Joe Donlay named Director of Financial Aid

Joe Donlay portrait
Joe Donlay

Joe Donlay has become director of Colorado State University’s Office of Financial Aid, effective Aug. 1. He had been serving as interim director since February, after Tom Biedscheid was named assistant vice president of the Division of Enrollment and Access.

As director, Donlay oversees 45 professional staff positions responsible for the disbursement of more than $350 million in financial aid funds from all sources for more than 26,000 CSU students each year.

“I look forward to working with our on- and off-campus constituents to advance equity in access and to affirm our commitment to student success,” Donlay said. “I’m also excited to educate the campus community on financial aid programs and current issues that impact our students, as well as collaborating with campus partners to enhance the student experience.”

Donlay has been with the financial aid office since 2012, after working in the field for eight years at other higher education institutions. The University conducted a national search to fill the position, according to Biedscheid, and Donlay demonstrated that he was the clear choice to become director.

“Joe has demonstrated, at such a high level, his passion for financial aid and its transformative power, his in-depth knowledge of policy and practice, his advocacy for students, and most importantly, his commitment to culturally responsive aid administration,” Biedscheid said. “From his first year as a financial aid counselor taking home milk crates full of financial aid files to process at night to the past several months serving as interim director, there exists a common thread of student-centered dedication that truly makes him the best choice for CSU.”

“I know Joe could be a director at any institution in the country and I am so pleased that he chose us,” he added.

Key administrator

The Director of Financial Aid is a key administrator in the Division of Enrollment and Access and serves on the Vice President’s Leadership Team. The position also oversees the University’s compliance with regulations governing financial aid at the state, institutional and federal levels as well as requirements of private aid grants.

One of Donlay’s major areas of focus is on student and family interactions with the office, setting customer service expectations for all staff and aid counselors, and providing individualized solutions to the financial challenges of attending and completing college.

“The Office of Financial Aid is committed to helping students realize a CSU education,” he explained. “This is an extraordinary team of financial aid professionals who care deeply about students and are invested in their success as CSU Rams.”