To help manage the more than 150 programs they administer for student financial aid, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Financial Aid have purchased the Student Aid Management (SAM) system. They hope to have it in place by February of next year.
Initially, says Harvey P. Grotrian, director of financial aid, the new program will be used as an administrative tool to bring together documents, determine the completeness of a students application and, for eligible students, bring financial aid together in an award package.
SAM replaces an outdated system that has been in use since 1971. While the old system was useful, it was limiting and involved human intervention in order to track student application materials and notify students of their eligibility.
People in the financial aid office were spending more time in the care and feeding of the computer system than they were in finding financial aid for students, says Douglas A. Levy, SAM project director and systems and programming manager for University Information Systems.
In its first year of operation, SAM will only be used in the Office of Financial Aid, but in the future other units who offer student support will be able to move data into it so that a more complete picture of available funding and awards made is accessible to the financial aid office, he says.
Last year, student support reached $235 million, Grotrian says. We must manage that well, and we intend to do that using SAM as our managements foundation.
SAM is a flexible system, Levy notes, which can grow and change with the Universitys need for distributing aid.
This is a vehicle for the Office of Financial Aid to use to improve the processes, he says. And while it may sound like a cliche these days, our goal is to help the University achieve the mission of recruiting and retaining a diverse population of quality students.