Financial Aid Counselor (School/College/University) Salary
College Financial Aid Counselors in the United States are not likely to strike it rich; they only make around $39K per year on average. Earnings sit near $28K on the lower side but can approach $50K per year on the higher side. A large number claim medical and dental insurance and the greater part get vision coverage. There are far more female College Financial Aid Counselors who answered the questionnaire than men, making up 81 percent. Though the majority of College Financial Aid Counselors do not report high levels of job satisfaction, most are moderately content with their role. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
Job Description for Financial Aid Counselor (School/College/University)
Financial aid counselors are responsible for helping students at post-secondary institutions to obtain private and/or government financial aid, grants, and scholarships, as well as provide information regarding available student loans from both private and government institutions.Read More...
A bachelor's degree in a relevant field is generally required for this position, and courses in accounting, business, communications, and psychology are beneficial. Financial aid counselors must provide pertinent information regarding financial/educational matters to students and/or their parents. They often meet students/parents in-person or via phone, e-mail, or the "contact" section of their organization's website. Upon request, these counselors may help develop students' budgets and explain loan repayment procedures, as well. Excellent written and oral communications skills are essential, and strong computer skills including proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) and the particular organizations' computer systems are also required.
Those in this position must be able to maintain computer databases for students' records. They must be friendly and able to work efficiently and objectively with diverse students and coworkers; the ability to speak a second language is useful, but not necessary. They are encouraged to take training and/or workshops conducted by Department of Education and various financial aid associations to further the development of their own careers; the National Association of Student Final Aid Administration (NAFSA) also offers such workshops, training and conferences. Financial aid counselors generally receive on-the-job training, and senior counselors may be required to coach and train new workers.
Financial Aid Counselor (School/College/University) Tasks
- Counsel students and parents about self-help financial aid programs, eligibility requirements, and application processes.
- Plan and perform financial aid workshops to staff and students.
- Assist in the review of students' financial aid applications.
- Coordinate and administer financial aid appeals.
- Package, award, and disburse funds to students.
Common Career Paths for Financial Aid Counselor (School/College/University)
College Financial Aid Counselors who move on to become Financial Aid Directors may enjoy significant pay raises, as Financial Aid Directors get paid an average of $55K per year. As College Financial Aid Counselors progress in their field, many go on to become Assistant Directors of Financial Aid. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and pay for the position is usually $45K per year. Another common career choice for College Financial Aid Counselors is to move into a Financial Aid Counselor role. Typically, Financial Aid Counselors get paid $34K.
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Popular Skills for Financial Aid Counselor (School/College/University)
Just a handful of professional skills are reported by College Financial Aid Counselors who took the survey. Those who have experience with Microsoft Excel, Customer Service, and Microsoft Office can expect to be compensated well for these skills. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Microsoft Office and Customer Service. Customer Service and Microsoft Office are correlating skills — those who know the former usually know the latter.
Pay by Experience Level for Financial Aid Counselor (School/College/University)
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $35K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $41K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $40K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't higher than less experienced individuals' earnings.
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