies and procedures, appropriate deadlines, specific aid status information, loan information and requirements, and the impact of taking out student loans.

Applies customer service skills, knowledge, advocacy, and professional judgment to address both simple and complex matters to ensure that stakeholder financial aid needs are served in a timely manner and they have a positive experience.

Adheres to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) while managing sensitive confidential information to diagnose and analyze the various facets of each student’s financial situation.

Utilizes in depth knowledge to understand, analyze and explain administrative and compliance requirements related to processing federal and state grant programs, institutional programs and Federal Direct Loans using the Ellucian Banner system.

Exercises a strong working knowledge of ERP systems (Ellucian Banner preferably) and uses the system effectively to process financial aid and assist students.

Serves as a debt management advocate to inform students about federal and private loan terms, borrowing levels, debt management issues, loan policies and procedures, and loan entrance and exit counseling requirements.  Assists with making group presentations and participate in default prevention activities that deliver information to students in classes or other forums.

Participates in outreach activities and recruitment efforts of the Admission staff to provide financial aid information to prospective students.

Represents OSFA by participating in on-campus activities to promote collaboration and provide financial aid information.

Presents financial aid information representing Harper College at outreach activities for both on and off campus events (i.e., high school financial aid nights, High School Day, etc.) that may occur during normal business hours, in the evenings and on an occasional weekend.

Uses analytical skills and applies program knowledge to perform needs analysis, verification, packaging, award adjustments and other procedures necessary to deliver financial assistance to students.

Conforms to new technologies related to financial aid and loan processing.

Distributes application information and materials to students as requested.

Maintains a thorough understanding of administrative and compliance requirements for state and federal aid programs, and institutional policies for Harper College aid programs.

Assists students on issues that may change their financial aid and enrollment status including the potential effect of changes in their course load, withdrawal from their classes and eligibility for a refund of tuition charges, and adherence to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards, policy, and appeal process.  Reviews and renders decisions in the review of SAP appeals.

Assists with various projects, exception reports and quality assurance initiatives in order to assure compliance.

Participates in ongoing training and professional development activities including staying abreast of regulations and best practices through the use of webinars, reading listservs and regulatory documents, attending conferences. Assists with training of internal staff.

Applies excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills to deliver positive and negative messages.  Uses conflict management to handle adverse situations.  Interacts and establishes a professional rapport with students, parents, faculty and staff throughout Harper College.

Performs other duties as assigned.

Working Conditions/Physical Requirements:

Work is primarily indoor and sedentary in nature. Evening and occasional weekend hours are required.

Equipment/Tools Used:

In order to perform job duties, must be able to operate standard office equipment, including a computer, printer, telephone, fax machine, calculator, and copier.


Under the direct supervision of the Manager, OSFA Operations. May receive day-to-day direction from the Manager/Technical Services and Director of Student Financial Assistance. Provides direction to student aides.

Minimum Acceptable Qualifications:

Education: Bachelor degree required.

Experience: Two years of financial aid experience at a higher education institution with knowledge of Title IV programs and regulations, financial aid application and delivery process, online financial aid computer programs, professional judgment and file verification. Experience with Ellucian Banner system or related financial aid technology a plus. Veteran Certifying Official Experience preferred.  Ability to perform and meet deadlines. Excellent customer serve and problem solving skills with demonstrated professionalism required.

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