Colgate University, one of America’s top liberal arts colleges, invites inquiries, applications, and nominations for the position of Director of Financial Aid. The Director serves as Colgate’s chief Financial Aid Officer and oversees the daily operations of the Financial Aid department, ensuring that policies and practices are updated regularly to remain compliant with the most current state and federal regulations.
About the University
Colgate University is a highly selective residential liberal arts institution that offers 54 majors to a diverse student body of approximately 2,900 undergraduate students. Classes are small, averaging 17 students, with a student faculty ratio of 9:1. The university’s 575-acre campus in rural central New York is renowned for its beauty and for the important role it plays in the student experience.
The undergraduate student body is culturally and internationally diverse; 31 percent of Colgate students identify as individuals of color and 9 percent come to the university from outside the United States. There is also a very small graduate student cohort. The university’s graduation rate is 90 percent, which is one of the highest in the nation, and nearly 97 percent of all graduates were employed, admitted to a graduate program, or accepted into a national/international fellowship/scholarship. Colgate graduates have received prestigious scholarships and fellowships, including Fulbright grants, Goldwater Scholarships, Udall Scholarships, and Watson Fellowships.
The university’s academic program is grounded in its liberal arts core curriculum, which has been in place since 1928 and, while it has evolved significantly, is required for every undergraduate. The four core classes are Legacies of the Ancient World, Challenges of Modernity, Communities and Identities, and Scientific Perspectives.
Colgate has a rich tradition of international study and has one of the largest faculty-led off-campus study programs in the nation. Twenty-one off-campus, semester-long study groups, averaging 14 students, travel to locations across the globe, including Australia, Asia, Europe, South America, and within the United States. Roughly two-thirds of Colgate students study off campus during their undergraduate years.
Colgate students are highly involved, with access to more than 180 student organizations, including 8 religious organizations, 40 community service groups, and 5 fraternities and 3 sororities. Approximately 20 percent of students participate in 25 NCAA Division I varsity athletics teams, and 80 percent of students are involved in some form of varsity, club, or intramural athletics.
Reporting to the Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, the new director will enjoy an exciting and challenging opportunity to reenergize a best-in-class financial aid program to include these features:
*Outstanding service and support for current and prospective students as well as students from diverse populations and their families;
*Provide a robust array of system improvements for staff based on principles of quality improvement;
*Prompt, comprehensive and reliable reports regarding financial aid eligibility assessment, awards and follow up.
Essential duties and responsibilities in support of the above features include:
*Monitor effectiveness of policies in achieving the programmatic goals of financial aid and student employment;
*Provide expertise and input on financial aid trends and initiatives to senior management, Colgate staff, and other constituent communities;
*Prepare statistical financial aid data for internal analysis, annual reporting, and reporting to outside organizations and regulatory bodies;
*Ensure the accuracy and integrity of student aid records and internal and external reports;
*Provide leadership in conceiving, conceptualizing, and implementation of financial aid technology systems;
*Work with Admissions and other departments to manage aid budgets and award aid funds accurately and in a timely manner;
*Manage the department in a way that gains and maintains professional and effective interpersonal relationships with all stakeholders;
*Create a service-oriented environment committed to supporting students’ educational goals by providing high quality financial aid counseling and support.
The Director of Financial Aid supervises a staff of four and oversees a total financial aid budget of $53.2 million.
The successful candidate will demonstrate excellent communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills, and be both detail and people oriented in working with confidential financial data and with the families providing that information. Familiarity with systems and process improvement and assessment programs is a must, as is a clear track record of utilizing data to inform decisions. Equally important is the candidate’s 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. The ideal candidate will also have extensive experience in system conversion and implementation and possess the ability to work collaboratively with university IT departments. In addition, candidates must be able to effectively and efficiently manage multiple and competing deadlines and work both independently and collaboratively.
Successful candidates must have thorough knowledge of existing and changing financial aid regulations at all levels, including a track record of success in complying fully with all such regulations. 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.
A bachelor’s degree with 7-10 years of administrative financial aid experience is required. The preferred candidate will possess an advanced degree with experience functioning in administrative roles at the Director or Associate Director level.
How to Apply
Interested individuals should send a letter of application that relates the applicant’s skills and experiences to the stated qualifications for the position along with a resume that reflects notable achievements. Applications and nominations should be submitted electronically to DFACU@wspelman.com. The subject line in the email should be DFACU. Confidential inquiries should be made to Megan Spelman, Vice President, William Spelman Executive Search, at (585) 366-4329.
Confidentiality will be maintained, and references will not be contacted without prior knowledge or approval of the candidate. Materials arriving after this date will be reviewed and considered until the position is filled
Colgate is committed to responding to the diverse educational needs of our students, and strives to be a community supportive of diverse perspectives, identities, ways of life, and philosophies. Colgate is an EEO/AA employer; women and candidates from historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.