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Senior Associate Dean and Director of Student Financial Aid

Carleton College
Northfield, Minnesota

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Executive Administration Jobs
Deans, Other Executive Administration
Administrative Jobs
Institutional & Business Affairs, Financial Aid
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
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The mission of Carleton College is to provide an exceptional undergraduate liberal arts education. In pursuit of this mission, the college is devoted to academic excellence, distinguished by the creative interplay of teaching, learning, and scholarship, and dedicated to our diverse residential community and extensive international engagements.

Carleton College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college of just over 2,000 students, with a truly unmatched mixture of qualities: a recognition nationally as a leader in undergraduate teaching that also features a dynamic research enterprise, an eclectic and diverse student body with a genuine Midwest collaborative spirit, and a location in the historic river town of Northfield, Minnesota conveniently close to all the opportunities of progressive Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

The Opportunity

Carleton College seeks nominations and invites applications for an innovative, highly collaborative, and technologically savvy Senior Associate Dean and Director of Student Financial Aid. This position will oversee the day-to-day management of the Office of Student Financial Aid, which includes financial aid and student employment. Reporting to the Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, the Director oversees a robust and comprehensive financial aid program which meets the calculated family need of all Carleton students. The Director also provides leadership to student employment and in the development of yield and financial aid models to support Carleton’s enrollment priorities.  The Director works closely with the Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, as well as the leadership team in the Admissions and Student Financial Aid Offices, to support the recruitment, enrollment, and retention of highly engaged, creative, and talented students, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. The Director also collaborates with the Dean to enhance the policies and practices in financial aid to ensure exceptional service to current and prospective Carleton students and families. Furthermore, the Director supports and advocate for the college’s values regarding access, affordability, inclusion, diversity, and equity.

The Range of Responsibilities

  • Oversee and provide leadership for the Office of Student Financial Aid, which includes the college’s extensive financial aid and student employment programs.
  • Serve as a senior leader in and primary liaison between the Offices of Admissions and Student Financial Aid, and as a member of the senior team, supporting the development, communication, and implementation of division procedures and policies.
  • Provide strategic direction and oversight of all department activities in order to develop and achieve annual goals, including budgeting, planning, and staff development.
  • Create an open, welcoming, and inclusive environment in the Student Financial Aid Office that actively supports prospective and current students and their families.
  • Manage an operating budget as well as a financial aid program awarding $69 million, which includes the allocation of $54 million in Carleton grant aid, and the administration of multiple student loan programs.
  • Develop annual financial aid budget projections based on past financial trends and anticipate new changes in presenting to the college’s Budget Committee.
  • Lead, mentor, and provide opportunities for professional growth for a team of three professional staff and three administrative staff.
  • Monitor and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations and institutional policies, including the annual financial aid audit.
  • Oversee reporting to internal and external constituencies including federal/state governments, the Department of Education, the Minnesota State Higher Education Governing Boards, and banking and other loan sources.
  • Enhance effectiveness and efficiency of computer applications to secure receipt and transfer of financial aid information digitally.
  • Direct implementation of integrated technology to streamline work and anticipate future technology needs in order to be responsive to the needs of prospective and current students (PowerFAIDS, Colleague, Workday, Slate).
  • Represent the College to external agencies and groups, including attending state, regional, and national conferences and policy meetings, such as the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), and financial aid directors’ meetings of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE), the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), and the Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC).
  • Participate in all aspects of the general financial aid process; including counseling prospective and current Carleton families, managing a caseload of prospective and current students, need analysis and packaging, and committee discussions.
  • Establish office policies and procedures that reflect fair and objective distribution of aid, and reviews and makes decisions on financial aid appeals of awards.
  • Keep abreast of current trends, research in the financial aid field, as well as with federal and state financial aid rules and regulations, and determine the appropriate implementation to remain within the college’s mission.
  • Partner and collaborate extensively with Carleton staff, administrative and departmental offices, shared governance committees, including the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, Business Office, Budget Committee, Dean of Students, Registrar, College Communications, Institutional Research and Assessment, Development Office, Alumni Affairs, etc.

This Senior Associate Dean and Director of Student Financial Aid will also be expected to perform other assignments as deemed necessary by the Dean.

Highlighted Job Responsibilities:

The Senior Associate Dean and Director of Student Financial Aid reports to the Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. The Director of Student Financial Aid has direct oversight of all financial aid operations of the college, which includes supervision of staff, responsibility for the disbursement of $69 million, and direction of the policies and practices of financial aid. The Director works with multiple offices on campus, especially the Admissions, Budget, Business, Controller’s, and Development Offices. Given the extensive nature of student financial aid, the director has contact with virtually every constituency of the college, in addition to serving as the primary financial aid officer engaging the public, and students and their families. Close cooperation with staff in the Admissions Office and its officers is of keen importance. A major initiative overseen by this leader beginning in early 2022 will be the addition and implementation of PowerFAIDS for effective awarding and disbursement of financial aid to prospective and current Carleton students.


The successful candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree; an advanced degree is strongly preferred. The candidate will have a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience in financial aid management, preferably at an institution with a robust need-based financial aid program.  Candidates should be deft with technology and skilled in implementation of key systems and software. In addition, the successful candidate will have:

  • Deep understanding of the nature and aims of a national and international highly selective residential liberal arts institution.
  • Strong supervisory and team building skills, with a record of success hiring, mentoring, and overseeing professional and administrative staff.
  • Enthusiasm for and demonstrated commitment to supporting a student body that is broadly diverse with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and religion, among other factors.
  • Experience in the awarding of financial aid within a need-based analysis using Institutional Methodology (IM) is essential.
  • Deep working knowledge of PowerFAIDS, Colleague, and Workday, or other customer relationship management (CRM) systems supporting admissions and financial aid processes.
  • Ability to analyze, interpret, and understand data and key metrics.
  • Strong interpersonal skills; exceptional oral and written communication, and the ability to communicate complex issues with clarity.
  • Confidence in relying on professional judgement, where appropriate, to make decisions that assist students and families.
  • A background in managing competing priorities.
  • Expertise with compliance and regulatory policies.
  • Evidence of creativity and innovation in problem solving and strategy implementation.
  • Demonstrated aptitude and enjoyment in leading financial aid presentations and counseling students and families.
  • Strong organizational and project management skills, and ability to multi-task in a fast-paced, high-volume environment.
  • A willingness to work extended and weekend hours during peak periods.
  • Leadership skills that include being highly collaborative, dynamic, empathetic, patient, and fun.
  • A commitment to building a supportive and inclusive environment for every student, faculty, and staff member, and to being a member of an antiracist community.

Carleton College History

Founded in 1866, Carleton College was the dream of Minnesota pioneers who understood that human knowledge is the real frontier. Carleton’s founder was Northfield businessman and Congregationalist Charles M. Goodsell, for whom the college’s observatory is named. It was he who encouraged the church to open a Minnesota college and he who donated part of its original 20 acres. The name Carleton College was later adopted in recognition for the leadership and benevolence of Massachusetts brass manufacturer William Carleton. Throughout its history, Carleton has become known for its academic rigor, intellectual curiosity, and sense of humor, perhaps best encapsulated when Carleton and St. Olaf squared off in the first — and possibly last — NCAA sanctioned metric football game in 1977, in which all measurements were metric.

Carleton College Today

Today, Carleton offers 33 majors and 37 minors in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, and social sciences. Carleton’s leadership position stands firm with the recent appointment of Alison R. Byerly as Carleton’s 12th president, an experienced and energetic leader, nationally recognized scholar, and passionate advocate for interdisciplinary education and the liberal arts. The recent completion of The Campaign for Carleton, the most ambitious capital campaign in the college’s history, was an across-the-board success. The campaign is highly indicative of the bright future of the college with over $491 million raised with 62% of alumni making gifts.  Fiercely committed to recruiting and educating a diverse student body that spans both the economic spectrum and the globe, the college raised $154.3 million for Financial Aid during the campaign that will support this goal in perpetuity.  The college also recently launched a $50 million financial aid initiative in partnership with the Schuler Family Foundation to dramatically increase access for low-income Pell eligible and DACA students.

Campus decision-making remains highly collaborative and includes representation from all stakeholder constituent groups as evidenced by the initiation of a 10-year strategic planning project focused on inclusion, diversity, and equity, that will engage all corners of the college. The hard working, intellectual, and unfailingly friendly students at Carleton (called “Carls” by the community) are the lifeblood of the college, and staff and faculty at Carleton are proudly committed to their education. Carleton develops qualities of mind and character that prepare its graduates to become citizens and leaders, capable of finding inventive solutions to local, national, and global challenges.

For more information about Carleton College, please visit


Carleton is in Northfield, just 40 miles south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Often cited for its charm and livability, Northfield consistently ranks among the best college towns in the US. The Twin Cities are home to some of the best music, theater, food, museums, and outdoor recreation in the country. A short walk from campus, Northfield’s main street — Division Street — is lined with locally owned businesses, friendly coffee shops, and a variety of restaurants. Whether you’re looking for an authentic burrito, a newly released novel, or a funny postcard to send to your friends, you’ll find it in Northfield. You’ll also find several grocery stores, a clinic and hospital, and plenty of other amenities a short walk, bike trip, or bus ride away.

How To Apply

Napier Executive Search is assisting Carleton College with this search. For more information or to nominate someone for the position, contact Laura Robinson ([email protected]), Thom Golden ([email protected]), or Mary Napier ([email protected]) for a confidential conversation. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For full consideration, application materials should be submitted electronically to [email protected] by January 28, 2022

Applications should consist of three documents in PDF format: (1) an in-depth cover letter that addresses the candidate’s qualifications and accomplishments in the areas identified in the position announcement, (2) a detailed résumé, and (3) a list of three professional references with titles, contact information and a sentence describing the nature of each professional relationship. References will not be contacted without the candidate’s knowledge and permission. 

Carleton College is an AA/EEO employer. We are committed to developing our staff to better reflect the diversity of our student body and American society. Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

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