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Photo of Purdue Employees
Dec 2007/Jan 2008
Issue 7
Photo of Robyn Poole and Deb Watkins
Photo by Steve Jones
Robyn Poole (left), a financial aid specialist on OnePurdue's Enrollment and Student Affairs (ESA) Team, shows Deb Watkins how to configure packaging groups for student awards during preparation for ESA Mock 2 testing. Watkins is the senior assistant director of Purdue's Division of Financial Aid. Mock 2, which began Dec. 10, is testing processes, interfaces and enhancements in the new Banner Financial Aid system. Read more.
In this issue

Financial Aid ready for new Banner system

Student reporting tool installed; Cognos training begins this month

Tiered support system being developed

New e-commerce software will work with Banner

FAQs of the Month

Scheduled ESA Milestones

Helpful Links

Back issues


Financial Aid ready for new Banner system
With the Banner Financial Aid software on track to go live Feb. 11, several staff members from the Division of Financial Aid (DFA) in West Lafayette have been working with OnePurdue’s Enrollment and Student Affairs (ESA) team to prepare and finish testing

The third OnePurdue release overall, this will be the first of two Banner modules that will go into production prior to the fall semester. (SunGard Higher Education’s Banner software is the suite of applications that will comprise the bulk of the new student systems. Already in use at Fort Wayne and Calumet, it is being implemented at the West Lafayette and Purdue North Central campuses.)

Photo of Joyce Hall

“Mock” testing of the new financial aid system has been underway since last fall. The initial round of this, Mock 1, was completed Nov. 9. Mock 2 began Nov. 26 and continued into January. Some additional testing, known as Mock 2.1, is still underway, and must be completed by the February release.

DFA staff members have been involved with this for several months, and as many as 15 of them have been working on it full-time at OnePurdue since November, said Bonnie Joerschke, senior associate director of DFA. In addition to helping with all the testing, they were the first in the department to be trained to use both the Banner financial aid software and Cognos, the new reporting tool that will work with it.

Although Banner Financial Aid will be used by DFA after the February go-live date, most people outside of the department may not notice significant changes. “Our goal is to make the transition to the Banner system seamless, so that students and staff will hardly notice any changes in financial aid processes,” Joerschke said.

DFA staff will work to make the transition to Banner through spring and into summer, so some of its features will be rolled out over time. One of its benefits, however, will be helpful immediately.

“For the first time, we will have an integrated system, which means we won’t have to keep looking up information in multiple legacy systems,” Joerschke said.

DFA Executive Director Joyce Hall agrees. “With the current system, we often have to look up data in as many as three or four different systems on campus, and all of them operate under different codes. But having a single source of information will allow us to do our work — and assist students — much more quickly and efficiently.”

One Banner feature will be available to students as early as April: the ability to accept or reject financial aid offers (for the fall semester) online, said DFA Associate Director Marvin Smith. “This should be an intuitive process for students and improve some financial aid processes for us.”

The new financial aid system will eventually bring other improvements down the road, including imaging (having access to electronic images of paper documents), easier data entry of tax returns, and more frequent batch processing.

From Jan. 23 to Feb. 7, all remaining DFA staff, including student employees, will be attending two-day Banner Financial Aid training sessions, Joyce Hall, executive director, said. “All 52 of us will be trained just before the new software is released, so we’ll be able to hit the ground running.” North Central financial aid personnel will receive training on their campus.

About eight DFA employees and four PNC staff will receive Cognos training as well. There will be more training over the summer as other processes are implemented.

“This is an exciting time for us,” Hall said. “We are about to change every process we do in this office, but we’re ready.”

Smith said that DFA is up to the challenge. “We deal with changes in student aid programs all the time, so our staff is good at dealing with change.”

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Student reporting tool installed; Cognos training begins this month
Because the ability to receive accurate and timely information is so vital to the University, the reporting component of the new OnePurdue student systems has received a lot of attention.

The Enrollment and Student Affairs (ESA) Reporting Work Group, comprised of representatives from various West Lafayette and Purdue North Central (PNC) administrative offices, has been collaborating with the reporting team at OnePurdue to install, test and learn Cognos (version 8), the software licensed by Purdue that will be used to access data from the new OnePurdue (Banner) student systems.

SunGard Higher Education’s Banner is the suite of applications that will comprise the bulk of the new student systems. It is being implemented at the West Lafayette and PNC campuses. Fort Wayne (IPFW) and Calumet, which have been using Banner for several years, also are using (or will be using) Cognos as their reporting tool.
New Opportunities
“Our goal is not to replicate all old reports, but rather provide authoritative, fresh student data for both operational purposes and strategic decision-making using a modern and user-friendly tool with prompts, drill-down capabilities and dashboards,” said Pam Horne, assistant vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions. (A dashboard is a graphical presentation of data and key metrics organized in an easy-to-read format.)

“Since Banner’s Operational Data Store will be refreshed nightly, other shadow databases will not be needed. Core academic student data, such as recruitment, admissions, courses and academic records, will be available.”
Photo of Pam Horne

(Cognos will access data from the Operational Data Store (ODS) and Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), Banner’s two reporting databases.)

“We’re excited about implementing Banner and Cognos,” Horne said. “The opportunities to build upon the new reporting functions are immense and will serve Purdue well into the future.”

Training and Support
About 15 staff members from West Lafayette and PNC will begin Cognos training in January 2008. Because Banner’s financial aid component will “go live” in February, most of these trainees will be from Purdue’s Division of Financial Aid (DFA). Training for non-DFA staff, both at West Lafayette and PNC, will begin afterward and continue on a long-term, ongoing basis.

This initial Cognos training will be for “power users,” those who are responsible for reporting as a central part of their jobs.

Over the next few weeks, Sarah Bauer, director of enrollment management analysis and reporting, will be contacting leaders in the colleges and other major units to determine which data analyst personnel will need Cognos training. (Bauer also leads the OnePurdue ESA reporting team.) “Since these staffs know their information needs on a day-to-day basis, they can help shape the reporting environment, so their participation will be essential,” she said.

In addition to formal training, a Cognos users group will be formed to share tips and other information. Shared queries, written and validated by experienced report authors, also will be created for use by all Cognos users. Others will be trained later to use more “point-and-click” reporting functionality.

“The implementation of the new student systems provides us an opportunity to create new data fields, new processes, and, thus, new information and reporting,” Bauer said. “Having a strong, collaborative group of data analysts across Purdue’s campuses will allow us to take full advantage of the new systems, and Cognos will allow us to effectively access student data.”

More Functions
“This version of Cognos has more functions and a wide variety of reporting and presentation options,” Bauer said. “The few Purdue staff who already have participated in Cognos training are excited by its capabilities and anxious to use it as their everyday reporting tool. Cognos is not just reporting software, but a business intelligence tool.” (BI refers not only to ways of accessing information to make better business decisions, but also having a comprehensive knowledge of the processes themselves.)

Using Cognos, data will be available to a wide variety of staff members with varying levels of reporting skills, including point-and-click, advanced, external data, ad hoc data and dashboard reporting. As Banner goes into production, the ODS will be refreshed nightly, Bauer said. The EDW data will allow for more analytical reporting and trend analysis in the future.

“The current (legacy) Student Decision Support System (DSS) will remain available to access historical data. This will allow for longitudinal analysis.”

Purdue has purchased “named” licenses for Cognos (as opposed to a site license), said Bauer, and they are dedicated to student reporting. “With this focus, we have an ample number of each type of license.” (Click here to view the license types.)

License distribution is being managed by OnePurdue’s Enrollment and Student Affairs Advisory Committee.

For more information about ESA reporting, contact Sarah Bauer at (765) 49-40886 or sarah@purdue.edu.

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New e-commerce software will work with Banner
Photo of John Higgins and Mimi Arighi
Photo by Steve Jones
Bursar John Higgins (left) speaks with Mimi Arighi, director of Purdue's Veterinary Teaching Hospital, at an Academic Leadership Forum in November.

The new OnePurdue student systems will include separate components that “plug in” to Banner. One of these is for e-commerce (financial transactions conducted over the Internet), which Purdue is licensing from TouchNet Information Systems.

SunGard Higher Education’s Banner is the suite of applications that will comprise the bulk of the new student systems. It is being implemented at the West Lafayette and North Central campuses.

“We needed to find a product that met the University’s e-commerce needs, and the TouchNet software will allow students and parents to conduct their financial transactions with Purdue online, as efficiently as possible, and within a secure environment,” said Bursar John Higgins.

“It’s important for us to be able to present bills, payment interfaces and installment plans that are as intuitive and convenient as possible, and the software provided by TouchNet will enable us to do that.”

TouchNet’s features will benefit Purdue in many ways, including:

  • Third-Party Access: Students will be able to assign account access to their parents (or other designees).
  • Electronic Billing: Purdue will have the ability to present scheduled bills online, and account holders will be able to view past statements.
  • Electronic Payments: The University will accept online credit card payments (MasterCard, Discover and American Express) and receive payments via scheduled deductions from bank accounts.
  • Installment Plans: Purdue will be able to create flexible installment plans that can be configured in advance, and allow for online self-enrollment throughout the semester.
  • Cashiering: Staff will be able to post real-time payments to accounts without redundant data entry, provide end-of-day cash reconciliation, and convert in-person, paper check payments to electronic deductions from bank accounts.
  • Security: TouchNet will store sensitive data (such as credit card information) in compliance with all federal, state and industry regulations; this will reduce Purdue’s liability risk.

Allowing people to make fee payments with credit cards represents a change in policy for the West Lafayette campus. “The expense associated with accepting credit cards has been an obstacle to doing this until now,” Higgins said, “but the agreement with TouchNet makes it possible for us to assess a convenience fee, which will offset Purdue's costs, to those who wish to pay with MasterCard, Discover or American Express.”

The process of evaluating e-commerce software involved many West Lafayette departments, including Purchasing, Treasury Operations, ITaP Identity and Security, and OnePurdue, Higgins said.

TouchNet is a partner of SunGard Higher Education, and its e-commerce software has been installed with Banner and is currently in use at more than 700 colleges and universities, including Purdue’s Fort Wayne campus.

In addition to the benefits described above, TouchNet also will provide non-student-related e-commerce solutions, including e-marketplace software to set up storefront ‘checkout’ payment channels.

“These could be used by individual departments to accept credit card payments for goods and services,” Higgins said. “E-marketplace functionality will be implemented separately from the student systems.”

The e-commerce software for student-related functions at the North Central and West Lafayette campuses is scheduled to go live with Banner’s Student module in July.

Submitted by University Bursar John Higgins.

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Tiered support system being developed
Work is currently underway to develop a help and support model to be in place for each release of the new OnePurdue student systems, currently scheduled to occur in February and July 2008.

This is a joint effort between OnePurdue User Support (OPUS), OnePurdue’s Enrollment and Student Affairs (ESA) team, and staff members from the Division of Financial Aid (DFA), Office of the Registrar, Admissions, Bursar’s Office, and Student Services Technology and Assessment offices.

“Our goal is to develop a support model that provides end-to-end support for all system users at each level,” said Julie Kercher-Updike, associate vice president for customer relations at Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP). “This could include anyone from students and staff members using self-service tools to Registrar, DFA, Admissions or Bursar personnel managing day-to-day system activities.”
Photo of Julie Kercher-Updike

The model being developed will provide those at each level a way to escalate issues they cannot resolve themselves. For example:

  • Tier 0 (Self-Help): Online materials on how to use the system’s and Knowledge Base resources for help with commonly asked questions or known errors
  • Tier 1: A single point of contact for technical help (OnePurdue Support Center) or functional support (e.g., DFA staff providing aid information to students)
  • Tier 2: Functional and technical support (escalated from Tier 1) from experts with a higher level of understanding of the back-end computing systems
  • Tier 3: Vendor support

This approach was used for OnePurdue’s financial and human resource releases in 2007. From the initial Feb. 5 “go-live” through Sept. 30, 11,892 help tickets were managed within the various levels of tiered support.

More specific information on how to get help with the new student systems will be made available as each software package gets closer to its release date in 2008.

Submitted by Dwight Snethen, ITaP customer service quality director.

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FAQs of the Month

Does Banner’s registration component use requisites?
Yes, and requisite checking will be part of OnePurdue’s Banner registration system.

Will there be a degree audit system?
Yes. We will use Banner’s Curriculum Advising Program Planning (CAPP), which will help advisors and students track progress toward degrees.

Will students will be assigned registration times?
Yes. Students will be assigned times based on the number of overall credits they’ve earned, including transfer credits.

Will faculty be able to assign plus and minus grades?
Yes. This new option will begin in December for fall 2008 semester grading.

Submitted by University Registrar Bob Kubat.

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Scheduled ESA Milestones

Click on the image below to view the most recent implementation schedule planned for OnePurdue's new student systems, which will be released in 2008.

ESA Milestones Chart

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Helpful Links

OnePurdue Enrollment and Student Affairs Team

ESA Organizational Communicators

ESA Organizational Chart

ESA Advisory Committee

Registration and Scheduling Work Group

Information about SunGard Higher Education and Banner

Frequently Asked Questions about ESA and Banner

OnePurdue Home Page

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Back Issues

Click on the links below to read previous issues of ESAnews.

ESAnewsIssue 6 (November 2007)

Issue 5 (October 2007)

Issue 4 (September 2007)

ESAnews —
Issue 3 (August 2007)

ESAnews —
Issue 2 (July 2007)

Issue 1 (May 2007)


ESAnews is published by OnePurdue. Please direct all questions and comments about this newsletter to onepurdue@purdue.edu.


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