Student Financial Support Administrator

Durham, United Kingdom
£22,417 - £25,941 per annum
18 Nov 2021
End of advertisement period
02 Dec 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Academic Office

Grade 4: - £22,417 - £25,941 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 12 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 02-Dec-2021, 7:59:00 AM

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.

OUR VALUES: We are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide a comprehensive service and deliver the efficient administration and governance of the University.

Overall family purpose

  • Deliver direct and indirect services to stakeholders.
  • Provide advice and answer queries as part of an enquiry-desk/help-desk function.
  • Respond to and manage requests for information and resources.
  • Deliver services to meet regulatory requirements and procedures.
  • Plan and deliver a joined-up approach to University business and people services.
  • Align business processes and services to meet operational and strategic policy objectives. 
  • Deliver business processes to ensure effective management, governance and the economic viability of the University.
  • Encourage, collaborate and participate in the development of productive cross-institution relationships and working.
  • Provide excellent professional services that meet strategic and operational goals and business needs.
  • Carry out monitoring, analysis, development and planning to design new services and service updates for continuous improvement whilst meeting changes in regulations.
  • Engage with specialist professionals, consultants, and suppliers to exchange knowledge and facilitate partnership working.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.
  • Align and deliver programmes and activities to meet operational and strategic objectives to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Engage and encourage participation with external professionals, schools, alumni and donors.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering Professional Services across the University;
  • A joined-up approach to University professional services, regardless of location or line management;
  • A culture and practice of continuous improvement;
  • Design services that meet business need;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

The Department and role purpose

The Student Immigration and Funding Service (SIFS) works with internal colleagues and external bodies to provide high quality advice and support relating to immigration legislation and financial support for both undergraduate and postgraduate students and applicants.

The Service is part of the Academic Office. The Academic Office provides a professional administrative support service to staff, students and potential students of Durham University.

The Academic Registrar is the head of the department and is responsible to the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) for its management.

The following services fall under the remit of the Academic Office:

  • Curriculum, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Immigration and Funding
  • Student Registry

All the services are based in the Palatine Centre in Durham City.

The post holder will support the Student Immigration and Funding Service in delivering a comprehensive and professional support service to students, with specific responsibility for work on undergraduate and postgraduate student loans, student financial support, scholarships, and postgraduate research council funding.

The post holder will play a key part in the supporting a customer-focussed, efficient, and professional service dedicated to ensuring that students applying to and attending Durham University receive excellent administrative support.

Core responsibilities:

  • Provide a responsive and proactive support service for students and staff.
  • Focus on checking student loans, financial hardship, scholarships and postgraduate funding eligibility to ensure the delivery of excellence with the frontline stakeholder experience.
  • Respond to service users answering and recording standard queries and bookings for activities and/or events.
  • Contribute to the planning of team activities, work, and deadlines to ensure the smooth running and timeliness of service.
  • Solve day-to-day routine problems and source background information within the role.
  • Record data and information accurately and provide reports as required to team managers across the student funding service.
  • Operate an enquiry service and process requests finding solutions or escalating queries where necessary.
  • Flexible in approach to accommodate the needs of team members and/or service users.
  • Assist team members to organise, plan and prepare for events, meetings, and activities.
  • Liaise with internal and external stakeholders and professional specialists to pass on information (e.g., Research Councils and the Student Loans Company etc.).
  • Apply professional, Student Loan and Research Council regulatory procedures and processes, to the use of systems, updating them in a timely manner.
  • Liaise and collaborate with staff in other areas of the organisation to ensure a seamless, smooth, and efficient service.
  • Resolve queries and requests for information and advice and escalate more specialist and complex queries or issues to more experienced team members.

Role responsibilities:

  • Work across the Student Funding Service to ensure the smooth running of administrative processes to support people and business activities.
  • Apply standard professional and recognised regulatory procedures to process, check and reconcile anomalies within data and information sets and administer the undergraduate loans processes and postgraduate funding process for relevant students
  • Compile, record, store and archive data and information, which relates to Student Loans and Postgraduate funding to ensure the accuracy and safety of information.
  • Liaise with representatives from other service areas, professional organisations (Scholarship providers, Student Loans Company and Research Councils) and agencies where necessary.
  • Use standard office-based digital systems (e.g., Microsoft Office, Banner, Oracle Financials, web editing tools etc.), tools and equipment to carry out data recording, communications, and networking; ensuring that students are correctly recorded in the appropriate system and payments to students are made in a timely and efficient way.
  • Provide service and support for networks, committees and meetings, to draft and distribute documents and communications in standard professional formats.
  • Process and update applications for financial support as appropriate.
  • Liaise with internal and external suppliers and specialists with the organisation, planning and delivery of services, activities and events.
  • Be responsible for organising student financial support files as required.
  • Complete and maintain University records for students funded from other external bodies.
  • Any other reasonable duties; supporting the SIFS reception desk in line with an agreed rota.

Specific role requirements

There is an expectation the post holder will contribute cover for service events such as Open Days. This may include some evening and weekend working.

Recruiting to this post

 In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above (including those listed in the section ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’).

In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply

We prefer to receive applications online.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

  What you are required to submit

  1. A CV;
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  3. The person specification and Realising Your Potential Approach grids.

NOTE Any criteria marked with an asterisk* are key requirements for the role, and therefore may receive additional weighting when applications are scored during shortlisting. Please ensure you give detailed examples of how you meet these criteria.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Contact details 

For further information please contact: Michael Parks, Head of Student Immigration and Funding Service (m.a.parks@durham.ac.uk)

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

The essential criteria for this role are:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent experience).
  • Evidence of personal development to maintain skills
  • Demonstrable ability to provide advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.
  • Ability to solve problems as part of a team and resolve straightforward issues. 
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and to exercise discretion and sensitivity in service delivery mindful of the needs of disabled users.
  • Experience of analysing and manipulating data and presenting relevant management information using relational databases and spreadsheets

The desirable criteria for this role are:

  • Previous experience of working in a Higher Education environment
  • Post-16 qualification or equivalent experience.
  • Relevant administrative experience in a busy office environment.
  • Experience of working on the front line with service delivery, and the ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines without compromising on quality.
  • Experience of budget and financial monitoring with a working knowledge of Oracle Financials
  • Possess a working knowledge of Banner Student records system
  • Experience of working with the Student Loans system
  • Have knowledge and experience of producing and editing web pages

Realising Your Potential Approach

DEVELOPING MYSELF AND OTHERS - Showing commitment to own development and supporting and encouraging others to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to reach their full potential for the wider benefit of the University.:

  1. Using all situations as potential learning opportunities
  2. Being a role model by devoting time to own development, managing workload and making effective use of time
  3. Proactively engaging in formal and informal learning and development activities
  4. Engaging positively with appraisal processes by seeking, accepting and acting upon feedback
  5. Demonstrate self-motivation
  6. Keeping up to date with what is happening in own and/or professional area with a view to improving self

EMBRACING CHANGE - Adjusting to unfamiliar situations, demands and changing roles. Seeing change as an opportunity and being receptive to new ideas.

  1. Taking a creative approach to change which challenges assumptions and is not based purely on enhancing existing practice
  2. Viewing change situations as opportunities for improving and developing work
  3. Remaining positive about moving forward despite being realistic about the difficulty of change
  4. Challenging the status quo in a constructive way where appropriate

RESPECTING OTHERS - To embrace diversity by promoting and maintaining an inclusive and supportive work and study environment that enables all members of our University community to achieve their full potential.

  1. Acting fairly and respectfully towards others in both verbal and non-verbal communication
  2. Practices being non-judgemental towards others – avoids making decisions or judgements about people based on their sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, colour, nationality, ethnic origin or age
  3. Behaving responsibly by reporting any incidents of bullying, harassment and victimisation
  4. Showing a commitment to improving the University with regard to respecting others by attending designated training sessions to keep abreast of equality legislation and learning more about the needs of minority groups
  5. Recognising when someone is being discriminated against and taking appropriate action
  6. Challenging questionable behaviour and practices which are not in keeping with respect for others

WORKING TOGETHER - Working co-operatively with others in order to achieve objectives. Applying a wide range of interpersonal skills.

  1. Monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of working relationships
  2. Having a good grasp of where your responsibility ends and that of others begins
  3. Presenting own opinions and the interests of those you are representing at meetings in a convincing way

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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