Director of Financial Aid

Washington, Pennsylvania
Jul 24, 2020
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Washington & Jefferson College

Director of Financial Aid

Washington & Jefferson College invites applications for the position of Director of Financial Aid.  Reporting to the Vice President for Enrollment, Nicole Focareto, W&J is seeking a dynamic financial aid expert who will serve as a key leader within the enrollment division, and is ready to champion and proactively bring innovation and change that will promote and fulfill institutional goals in enrollment, and net tuition revenue.  The director will serve as a strategic partner and collaborative leader in the ongoing advancement of the college’s financial aid programs, policies and strategies, as well as in overall strategic enrollment planning.  Applicants for the director’s position should possess a passion for the profession of financial aid; a creative, collaborative, and entrepreneurial spirit; and an activism for recruiting, serving, and retaining students.

The director will mentor and professionally develop staff who are eager to take the department to the next level of sophistication, automation, and customer service. The director will guide, mentor, and effectively train staff to cover all facets of financial aid processing.  The director will create, update and bring to life procedures and written policies that exceed the scope of regulatory compliance, assure staff knowledge and professional training, foster the continuity and consistency of office duties, and ensure effective financial aid packaging, including the timely notification and delivery of financial aid funds. 

On a broader spectrum, the director will proactively manage a $37 million institutional gift budget and share the narrative regarding financial aid policies, procedures, and regulatory compliance as they pertain to all campus constituents, including prospective and continuing students and their families; the enrollment division; key administrative offices involved in the eligibility determination, dissemination and disbursement of financial aid; faculty, and coaches.  The director will foster appropriate collaborative partnerships with campus constituents and participate in educating internal partners about financial aid policies, procedures, timelines, and regulatory compliance.  Serving on committees for recruitment and retention will be ongoing, with the expectation of bringing forth ideas and insights that will promote or produce positive results. Working directly with the office of advancement, the director will bring a practice of good stewardship to the packaging of endowed scholarships which will ensure the timely use of endowed scholarships within the limits established by donors and the college.

The Director of Financial Aid serves as the chief financial aid compliance officer in a program that has a student-centered philosophy emphasizing distribution of aid to the largest number of students possible.

The director will display ethical leadership and uncommon integrity for the common good of the institution and the students it serves.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Oversees College financial aid programs which includes interpretation, implementation, and compliance with regulations, procedures, and eligibility.
  • Serves as the primary college authority on federal and state financial aid requirements.
  • Responsible for supervising staff and all daily operations of the financial aid department.
  • Controls and manages fund allocations.
  • Develops and implements a plan for awarding and distributing funds to eligible students.
  • Provides scholarship oversight including developing unrestricted funding, agency and organization awards.
  • Reviews student appeals and make decisions in concert with other key campus partners.
  • Ensures complete compliance with all federal and state regulations, and institutional policies, as well as the completion of all federal and state reporting requirements.
  • Responsible for data collection and analysis that supports all facets of Financial Aid activities.
  • Ensures the efficacy of all processes and electronic functions within the financial aid procedures to provide best practices, customer care, and timely notifications of student eligibility.
  • Attends conferences, seminars and workshops to keep abreast of legal and other trends in higher education.


W&J is seeking an exceptional professional who brings the following qualifications. 

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree; an advanced degree is preferred.
  • Minimum of five years of experience in Financial Aid, 8-10 years preferred.
  • Extensive knowledge of financial aid policies and procedures.
  • Knowledge of federal and state laws and regulations related to financial aid.
  • An ability to think strategically about financial aid awarding processes and to balance institutional need with the needs of individual students.
  • Experience with management and information systems related to financial aid.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills are required.
  • Exceptional computer skills; experience with Colleague and Slate preferred.  Proficiency with Microsoft Suite is desired.
  • Desire to work in a student-centered and team-oriented environment.

Washington & Jefferson College:  W&J is proud to be one of the oldest colleges in the Unites States, giving students personalized attention and a great education for more than 200 years. Located just south of Pittsburgh, W&J was founded in 1781, right after the American Revolution, and is deeply rooted in the region’s history. Once two separate colleges, Washington College joined with nearby Jefferson College in 1865, and since then it has expanded, persevered, and continued its legacy of producing students well-versed in their fields and highly prepared to take on the challenges of modern economies and workplaces. W&J’s history is as strong as its dedication to academics and diversity, and is a testament to the motto: Juncta Juvant: Together We Thrive.

Every W&J graduate will not only be exceptionally well prepared for professional success, but also recognized as a leader committed to the highest standards of ethics capable of addressing complex challenges facing today’s organizations and society.

- President John C. Knapp, Ph.D.

President John C. Knapp has been serving Washington & Jefferson since 2017.  Today, W&J enrolls 1,350 undergraduate students from 25 states and more than a dozen countries.  As one of the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts colleges, Washington & Jefferson College offers a rigorous and rewarding semester-based curriculum. W&J students select from 32 majors and several minors and concentrations in a variety of rewarding fields, including internationally-recognized pre-law and pre-health programs.  Highly residential as an institution, 98 percent of W&J students live on campus in the 30 residence halls, with nine Greek Letter organizations, and three dining venues.  W&J also offers a graduate program in Professional Writing, as well as a number of specialized non-degree programs.  W&J’s student athletes, known as Presidents, participate in NCAA Division III athletic competition.

The qualities that set W&J graduates apart in today’s competitive market was at the center of a recent strategic planning process.  W&J’s highly personalized approach to education ensures that each student benefits from a unique experience designed to meet individual needs.  Yet all share a four-year journey designed to develop maturity, sound values, and leadership potential.  Because of the longstanding commitment to the holistic development of students, Washington & Jefferson College is known around the world for producing respected leaders in every field of endeavor.  W&J graduates are sought by leading employers and graduate schools for their professional readiness, leadership ability, and uncommon integrity. 

At W&J, students have access to pre-professional and special programs, emphases, concentrations, and other academic opportunities. Small class sizes assure that students receive personal attention, and the collaborative curriculum contains the following programs unique to W&J:

  • The Magellan Project offers college-based funding to engage in student proposed and researched opportunities such as internships, research, or study abroad during the summer months. This program aims to assist W&J students in exploring their passions and interests in a very hands-on, interactive manner. Students who participate in the Magellan Project create their own proposal, including a detailed plan and budget, which promotes independent and creative thinking. The students also have the support of the dedicated group of faculty advisors, who guide interested students through the process.
  • Jay Term is a distinctive feature of the W&J academic calendar held in the month of January, between the Fall and Spring term. Students are immersed in short-term courses with sharply focused topics; many courses feature domestic and international travel.
  • The Washington Fellows Program is based on five pillars: leadership, integrity, growth, humanity, and thought; LIGHT. The Washington Fellows Program is comprised of a series of shared and individual experiences that represent these values and instill them in students. Over the course of four years, students participate in a multitude of experiences that represent each of the LIGHT categories. Annually, growth will be reflected in a portfolio each student creates to summarize their learning experiences. During this process, students are supported by a community of dedicated and intellectually curious peers, and with resources which encourage exploration of learning and development. 
  • The W&J On-Time Graduation Guarantee W&J is committed to student success. Toward that end, W&J offers personalized, one-on-one advising sessions within challenging, small classes to help students discover their talents and excel. W&J recognizes that on-time graduation is essential in making education affordable and providing important career momentum. The W&J On-Time Graduation Guarantee promises that all students who meet the College’s academic expectations will be able to graduate in four years. W&J is confident enough to make this guarantee and has been recognized nationally by The Princeton Review and Forbes Magazine, for the success of its students and graduates.  W&J guarantees that all students who meet the academic expectations will graduate in four years. In the event that a student who has met these requirements is not able to graduate in four years, the College will provide up to one year of tuition at W&J free of charge.

Washington & Jefferson College is committed to making its world-class liberal arts education affordable. W&J distributes over $37 million in institutional gift aid, in the form of merit and endowed scholarships and need-based grants. 99 percent of all W&J students receive some form of financial assistance, with an average financial aid package of over $40,000.

In addition to serving its students, W&J is proud to be a resource for the greater Pittsburgh region. Through the Business Ambassador program and Small Business Incubator – a joint initiative with the City of Washington and the Observer Publishing Company – the campus and its students are connected to local businesses and entrepreneurs. Olin Fine Arts Center’s shows, concerts, and exhibits are open to the public throughout the year, and the Center for Energy Policy and Management provides valuable research and networking for local government agencies.

For more about Washington & Jefferson College, go to

Location:  Washington is the county seat of Washington County, Pennsylvania, within the Greater Pittsburgh Region in the southwestern part of the state. With a population of 14,000, Washington provides both a home town feel with quick access (just 30 miles away) to Pittsburgh, voted #2 of America’s most livable cities in 2018 by The Economist Intelligence Unit's livability survey. Pittsburgh is also the only U.S. city in the London issue of National Geographic Traveller’s cool cities to visit in 2019. Also in 2019, Pittsburgh was deemed “Food City of the Year” by af&co. LendingTree ranks Pittsburgh among the top three best cities in the U.S. for first-time homebuyers.

With 90 unique neighborhoods that make up the city of Pittsburgh, there is something new around every corner. Between diverse and exciting arts programming, a wide variety of food choices, and the rich sports history of the City of Champions, Pittsburgh has something to offer for everyone, both in and around the city. 

To Apply: Napier Executive Search is assisting Washington & Jefferson College identify their next Director of Financial Aid. For more information, or to nominate someone for this role, contact Robin Reynders ([email protected]) or Mary Napier ([email protected]). Interested candidates should submit a résumé, along with a letter of interest describing their unique qualifications and background for the position. Candidates should also provide the names and contact information of at least three professional references. For confidentiality, references will not be contacted without permission. For best consideration during these unprecedented times, all application materials should be submitted electronically to [email protected]   Credentials will be reviewed until the desired candidate is secured.  An offer to the top candidate will be contingent upon completed background checks.


Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) is committed to increasing diversity in our community and

actively pursues individuals from all backgrounds. Additionally, W&J College complies with all

applicable federal, state and local laws and provides equal opportunity in all educational programs

and activities, admission of students and conditions of employment for all qualified individuals

regardless of race, color, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, protected veteran status,

gender identity, or national origin.