A financial aid officer is an educational administrator who assists students in obtaining the financial aid that they need to pay for school expenses. The duties of a financial aid officer can vary, but typically include counseling students and their parents about their financial aid resources, processing applications for student aid, and working with student loan lenders and other aid providers. In addition, a financial aid officer may also be responsible for maintaining compliance with financial aid rules and regulations. The size of a particular financial aid office may have a significant impact on the responsibilities of its employees.
Many students rely on outside financial aid to help them afford higher education. These aid programs may be sponsored by the government or private organizations. When students or their families are unable to afford the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses necessary for attending a school, they may turn to a financial aid officer for assistance in coming up with the money that they need to pursue their educational goals. In this role, the financial aid worker may serve as counselor to the student and his family and assist him in putting together a package of loans, grants, and scholarships to enable the student to pay for his education.
In many countries, financial assistance for attending school is often provided through government agencies. There are often many rules and regulations regarding eligibility and use of these funds. In these countries, a financial aid officer is often responsible for not only understanding and explaining these programs to students, but may also be at least partially responsible for determining whether a student is eligible for these funds. If private sources of funding are available, a financial aid officer may have a difficult task of determining which students are most deserving of these funds. In some cases, the officer may also be called upon to assist students who are in an emergency situation and need funds above and beyond the financial aid package that they currently receive.
The education and training of financial aid officers will vary according to the hiring standards of the schools for which they work as well as any requirements set by government financial aid agencies. In many cases, a financial aid officer will at least hold a bachelor's degree and may also have a master's degree in educational administration, business, or finance. He may also be required by his employer or government financial aid regulations to complete classes in the administration of government financial aid resources.