People often ask me, “what’s it like to be a financial aid consultant”? This is not an easy question to answer because the position is constantly changing. It’s a job that is prone to be unpredictable; I may not know where I will be from one week to the next. One day, I can be assisting in a busy university financial aid office and the next I may be working from home on a report that is accessible on the school’s network via a VPN login. There are very few dull moments. Financial aid consultants have to be flexible and adapt to shifting client needs.
The Higher Education Assistance Group (HEAG) has financial aid consultants located throughout the United States. I am based in HEAG’s home office and with more than 75 colleges in the Boston area, many of my assignments are local. Sometimes I will travel. I have had the opportunity to work in seven different states as a consultant. HEAG matches financial aid consultants with assignments based on our skill-set, software experience and the school’s needs. This allows me to hit the ground running when I start a new assignment. Besides getting familiar with the school’s financial aid packaging protocol, there is very little training involved up front. That’s one of the things I like about my job; I am able to have an immediate impact.
HEAG’s assignments can range from serving as an interim Financial Aid Director or assisting during periods of peak demand, to responding to an unsatisfactory audit or an ED Program Review. HEAG offers Compliance Reviews, Business Process Reviews along with staffing and audit determination help. There isn’t anything related to a school’s Title IV awarding that we haven’t tackled previously for another client.
But wait, there’s more! HEAG can handle typical day-to-day work and have brought in teams of consultants to perform verification on thousands of files or just one consultant to review a handful, depending on the size of the school. I am currently working on the front lines in a financial aid office, answering phones and emails from both prospective and current students. Next week, I could be awarding those same students and going over the award with them in-person, ensuring a high level of customer service throughout the entire process. One thing all financial aid professionals have in common is a love for education and helping students obtain their degree. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t learn something new related to how a specific school handles their aid process. It is a part of the reason I enjoy my job so much and why I have been consulting for five years with HEAG.
Contact us to learn how HEAG’s financial aid consultants can help with your staffing or processing needs.
Senior Financial Aid Consultant
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