Go to the U of M home page

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Eleanor's update

As summer arrived, we all patiently awaited the results of the June Board of Regents special meeting for the University’s budget information. The board did approve a budget and we did finally get the numbers. Now the Student Finance group has been working feverishly to get those numbers set up in PeopleSoft so we can build student cost of attendance budgets, award financial aid, and charge the appropriate tuition and fees.

Also of interest at the meeting, the Regents approved the system-wide strategic plan framework. Convened last fall, this group has worked over the past year with the overarching goal to better align our resources and leverage our strengths as a system. The plan has some familiar recommendations. It will be interesting to see the future of these recommendations. Details can be found at Strategic Vision for the University System.

Sue’s update

Summer is going quickly and we have been busy finishing up spring, orienting students, providing summer courses, and preparing for fall term. I hope some of you find time to get away for a little while as I know it is difficult to do so in the summer months.

The University’s budget is finally approved by the Regents. Since we didn’t have any idea what they were going to decide for tuition, we are behind on the timing for setting thing up. Staff are working diligently to get information entered quickly. I realize for the past couple of years I have called this is the most difficult budget year, however, this by far exceeds the others. I am not confident it will be any more predictable for the future either.

On a positive note, the SRC had a great in-person meeting July 17 and 18. Several items were discussed to help prepare for the upgrade and we had great policy discussion.

Rachelle Hernandez, Associate Vice Provost of Enrollment Management, Twin Cities, has accepted a position as senior vice provost for enrollment management at University of Texas, Austin. This is a fantastic opportunity for her and the University thanks her for her 22 years of service at the University.

I want to thank Laura Walker, Rochester, for all her contributions over the years. Laura has provided stability for Rochester in many areas as the campus was created. She is remarkable and will be truly missed by all of us. I wish Laura the best.

Melissa Dingmann, Crookston Financial Aid Director, has accepted the financial aid director position at Minnesota State University, Moorhead. She has been an exceptional employee and has provided great insight on many projects over the years. This is a great opportunity for her and we congratulate her on this new position.

Discover Canvas each Thursday this summer

In early June the University announced that Canvas was selected to be the successor to Moodle. The University now invites the community to participate in a Discover Canvas event held each Thursday throughout the summer. Members of the Canvas Transition Team will be available in person and online to help faculty and staff explore this new learning environment.

PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.2 upgrade

The Technical Upgrade (phase one) is moving along as planned. We are making plans to move to the last testing environment at the end of this month as we are just two months away from go-live for this phase.

Communications and change management plans are also forming. The Functional Upgrade (phase two) has been scoped to 17 initiatives. Close to half of these groups have kicked off and are actively chartering and gathering requirements. The other half will be kicking off in the upcoming weeks. You can now get weekly, high-level updates regarding each initiative in the project status dashboard sent by Carrie Otto.

System Registrar Council (SRC) news (July 2017)

SRC quarterly rotating campus in-person meeting
The SRC meeting was hosted in Morris earlier this week. The group worked together on several current initiatives including refining the CS PS 9.2 Phase 2 projects related to student records business, reviewing and prioritizing enhancement requests to Schedule Builder, and discussion related to the decentralization of some former student records training to individual campuses.

System Student Financials Council (SFFC) news (July 2017)

Nelnet on campus
Representatives from Nelnet (the University’s payment gateway vendor) made a visit to the Twin Cities campus on July 13. The majority of the meeting was to discuss our level of satisfaction with their services and processes. We shared that overall their product works well and things have been running smoothly.

The representatives shared that the late-fall release will include responsive design for their entire application that will greatly enhance the user experience on mobile. But the most exciting change for us (yes, it’s the small things in life!) is the capability for us to update the emails generated by payment processing. This will allow us to make changes when needed, streamlining the process and providing a cost savings by eliminating the need for a Nelnet work order. This has been on our list of enhancement requests for several years.

QuikPAY enhancements
The SF-IT team is in the throes of testing a new QuikPAY release that is scheduled to go into production the week of July 24 (if all goes well). The release does not bring many big changes but it does have a mobile interface that was successfully tested and then allowed the tester to access the student account and make a payment.

Collection agency bid for student receivables
Twin Cities campus has completed the request for proposals (RFP) process for agencies to collect defaulted student accounts from Twin Cities, Morris, Crookston and Rochester campuses. We have selected four agencies, of which one was under contract under the prior RFP, and three are new. Contracts are signed and we will resume placing accounts in August. Agencies who were used previously but did not win a new contract have been told to close and return accounts they have, or appeal with Student Account Assistance if they wish to keep working some.

Heartland ECSI changes loan service practice and communication

ECSI, the University-contracted loan servicer for campus-based loans, has announced that they have set a policy that loans that reach 270 days or more past due will be classified as in default. ECSI will no longer bill accounts that reached this age. Instead, ECSI will send a letter in place of the billing statement indicating the loan is seriously past due and will direct borrowers to call Student Account Assistance (for Morris, Crookston, Rochester, and Twin Cities). This change is a result of their concern that ECSI may be labeled an unlicensed third-party collector if they continue the current practice of billing statements being sent after a loan defaults, per their interpretation of FDCPA and the CFPB regulations. This change is likely to have very little impact on our borrowers, but there may be an increase in contacts at our campuses.

System Financial Aid Council (SFAC) news (July 2017)

2017-18 financial aid awards
Now that the Board of Regents has approved the budget and set tuition and fees for the upcoming year, SF-IT, FA-IT and Office of Student Finance financial aid staff are busily inputting the figures and creating actual financial aid packages for students on all campuses.

Impact of Prior Prior Year (PPY) and early FAFSA filing date
Sometimes policy changes work as intended. As we enter into the second year of the early FAFSA and PPY, the National College Access Network (NCAN) looked at the numbers from the US Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid and found that the high school class of 2017 filed 9% more FAFSAs by June 30 than the class of 2016, an increase of 178,000 more students--over 2.1 million in total. Overall, 61% of high school seniors this year filed the FAFSA by June 30, compared to 56% in 2016.

By the end of December, 1.1 million high school seniors--about a third of all seniors nationally--had already filed their FAFSA before it would have even been available to them in the past. The University did experience higher than normal FAFSA submission levels. (Excerpted from NASFAA News)

ASR-IT news (July 2017)

Student Degree Progress (SDP) Service
SDP Service has been providing mission critical data to the SDP team, MyU portal, the Student Data & Analytics team, and has begun work with the Enterprise Data Warehouse. Data from the SDP Service helps inform business decisions that can increase graduation rates, improve retention, and identify at-risk students. A formal user group has been established and will be meeting to discuss forming a governance committee and associated processes. For more information on the SDP service, visit sdp.umn.edu.

Student Data & Analytics - Course Enrollment and EDW
The first stage of Course Enrollment data is built out in the new Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) and is being socialized with some early adopter and super-user groups. Three enterprise reports have been created and the team is collecting feedback on those reports: Course Registration Activity Pivot Table, Course Enrollment Dashboard (single term), and Course Enrollment Trends Dashboard (multiple terms and academic years).

SDP Service Expands
Planning is underway to make student degree progress data more accessible to a broad audience via the Enterprise Data Warehouse. The SDP Service (mentioned above) mines and structures data allowing Student Data & Analytics to leverage and make it broadly available for operational and strategic needs.

Destiny One Registration System (DORS)
DORS, the University's system for non-credit registration activity, has generated over $20,000,000 in revenue with 110,000+ registrations since launching in July 2015. The latest version of the software was delivered to the test environment July 5. New core functionality, bug fixes, and change requests were included in this deployment. Validation and testing are in progress by the DORS team, in collaboration with CCE and individual business units. Deployment to Production is expected the first week of August. The DORS team is also working with OIT to deliver an integration with Canvas. And finally, the DORS Reporting Center went live on June 23 for staff users of Destiny One.

Next Oracle database upgrade in planning
It is anticipated that in the April-May 2018 timeframe, the Oracle database that underpins PeopleSoft will have its next upgrade. Regression testing will be required by ASR-IT BAs. More information to come.

OIT annual data center outage: January 5-7, 2018
This outage will include WBOB data center maintenance. More details to be provided for affect on individual systems.

Crookston updates (July 2017)

Leadership Academy
The new UMC Leadership Academy will launch this fall. The program is designed to create a culture of leadership at the University of Minnesota Crookston by assisting faculty and staff in the development of leadership skills, capacity and readiness, and help position them to move their programs, units, departments, and the campus forward.

Unlike the UMC Leads program, the UMC Leadership Academy is designed completely in-house and is open to both faculty and staff. The leadership program will span the 2017-2018 academic year. Informational sessions about the program will be offered during Opening Week in August. The sessions will include information about the program, schedule, timeline, and application process. Interested faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend those sessions.

New academic programs
At its June 2017 meeting, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved two academic programs for the Crookston campus. The Board granted approval to UMC to deliver both the existing on-campus bachelor of science (BS) degree and undergraduate minor in agricultural business online, effective fall 2018. The Board also approved UMC’s undergraduate honors program. The program requires a student application process, and successful completion will include maintenance of a 3.3 overall GPA, as well as the production of original scholarship. The proposed program makes use of existing courses and resources.

Staff updates:
Best wishes to Melissa Dingmann, Director of Student Financial Aid, who is leaving the University after 12 years of service for Director of Financial Aid & Scholarship at MSUM – Moorhead

Duluth updates (July 2017)

New Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science building
University of Minnesota system leadership and UMD’s community partners jump started construction of the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science (CAMS) building with a groundbreaking ceremony last week at its future site, across from the Darland Administration building. Construction began this week and will take almost two years. When completed, CAMS will supplement the classes currently happening in the chemistry building, which was built in 1948 for 300 students. It's now serving more than 5,500 students a year.

Staff updates:
Congratulations go out to Nichole Lofald, on the birth of her baby girl, Asa Leigh, on June 28. Both mom and baby are doing great!

Morris updates (July 2017)

Chancellor’s inauguration announced
Morris will celebrate the inauguration of the sixth chancellor, Michelle Behr on Friday, September 29, 2017 at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) conference
Staff from the Office of Financial Aid attended the 2017 NASFAA National Conference in San Diego, June 26 – June 29.

Staff updates:
One Stop Student Services welcomes new staff member, Quentin Tatum. His first day was July 12.

Marie Hagen has been promoted to the Assistant Director of the Office of Financial Aid. Congratulations, Marie!

Rochester updates (July 2017)

Chancellor retires
Rochester Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle steps down from campus leadership on August 1 of this year. Serving as UMR chancellor since its founding 10 years ago, Lehmkuhle indicated his decision to retire is based on UMR’s “strong upward trajectory” and his deep confidence in “an enterprising and skilled leadership team” to carry the campus forward.

Staff updates:
Best wishes to Laura Walker who after nearly eight years of service has left her position as Director of One Stop Student Services on July 17.

Twin Cities updates (July 2017)

University to host Higher Education Financial Wellness Summit
One Stop Student Services at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is thrilled to host the 4th annual Higher Education Financial Wellness Summit (The Summit) from July 30-August 1, 2017! The conference will take place at The Commons Hotel on the Minneapolis campus.

Please let either Nate Peterson (pete2787@umn.edu) or Betsy Everts (everts@umn.edu) know if you have any questions about this conference, Live Like a Student, or the financial wellness outreach campaign on the Twin Cities campus.

Staff updates:
Welcome to:
Marcus Muller--joined on July 10 as Academic Records Specialist. He is located in Fraser Hall and reports to Erik Sparby.
Laura Butchko--joined ASR Continuity & Compliance June 30. Laura will be working in the temporary position of Business/Systems Analyst 2 reporting to Stephanie Sutton.
Morgan Pasterski--started in the position of Academic Records Specialist on July 10 and reports to Amber Cellotti.
Roger Peterson started in the of Business/Systems Analyst in the Student Financials IT team on June 12 and reports to Carolee Cohen.

Best wishes to Phil Dolan, CTS, who is leaving the University after July 6 for another opportunity. Phil joined CTS in spring 2016.

Farewell to retirees:
Sarah Johnson, who spent 37-years in ASR.
Kathy Georges, who retired from the University on June 2, 2017.
Mark Galarneau, a senior One Stop counselor, after a 14-year run in One Stop.

Thank you to Sarah, Kathy, and Mark for the multitude of contributions throughout their time in ASR, and best wishes to them as they start their new adventures. Life tends to give happiness in installments--the biggest and best one being right ahead. Congratulations!