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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Work Streams team up to improve the student refunds process

Collaboration between work streams has made certain that in the future, the University will spend less time and money maintaining PeopleSoft while still offering the same high level of service to students. The Student and Finance ESUP work streams have been cooperating to ensure that the University can retire several costly modifications to the Student Refunds process. Their work will allow the University to adopt Oracle’s off-the-shelf solution using the Accounts Payable module in Finance (EFS) for refunds rather than the current process of using the Payroll module in HRMS. Despite this change, students will continue receiving refunds quickly through direct deposit; checks will also be available on-demand when a student is granted an exception to the University’s direct deposit requirement. 

Lisa Luhmann Bass, Business Analyst for the Enterprise Financial System (EFS) Module Support area, has provided guidance as the Student Financials team learns more about the Accounts Payable processes. "The Student and Finance work streams work well together to ensure the University leverages delivered PeopleSoft functionality instead of relying on expensive customization,” says Luhmann Bass. “Our collaboration will also help ease the testing and implementation process." 

The groundwork for improving this process was started five years ago. From 2009 to 2011, Carolee Cohen from Academic Support Resources (ASR) chaired the Student Financials Product Advisory Group (PAG). These advisory groups work with other Universities and Oracle to resolve issues and determine improvements for PeopleSoft. Jack Kimmes, also from ASR, participated in a working group in 2010 that defined development requirements for the refund process. This included allowing students to use direct deposit to receive their refund and a method for University staff to create a refund check on-demand. 

“Participation in the PAG definitely helped ensure that necessary improvements were included in PeopleSoft 9.0. It’s nice to see our work pay off for the University,” said Cohen. Had those improvements not been made by Oracle, the University likely would have had to bring several modifications forward. 

Using the off-the-shelf Oracle process will involve some changes for both staff and students, but ESUP staff is hard at work creating training materials that will guide staff and students through those changes. Those interested in some of the specific changes that will be happening around refunding can check out “What’s Changing - Refunding.”

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