Financial aid director leaves

Director of Financial Aid Ken McGhee left his position last month to become executive director of financial aid for a community college district in Ohio.

A search committee was implemented in June to find a replacement for McGhee and the committee expects to find a new director before the beginning of next term.

McGhee left PSU in late June to serve as the executive director of financial aid for Cuyahoga Community College, a three-college system in the greater Cleveland area of Ohio. Dalton said that McGhee’s new position is a “major advancement.”

“It would be akin to working at PSU and then getting a position at the Chancellor’s Office or the Oregon University System,” Dalton said.

Search coordinator Jeremy Dalton said the posted salary range for the director of financial aid at Portland State is $65,000-$80,000. The average salary for a financial aid director at comparable universities is over $100,000.

Dalton said that it is a major concern of the search committee that PSU cannot offer a competitive salary for director of financial aid, but he said that the image and location of PSU make up for the salary discrepancy.

"PSU is a really tremendous campus, and it has a really good image as far as a dynamic and interesting place to work,” Dalton said. “It’s really a concern university-wise, because we don’t have the budget we really need to operate effectively.”

McGhee was unavailable for comment at press time.

Deanna Smith, formally the assistant director for Financial Aid, will act as interim director until a new director is selected. Smith said that the workload for most of the office has remained about the same, but her workload has gone up considerably.

“There’s more on my personal plate, but the office as a whole is doing well,” Smith said.

Dee Wendler, the associate vice president for finance and controller, said she feels the salary offered is competitive with other universities in the Portland area. The search is national, but Wendler said that the committee will not discourage internal applications.

“Certainly we would encourage people from within the university to apply,” Wendler said.

Dalton said that advertisements have been placed in many different local newspapers and journals. He said that they have not received many applications, but he expects that they will start receiving more once advertisements are placed in nation publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dalton said that the search committee is waiting for Student Body President Courtney Morse to appoint a PSU student to the committee, which already includes Veda Kindle, senior assistant director of admissions, registration and records and Bill Ryder, assistant director of new student programs. Morse said that she will have an appointment possibly by Friday and is looking at a few members of the student senate. “Someone who can comprehend the position,” she said.

Dalton said that he is aware of the financial aid department being understaffed, and the search committee is working as fast as they can to find a replacement for McGhee.

“I know they’re overworked,” Dalton said, “That office works as hard as anyone I know. There’s a lot to get done.”

         Wendler said that the financial aid department is currently ahead of schedule based on where they are normally at this time of year.

         “They have a very good team over there,” Wendler said.

Dalton said there is a lot of red tape and bureaucracy to work through in the search, but he said it is there so that the process is handled effectively.

“As much as it bogs things down, it’s absolutely necessary,” Dalton said.

The search will go into early August, with interviewing and reviewing of applicants ending by the end of that month. “Hopefully we’ll have a candidate here by the middle of September,” Dalton said.