Reporting to the vice president for enrollment management, the director of financial aid is responsible for the overall management and administration of all student financial aid, as well as the operation of the Financial Aid Office. The director is responsible for the awarding and disbursement of the annual financial aid expenditures of approximately $20 million, which includes an institutional aid budget of $9 million. Supervising a staff of two professionals, the director will hire, train, and provide professional development opportunities and mentoring to all financial aid staff members. The director will be expected to work closely with institutional colleagues to meet enrollment and retention goals and to be an effective collaborator, working with partners across campus to develop and implement policies regarding the awarding of institutional aid in a manner that supports and promotes enrollment and student success goals Birmingham-Southern College (BSC). In collaboration with the vice president, and as a member of the enrollment management leadership team, which includes the vice president and director of admissions, the director is responsible for the development, oversight, and implementation of the financial aid leveraging strategies, financial aid policies, and awarding practices to ensure the efficient and strategic distribution of aid.
The director of financial aid will be expected to:
- administer a financial aid program that offers personal, efficient, and superior service to all studentsand their parents;
- oversee Federal Work Study expenses, as well as the awarding of endowed scholarships;
- serve as the Chief Compliance Officer for Title IV federal aid regulations;
- develop, implement, and manage financial aid strategies, policies, and procedures utilizingindustry best practices and exceptional customer service to serve the College’s recruitment and retention goals while ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and statutes;
- utilize net tuition revenuemodels to package financial aid; monitor and verify awards against budget recommendations forany needed corrective action;
- ensure fiscal accountability in fund management, disbursement, and recovery by coordinatingtechnology and information systems for effective administration of student financial aid funds;
- oversee the verification of specific federal and/or state criteria, authorization of payment process,reconciliation with accounting office(s), and R2T4 in compliance with federal and stateregulations and College policies, while utilizing industry’s best practices;
- oversee the administration of all student loan programs, including calculations of eligibility,origination of applications, entrance/exit interviews, and serve as liaison to outside agencies;
- complete or direct completion of all external financial aid reports and surveys and serve as liaison with college auditors.
History of the Position
The former director of financial aid was in her role with BSC for four years and left in September, 2021 to assume a role at another institution.
Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position
BSC is seeking a strong leader and manager who will lead, build, and motivate the team of two professional staff and Federal Work-Study students in the financial aid office. In addition, the director will be expected to understand how to retrieve, analyze, and utilize data in support of financial aid leveraging discussions with the vice president for enrollment management and director of admission as they work with the firm, Human Capital, to determine an annual financial aid awarding formula which will be used to meet the institution’s enrollment and retention goals. The stakeholders at BSC also indicated that the new director of financial aid will be expected to address the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges.
- prioritize the awarding goals of the office vis-à-vis the institution’s institutional aid budget
- have the ability to break down a large goal into manageable steps for the team
- be a creative thinker and one who is familiar with different management styles
- take the time to get to know the team members and their own work styles in order to motivate them personally and professionally
- collaborate with colleagues to establish clear lines of communication and customer service expectations for all constituents
- endeavor to understand how all of the offices work together for a common goal – that of enrolling qualified students who will thrive at BSC and become future alumni who will have “lives of significance” and prosperity, as they will in turn support BSC
- have a voracious appetite for change and an eagerness to work in tandem with the vice president for enrollment management to engage with the internal and external BSC communities to implement policies and procedures to achieve BSC’s strong commitment to changing the lives of its students
Qualifications and Personal Characteristics
A bachelor’s degree (master’s degree preferred) and significant documented progressive experience in all areas of student financial aid management and operations, as well as staff management within a financial aid office are required. In addition, expert knowledge of general financial aid systems, procedures, and federal and state financial aid regulations, as well as knowledge of basic management skills and counseling techniques, will be expected of the director. Sophisticated understanding and demonstrated experience with financial aid leveraging modeling, strong data/analytical skills, and expert utilization of data and current industry technology in support of the division’s goals and responsibilities will be expected of the director. Excellent interpersonal and management skills and exceptional written, verbal, and presentation skills with internal, as well as external audiences will also be required.
In addition to the above qualifications, stakeholders at BSC indicated that the following personal characteristics would be sought in the new director.
- patience, empathy
- strong managerial skills
- a relationship builder
- excellent communicator with all internal and external constituents, including students, colleagues, and vendors
- a lifelong learner who is always looking for new opportunities to learn
- open-minded and approachable
- a team player and team builder
- an understanding of the differing needs of new students and returning students
- a strong leader
- strong listener and observer
- has the ability to change course as necessary
- accepts responsibility and feels accountable for the staff and the office
- a visionary
- dedicated to helping students
- vested in the professional development of the financial aid staff
- proactive, not reactive
- has technological expertise and can adapt quickly and easily to BSC’s Colleague system
- a motivator and adaptable
- a good staff trainer
Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private, residential institution that has been consistently recognized as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country for its academic quality and value. BSC students enjoy a 12:1 student to faculty ratio, an innovative curriculum, and the commitment of faculty and staff to student success.
BSC traces its roots back to 1856, the year the Alabama Legislature chartered Southern University as a Methodist institution. On May 30, 1918, Southern University merged with Birmingham College to form Birmingham-Southern College.
BSC currently enrolls more than 1,100 undergraduate students and is a sheltering institution for Phi Beta Kappa and listed in Colleges that Change Lives. BSC compels its students to be participants, not spectators in their education, and offers countless opportunities to become leaders, team players, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and public servants. BSC’s unique January Exploration Term, or E-Term, gives students a month each year to research, intern, travel, serve, or study a new subject. This 50-year tradition allows students to engage in life-changing experiences on campus and around the globe.
College leaders contemplated moving the College out of Birmingham in the 1970s, but then-President Dr. Neal Berte held fast to the vision of the College on the city’s western border. The College provides a vital resource to the city through its alumni. More than 30 Birmingham non-profit agencies are led by BSC alumni; 11 alumni have led the Birmingham Bar Association; 10 have led the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham; 6 have been president of the Rotary Club of Birmingham; and every senior minister at Canterbury Methodist Church since its founding has been a BSC graduate.
Daniel Coleman, President
Daniel Coleman, a Birmingham resident with more than three decades of experience in finance and strong ties to BSC, took office as Birmingham-Southern College’s 16th president on Dec. 3, 2018.
Coleman entered the world of finance after earning a BA in English at Yale and an MBA at the University of Chicago. Coleman was CEO of the global financial services firm KCG Holdings until its 2017 sale.
Coleman played a leading role in the evolution of automated trading in global financial markets. Until its 2017 sale to Virtu Financial, New York-based KCG was a leader in the securities and financial services industry. Before KCG, Coleman was CEO of GETCO, a privately-held automated trading firm based in Chicago. Prior to that, he worked for 24 years for UBS and its predecessor firms, ending up as global head of equities for UBS. In addition to the boards of KCG and GETCO, Coleman’s past corporate board memberships include NASDAQ Inc., the Options Clearing Corporation, and the Boston Options Exchange.
Engineering the merger and integration of Knight Capital Group and GETCO Holdings to form KCG, Coleman helped create the leading trader of equities in the United States and one of the leading securities trading firms in the world. While integrating trading platforms, back offices, and corporate cultures, he and his managing team raised debt, shed assets, cuts costs, and returned more than $500 million to shareholders. With the sale of the company four years after its creation, shareholders who bought the stock at the company’s inception enjoyed a nearly 100% cumulative return.
In 2009, Coleman and his wife, Brooke, returned to their hometown with their three children. Coleman has served on the boards of the Alabama Symphony Endowment and of Build Up, an innovative early-college workforce development program centered in the Ensley neighborhood.
Coleman embodies the BSC ideal of lifelong learning and innovation – in addition to teaching finance courses at the College, he’s taken classes in Python and calculus alongside his students and spearheaded the implementation of BSC’s data science program, the first of its kind in the state.
Trent Gilbert, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Gilbert joined Birmingham-South College on June 1, 2019, after spending 18 years working in the higher education enrollment field, including at Elon University in North Carolina, Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, and Monmouth College in Illinois. He served as chief experience officer at TargetX, a higher education consulting firm specializing in technology and the campus visit experience. He provided consulting services to more than 200 clients. Gilbert was cofounder of Render Experiences (recently acquired by RNL), a higher education consulting firm that offers campus visit consulting services to higher education clients across the country.
“Trent has run admissions and enrollment at a small liberal arts college, and as a consultant, has advised numerous schools in enrollment management,” said BSC President Daniel B. Coleman. “Complementing those experiences, his energy and focus will help our college build on the recent momentum we’ve experienced with this year’s applicant pool. We’re delighted to have Trent, and his family join the Birmingham-Southern community.”
A native of Florida and a 2002 graduate of Elon University, Gilbert earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in business administration and public administration and his master’s in higher education administration from Georgia Southern University. He began his career in admissions at Elon University.
Review of applications will begin October 15, 2021 and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Kendra Dane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.
Visit the Birmingham-Southern College website at www.bsc.edu
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