Oberlin College seeks a dynamic, innovative, and strategic leader to serve as the next Director of Financial Aid.
About the College
Oberlin College & Conservatory is a four-year, highly selective liberal arts college that combines a top-ranked college of arts and sciences with a world-renowned conservatory of music. Combined, the two divisions enroll approximately 2,900 students. Founded in 1833, Oberlin was the first college in the United States to make interracial education and coeducation central to its mission — traditions that live today within a commitment to positive social engagement.
Located 35 miles southwest of Cleveland, OH, Oberlin College has earned a reputation of excellence based on the quality of its richly diverse student body, outstanding faculty, excellent facilities, and academic and technological resources.
About the Position
Reporting to the Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, the Director will provide strategic and operational leadership of the college’s financial aid program and lead a team of four financial aid professionals and two administrative assistants. They will manage a comprehensive financial aid program that awards more than $65 million annually in support of the college’s financial aid policy that meets 100% of demonstrated need. This position provides an opportunity to help shape the vision for the future of financial aid at a prestigious liberal arts institution.
The ideal candidate will be a self-starter, highly collaborative, dynamic, empathetic, and patient. Strong hands-on experience in all facets of delivery and reporting student financial aid services is essential. The individual must have a clear vision as to the critical role student financial aid plays in the recruitment and retention of students. The candidate should desire to work in a collegial, vision-minded atmosphere with ample amounts of both challenges and laughter.
The successful candidate will have extensive experience in data assessment and manipulation, and will have proficiency with database management tools. A strong track record of success in developing financial aid strategy to support an institution’s admissions goals is necessary, including its goals to recruit a diverse student body. A track record of sound fiscal management and financial acumen is needed. As the leader of the department and member of the Vice President’s senior leadership team, exceptional communication and organizational skills are mandatory as is the ability to manage a large portfolio of work in progress. The successful candidate will also have an impeccable track record of integrity. Knowledge of best practices and latest trends in the profession are a plus including actively participating in the National and Regional Student Financial Aid Associations.
Essential functions of the position include:
- Collaborate with the Vice President and Dean of Admission & Financial Aid to develop and implement the institution’s financial aid strategy to provide stewardship of institutional funds and to maximize recruiting and retention;
- Proven ability as a strong supervisor who is skilled in building a sense of team, maintaining open lines of communication, offering relevant professional development opportunities to stay current in the field, and ensuring that staff are appropriately cross-trained in the various office functions in order to serve students effectively;
- Serve and actively participate on the Admission & Financial Aid leadership team to provide strategic direction;
- Develop and implement policies, programs, procedures, and audits to ensure compliance with federal and state laws, regulations, and college policies;
- A successful candidate should expect to explain Oberlin's financial aid policies to faculty members, students and their families, the Board of Trustees and interested alumni;
- Create an open and welcoming environment in financial aid that actively supports prospective and current students and their families;
- Monitor and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations and institutional policies, including the A-133 annual financial aid audit;
- Oversee reporting to internal and external constituencies including the federal government (FISAP, IPEDS, etc.), professional organizations (COFHE, College Board, Common Data Set, etc.), and the Oberlin Office of Institutional Research;
- Ensure effectiveness and efficiency of computer applications to secure receipt and transfer of financial aid information electronically;
- Develop and administer departmental standard operating procedures;
- Represent Oberlin at state, regional, and national conference and policy meetings;
- Participate in all aspects of the general financial aid process, including: counseling prospective and current Oberlin families; need analysis and packaging; and committee discussions;
- Act as a leading campus advocate for the value of financial aid;• Assist in the development and execution of a highly complex financial aid econometric system and leveraging aid approach.
- Strong understanding of a selective liberal arts institution;
- 8 years experience in financial aid administration with a proven track record of exemplary leadership through innovation and student customer service, preferably at an institution with a robust need-based program;
- Significant experience with Institutional Methodology (IM);
- Expertise with compliance and regulatory policies in financial aid;
- Strong interpersonal skills. Enthusiasm for and demonstrated commitment to supporting a student body that is broadly diverse with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion among other factors;
- Knowledge of online financial aid management; experience with Banner and Slate is preferred;
- Evidence of creativity and innovation in problem solving and strategy implementation;
- Demonstrated aptitude for counseling current and prospective students as well as students from diverse populations and their families through the financial aid process;
- Strong organizational and project management skills, and ability to multi-task in a fast-paced, high-volume environment;
- Exceptional oral and written communication skills and the ability to communicate complex issues with clarity;
- A bachelor’s degree is required and an advanced degree is preferred.
How to Apply
Interested candidates should send a cover letter describing their interest in and qualifications for the position and a resume electronically to Oberlin@wspelman.com. The subject line in the email should be DFAOBERLIN. Confidential inquiries may be made by contacting Bill Spelman by email to Bill@wspelman.com or by telephone at 585-787-9742 or Megan Spelman by email to Megan@wspelman.com or by telephone at 585-366-4329. For full consideration, all application material should be submitted by March 8, 2019.
Oberlin College is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer with a strong institutional commitment to the development of a climate that supports equality of opportunity and respect of differences based on gender, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. Oberlin was the first coeducational institution to grant bachelor’s degrees to women and historically has been a leader in the education of African-Americans; the College was also among the first to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. In that spirit, there is a particular interest in encouraging applications from individuals who would contribute to the diversity of Oberlin.