There are many different types of jobs for financial aid professionals. Most financial aid professionals work in the education system, providing assistance, counseling, and management of financial aid for schools and students. Government jobs are also available for financial aid professionals, allowing workers to help manage the design and distribution of government financial aid. Financial aid professionals may also work for private lenders as loan officers, managing private loans for students and their families.
Working in education administration can be very rewarding for financial aid professionals. High schools often employ a financial aid counselor to put together information on scholarships, grants, and loans available for graduating students. High school financial aid counselors can help students get a jump on financial preparation for college by encouraging them to enter scholarship contests, keeping up to date lists of school-specific financial aid programs, and issuing regular announcements about deadlines and due dates for applications.
At the college and post-graduate level, financial aid professionals may work in many different types of jobs. Financial aid assistants generally help manage the financial aid and scholarship office, performing general office work, scheduling meetings, and answering basic questions for students and parents. Financial aid counselors are more experienced professionals that work directly with students, helping them find solutions to their financial aid needs. Financial aid coordinators may work as a liaison between the school and private foundations, seeking new scholarships and manage existing funds and endowments that provide financial aid.
Governments that offer student financial aid packages need qualified financial aid professionals to manage these often enormous programs. Workers may need to process thousands of applications for aid during peak submission periods, and provide assistance to borrowers regarding loan payments and aid distribution. Farther up the political ladder, financial aid experts may be called in to analyze current aid programs and provide input into new laws and regulations meant to improve the performance of student aid.
Some private lenders specialize in loans for students. While these are quite similar to regular personal loans, some financial institutions employ financial aid professionals that are familiar with the complicated procedures involved in student financial aid. Loan officers who handle student aid may be better able to understand the unique financial challenges faced by students, and may be in a good position to set up distribution and repayment terms that make the most sense for a student lifestyle. Since some lenders also offer scholarship or grant programs, financial aid professionals may also be able to find jobs coordinating and managing these funds for banks and other lenders.