Student Services Associate
Merit School of Music seeks a skilled communicator and problem-solver to be its next Student Services Associate. The successful candidate will support teachers, parents, and students via excellent collaboration. They will lead the enrollment process, facilitate communication between teachers and families, maintain Merit's student database, and help with other tasks as necessary. This is an entry-level, salaried, overtime-exempt, results-oriented position where success is measured by meeting deadlines and satisfying stakeholders. A thriving candidate will help recruit and retain new students via Merit's recruitment events and public performances.
Merit School of Music is a community music school in Chicago's West Loop. Our primary goals are to help young people transform their lives and experience personal growth through music by providing access to sustained participation. For more than 40 years, we have been home to a diverse community of talented young musicians and have acted as a springboard for achieving full musical and personal potential. Our 125 passionate and experienced teaching artists provide access to high-quality music education, engaging over 3,000 students annually at our downtown location and in area schools and community centers.
Our students, who reflect Chicago's socioeconomic and ethnic diversity, have the rare opportunity to learn together, dream together, teach each other, and broaden their horizons as they build inspiring lives through music. Merit develops musicians and provides young people with the tools they need to excel in life, with virtually 100 percent of our graduates attending a conservatory or college.
Merit School of Music is committed to building a world where historically underrepresented groups can access quality music education. Simultaneously, Merit is continually working towards becoming an organization that reflects the city's demographics and the students we serve. Merit is dedicated to being an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and anti-racist organization and continually examining our efforts in this area.
The Student Services Associate reports to the Associate Director of Student Services and the Director of Student Services.
Duties of the Student Services Associate include, but are not limited to:
Customer Support – approx. 70%
• Serve as the primary point of contact for student enrollment and customer service
• Provide support to parents, students, staff, and faculty regarding course offerings and curriculum sequencing, programming, billing, scholarship, and financial aid awards
• Consult with families to formulate payment plans when needed
General Student Services Team Expectations – approx. 20%
• Calculate and adjust student accounts for changes in class schedules and applications of awarded financial aid and scholarships.
• Facilitate communication with families with past-due accounts.
• Support open office hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30 PM until 6:30 PM. Associates are regularly responsible for one office-hour shift per week.
• Attend weekday and occasionally weekend recruitment events as assigned to provide registration assistance (mainly during the end-of-semester concert season).
• Participate in Merit-provided professional development training, including anti-bias and management training.
• Participate in cross-departmental committees as assigned.
Database Management – approx. 10%
• Collect and maintain accurate student records through Smart Rec's student database for onsite students.
• Liaise with Smart Rec's Customer Support to learn best practices and troubleshoot items.
Personal Skills, Attributes, & Qualifications
The ideal candidate would possess the following qualifications:
• Prior administrative or customer-facing experience preferred
• Invoicing, data entry, and database maintenance experience preferred
• Comfort listening to Merit's customers, identifying their needs, and providing solutions to their problems promptly and satisfactorily.
• Ability to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive student information
• Well-organized and detail-oriented
• Many of our families connect with Merit exclusively by speaking Mandarin or Spanish. These language skills are strongly preferred in this role to better support direct communication with our families.
• Background in music is welcome but not required
• Hubspot (or other CRM) experience is a plus
Bachelor's Degree or 1-3 years' administrative support and customer-facing experience preferred.
37.5 hours per week; weekday evenings and Saturday morning/afternoon availability required. Merit School of Music operates in a hybrid model wherein the student services team can work remotely on Mondays and Fridays. All student services staff members are required onsite at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to support Merit families. Monday and Friday in-person attendance may be required during peak registration periods.
Merit School of Music requires all employees to provide proof of vaccination and booster shots against COVID-19. Please plan accordingly. Face masks are recommended throughout the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center. Merit invested heavily in its HVAC system to improve ventilation throughout the building.
Merit offers a comprehensive employee benefits package, including the following items:
• Compensation is commensurate with experience and based on a starting salary of $40,000 annually.
• You will be eligible to participate in Merit's employee benefits package on the first of the month following 30 days of employment.
• Merit offers a robust healthcare package, including BCBS medical (HMO and PPO options), Delta Dental (HMO and PPO), employee-paid EyeMed vision care, and voluntary life insurance coverage.
• One day of paid time off (PTO) earned each month in the first year (increases each anniversary) and seven paid holidays in addition to a paid winter break (approximately one week).
• 401(k) eligibility begins on the first day of the new calendar quarter following one year of employment
Further information on our benefits package and employee policies is available upon request.
How to Apply
To apply, please upload your resume detailing your relevant experience and qualifications for this role using this link. Applications will be accepted through Sunday, November 26. Materials should be compatible with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF.
ALAANA/BIPOC people, trans and gender non-conforming people, and women are encouraged to apply.
For more information about the Merit School of Music, please visit www.meritmusic.org.
Merit School of Music is committed to enhancing the diversity of our musical community, recognizing that by providing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment for our students, we are preparing them for personal and professional success in an increasingly multicultural and global society. The Merit community recognizes that it has a responsibility to create and sustain a learning and working environment where difference is valued and where equity and inclusion are practiced.