How to Become a Financial Aid Director

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Financial aid is an essential part of postsecondary education that refers to funding that assists students in paying for educational expenses such as tuition, books, and room and board. Financial aid directors are trained educational professionals that supervise financial aid programs.


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In 2015, I said goodbye to 16-hour days and hauling boxes up and down stairs for a living (I was a mover). I became a full-time entrepreneur, and I made my money by helping business owners make money.

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What does a financial aid director do?

Financial aid directors oversee all financial aid programs within a postsecondary institution including loan, fellowship, and scholarship programs. They recognize the financial needs of prospective and enrolled students and strive to help them meet those needs. They sent out reward acceptance and denial letters, obtain essential information, and research new forms of financial aid. Financial aid directors also collect data to examine the impact of financial aid on enrollment behavior, recognize trends, predict expenditures, and observe activities of the financial aid office.

What kind of training does a financial aid director need?

Financial aid directors usually need a master or doctorate degree in student affairs, higher education administration, or other related field. Many financial aid directors begin their careers in lower level positions and advance to directors as they gain the essential skills and experience. Others are certified financial planners or certified public accountants. Financial aid directors must have a solid understanding of the financial aid process and the rules and regulations set by the U.S. Department of Education. Many aspiring financial aid directors complete internships with financial aid offices to gain practical experience. Financial aid directors must stay up to date on the current advancements and financial aid legislation and they often complete continuing education and participate in seminars and workshops throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a financial aid director?

Employment of financial aid directors is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing population and increased need for financial assistance to complete postsecondary education will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be excellent especially for financial aid directors with extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace financial aid directors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do financial aid directors make?

As of November 2009, the middle 50% of financial aid directors earn annual salaries between $61,304 and $88,714. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $101,795 (2).

A career as a financial aid director is a great choice for people with a strong interest in directing financial aid activities for a variety of postsecondary institutions. Financial aid directors must have a thorough knowledge of financial aid processes and be able to lead financial aid activities. Confidence, determination, motivation, good judgment, and good problem solving skills are essential characteristics. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to interact with a variety of students, parents, and other educational professionals. They must also be able to work effectively as part of a team.

Joshua T Osborne

Founder/CEO – Mr. & Mrs. Leads

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