A financial aid consultant works with various colleges and universities to streamline the rollouw of computerized financial aid management systems and teach users the basic operations. The consultant will travel to each school to provide training to managers and financial aid office employees. Schools with previously installed financial aid management systems may require a consultant to perform periodic reviews and software upgrades.
Colleges and universities throughout the United States use complicated and diverse financial aid computer systems to organize, store and allocate grants, loans, and scholarships to students. After the school has purchased a specific management system, the financial aid consultant will typically visit the main office to configure the software's parameters to meet the financial aid program's needs. The consultant can add or delete software modules as requested by the school for the most customized system.
Training and communication with the college employees who will be using the new system is imperative; the financial aid consultant must thoroughly explain and demonstrate how the software works. The school may request to have only management as part of the training meeting, or all financial aid employees may take part in the demonstration. Any questions or concerns should be discussed with the financial aid consultant before working with the new software system to prevent any financial transaction mistakes.
Technology improves very rapidly and the financial aid consultant must remain informed and trained to help his or her clientele. New software versions and additional aid modules may be created to enhance a current financial aid management system; the consultant must be periodically trained by the software company to be able to explain new features to clients. He or she may contact various clients to set up review meetings for learning and installing the new software packages.
Schools may need to audit their financial aid accounts to ensure that monies are being allocated correctly. The financial aid consultant should be present for the audit to observe that the system is properly accessed. Any malfunctions or errors should be examined by the consultant to prevent future software-related issues.
Being a financial aid consultant requires the willingness to travel and excellent communication skills. Most consultant positions also require the applicant to have a four year college degree, as well as some experience in the financial aid sector. Many companies will train newly hired consultants so that they are well-versed in different name brand software packages.