Changes Coming to Student Payments
To: Deans, Directors, and Department Heads
- Rachelle Feldman, Interim Vice Provost, Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions Associate Provost, Scholarships and Student Aid
- Mechelle Clayton, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor, ITS Enterprise Applications
- Maribel Carrion, Executive Director, ITS Enterprise Applications
- Beverly Wyrick, Director of Finance and Administration, The Graduate School
Date: April 26, 2021
Re: Changes Coming to Student Payments
In fall 2019, a group of campus units met to begin a comprehensive review of student payments, including financial aid, compensation, reimbursements, non-service, and other payment types. As the project grew in scope and impact, it was formalized by the sponsors in early fall 2020, a charter was created, and several working groups were started. The project team and working groups reviewed how students currently receive funding, current policies, and processes. When the review was complete, they recommended changes that will ensure the University remains compliant with federal and state regulations, and University policies and reducing risk to the University. At the same time, the group attempted to make improvements to the user experience and provide clear guidance to make it easier for campus and departmental staff to correctly make and record payments to students. These important changes will be implemented in August 2021.
Types of Payments Included in the Project
Students receive a variety of payments from different sources, and many of these payments should be included in calculations for determining a student’s federal aid eligibility. However, due to inconsistencies in processing, a lack of comprehensive guidelines and confusion on payment type definitions, many of these payments are currently not being categorized correctly.
The payment types involved in this project are:
- fellowships and scholarships,
- training grants,
- awards for prizes and contests,
- research studies and internship opportunities including stipends, and
- travel for the student’s academic benefit.
HR/Payroll was reviewed as part of the project and no changes are recommended at this time.
Major Changes and Impacts
- Training grants to students will be defined as financial aid and entered in GradStar. The payment schedule for students on training grants will change from monthly to once per semester. Students will receive communications to prepare them for this change.
- The workload for campus users entering training grant payments will be reduced by allowing them to enter a maximum of four payments (fall/spring/summer I/summer II) rather than twelve monthly payments per student.
- Awards for fellowships, scholarships, prizes and contests, research studies and internship opportunities including stipends, and travel for the student’s academic benefit are financial aid and will be processed in GradStar. Currently, many of these payments are processed incorrectly as vouchers.
- Gradstar will be updated to distinguish between and correctly treat each of these types of student payment.
- A workload shift will occur since a large volume of payments previously processed in Accounts Payable will move to GradStar. Campus units will be asked to review the roles and responsibilities of staff who work in these areas and adjust workloads if needed.
As August approaches, the project team will communicate and deliver training to campus units and students in a variety of ways. Business managers will be notified well in advance to allow enough time for planning changes to their staff workloads and ensure staff are fully trained.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact one of the project sponsors listed above.