Job Specification

Position Title:
Program Assistant - Bilingual (English/French)
Job Code:
09OAD - Office Administration 09
Job ID:

Purpose of Position :

To provide a range of services to students who are applying to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and other bursaries/awards and scholarships
To provide customer service on financial student aid programs to applicants, Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs), financial aid representatives at postsecondary institutions, ensuring applications are processed in a timely manner to meet student needs.

Duties / Responsibilities :

1. Providing high quality customer service, providing information and application assistance for financial student aid programs such as student loans, bursaries/awards, grants and scholarships by:
- Responding to telephone inquiries on the general inquiry or 1-800 queue lines covering all aspects of student aid programs, policies and procedures from applicants (primarily attending schools out of province and country), parents, MPP offices, education and financial institution representatives who have questions or are seeking clarification of program policies; explaining assessment of eligibility; status of application information.
- Determining eligibility for loans, bursaries, grants and scholarships by evaluating eligibility of applications in accordance with program guidelines, calculating financial need manually or by submitting transactions on the mainframe system.
- Responding in writing to general correspondence received from applicants and financial aid representatives.
- Liaise in writing and on the phone with Deputy Minister's Office and other partners and stakeholders regarding escalated and complex student files.
2. Ensure the timely and accurate processing of applications and transactions for OSAP and all other loans, scholarships and bursary programs administered by the Student Support Branch ' Programs unit by:
- Reviewing and completing application forms received directly from students.
- Ensuring required documentation is obtained from students or from financial aid representatives prior to processing applications.
- Verifying and reviewing information submitted, identifying discrepancies, following up with applicant or institution representative to obtain correct information and communicating information to applicants, institution financial aid representatives explaining nature of discrepancy and why correction and additional supporting documentation is required ' Contacting students by telephone or in writing to obtain additional information required to complete their application forms.
- Correcting applications which reject from the computer system due to missing or conflicting information.
- Reviewing and correcting applications with discrepancies by obtaining information from students or institutions.
- Advising financial aid representatives of action taken on behalf of their students.
- Referring cases which do not fall under standard OSAP policy guidelines to other program area staff or to institution financial aid offices.
- Processing amendments/changes to student application information by entering into the computer system transaction code changes provided by institution financial aid offices on various forms i.e. student activity forms, program information forms, request for duplicate documents, etc.
- Monitoring specific transaction errors and error ratios at specific institutions and advising financial aid office staff in correct procedures.
- Identifying to program coordinator and other program area staff of recurring application rejection types and exceptions for follow-up by the systems area.
- Identifying cases which should be passed on to investigation of fraud to the Standards, Monitoring and Compliance Unit.
3. Assisting senior program area staff in reviewing and assessing student applications with income discrepancies identified through the income verification process by:
- Reviewing and assessing forms and documentation submitted by applicants in accordance with program policies and procedures.
- Manually calculating income discrepancies from Notice of Assessments provided by Canada Revenue Agency; includes review of Canada and foreign tax and income documents to determine ongoing program eligibility.
- Corresponding outcome of review, explaining decision and application of program policies to applicants.
- Correcting income information and keying amended information into on-line system as required for complex cases presenting recommendation to Program Coordinator or Program Manager for decision.
- Forwarding contentious issues to Program Coordinators and Program Manager.
4. Participating as a team member in the Program Unit and on a branch-wide basis in the delivery and improvement of client service processes by:
- Assisting in training new or temporary staff and sharing skills with other members of the Program Unit.
- Participating in branch-wide projects such as the application test committee and other projects.
- Working with other Program Unit staff members to solve problems and suggest new ways to improve client service.
- Assisting with various clerical tasks in the Program Unit such as receiving and distributing mail.

Staffing and Licensing :

Advanced Oral and Written French Language Skills

Knowledge :

-Thorough knowledge of all Student Financial Assistance Branch programs, policies and procedures for all programs relating to loans, bursaries/awards, scholarships administered by the Program Unit.
- Thorough knowledge of all programs under the Ontario Student Assistance Program and related legislation and regulations to provide information, including application of program policies.
- Knowledge of Student Financial Assistance Branch on-line computer system to input/access application data.

Skills :

- Good interpersonal skills to communicate with the public, other staff members and financial aid representatives.
- Good oral and written communication skills to explain decisions, program policies and procedures on the phone or in writing to applicants.
- Ability to organize own work and flexibility to perform different tasks throughout the OSAP processing cycle.
- Ability to deal tactfully and courteously with applicants, parents, MPPs and financial aid representatives.
- Ability to work independently and as an effective team member.

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