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Financial Aid Director: Educator, Leader, or Manager

Jessica Mohon Flogaites, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The landscape of higher education is ever-evolving, and the financial aid office, in particular, has experienced drastic changes throughout the years in order to become the massive and complex system that is known today. Considering that financial aid can directly influence major institutional benchmarks such as enrollment and graduation rates, and the fact the position of financial aid director is not standardized across institutions of higher education, a further look into the primary role of a financial aid director is important and necessary. This study will allow for a better understanding of what behavioral characteristics are most closely associated with directors of financial aid who are members of the Coalition of State University Aid Administrators (COSUAA). More specifically, the primary purpose of this study is to better understand whether the COSUAA financial aid directors identify primarily as educators, leaders, or managers. The framework presented by Gregory Elkins during his research on student affairs officers served as the conceptual framework behind this study. Elkins (2006) pulled from the theoretical perspective of Winston et al. (2001), which outlined that student affairs administration focuses on three roles or domains: an educator, a leader, and a manager. The web-based survey adapted for this study was sent to COSUAA financial aid directors over a two week period in July 2019. The results yielded a 48.9% response rate, and the data collected was able to identify that directors of financial aid at COSUAA institutions primarily consider themselves to be leaders, most admire leaders, and perceive their overall responsibilities as those of a leader. However, the data also revealed that the manager domain best describes their time spent daily, as well as what is most essential for aspiring financial aid directors. Nine one-way ANOVAs were conducted using Bonferroni adjusted alpha levels of .05, and this analysis suggested a significant difference in how directors who self-identify as a leader and directors who self-identify as a manager view their overall responsibilities as a manager; the time spent daily as a manager; the time spent daily as a leader; and the essentialness of the manager domain to aspiring aid directors.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Higher Education Administration

Recommended Citation

Flogaites, Jessica Mohon, "Financial Aid Director: Educator, Leader, or Manager" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI27663870.