Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Research Cognition and Development

First Committee Member

Mario Martinez

Second Committee Member

Robert Ackerman

Third Committee Member

Gerald Kops

Fourth Committee Member

Gregory Schraw

Number of Pages



Financial aid officers play a vital role in assisting prospective and current college students in enrolling and graduating from college. This study explores the competencies that financial aid officers need to be successful in their jobs. A survey of thirty competencies was distributed to 508 practicing financial aid officers in the Western United States, with 135 returned. Respondents were asked to rate the 30 job competencies for their relative importance and frequency of use.

Using factor analysis as the primary method of analysis, this study establishes a job competency model that financial aid officers can use in various aspects related to their job performance: training, evaluation, and professional development. The emergent competency model is a four-factor solution that summarizes and groups together competencies; one for importance, the second for frequency. The four-factor solution for importance includes:

* Relationship to ecosystem: external and internal;

* Communication/Relational;

* Data Analysis; and

* Project Management.

The four-factor solution for the frequency ratings includes:

* External to Organization;

* Interpersonal;

* Data Analysis; and

* Project Management.

The four-factor solutions established by the research also showed overlap with an existing competency model for higher education analysts. Areas of overlap between the competency models for financial aid officers and higher education policy analysts include technical skills, such as data analysis, and people/communication skills, and external organization skills (e.g. knowledge of laws/trends).

Through the application of this competency model, financial aid officers will be better equipped to develop meet the demands of the profession by targeting specific competency areas for training and growth, which in turn will enable professionals in the field to provide the best possible service to students as they make decisions about college enrollment, persistence, and graduation.


Competencies; Competency model; Core competencies; Financial aid; Financial aid administration; Student aid; Student financial aid; Student financial aid administrators


Educational Leadership | Student Counseling and Personnel Services

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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