Automation of Financial Aid Packaging/Awarding

As part of the Banner Revitalization Program, the District Financial Aid Office, in conjunction with ITS, and Ellucian, have been hard at work developing, testing, and implementing UC4 Application Manager. UC4 will improve the flow of financial aid applications between the Department of Education, SJC and students.

This software has enabled us to move the batch packaging/awarding and letter generation process from a weekly schedule to a daily schedule. Both aid years (2012-13 and 2013-14) are on the daily schedule in Production Banner.

The automation of the packaging/awarding and letter generation process has reduced the turnaround time from 1-2 weeks to 24-48 hours for about half of financial aid applicants. Students, who are not selected for verification and do not need to submit other documents, are receiving their SJC awards 24-48 after completing the FASFA. This is an impressive achievement for the entire college. This is something that has never happened in the history of the SJC Financial Aid Department.

Preparations for UC4 included automating of awarding state grants, revamping Cost of Attendance Budgets that more accurately reflect enrollment and automating summer awarding. In addition, an online process was created to allow students to provide authorizations digitally to use their Title IV funds to pay discretionary and limited prior year charges.

Benefits of these of the new automatic processes are as follows:

  • Students can apply today and get awarded tomorrow
  • Students receive their money faster
  • Allows students to focus more on academic performance (students have been known to skip class to wait in line to inquire about their application status)
  • Increase student enrollment, retention and persistence
  • Prevents over-awards and reduces Return to Title IV debt; school is left with less debt
  • Allows Assoc. Director to do more value added tasks such as continue process improvement and perform Banner system maintenance
  • Allows part-time specialist to do more work on institutional grants that are made available to special populations such as dual credit, international, undocumented, and CPD students
  • Allows R2T4 specialist to focus on Title IV debt, over-awards, and enrollment verifications
  • Complies with Department of Education Program Review Student Budget finding which will prevent an audit
  • FAO will meet Federal compliance regulations regarding use of Title IV funds
  • Students have more control over the way their Title IV funds are used
  • Students have easier, more convenient way to pay debt using Title IV funds
  • Business Office will not be able to collect prior year or discretionary charges from current year Title IV funds
  • Removes FAO from being involved in the settling of debts
  • Provides the Business office with a defined process for collecting debt
  • Encourages students to become more fiscally responsible (Success at San Jacinto College)

I would especially like to recognize and thank Mark Deaver for his exceptional contributions to this exciting initiative.

Thank you,

Robert Merino
Financial Aid Services Director
San Jacinto College

South

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