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CSU hoping new software will bypass old glitches
Wednesday, July 19, 2000
By RONALD RUTTI
PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
Cleveland State University officials are hoping that this year they can avoid student registration calamities that have struck the last two fall semesters.
New computer software is being installed to allow bypassing of the troubled PeopleSoft product that has delayed student financial aid awards.
Joseph Nolan, a CSU vice president heading efforts to end the computer woes, said the real test for the new software would come in late August. For now, he said, things are going well. "It appears it will work," he said.
Nolan said the software plan was to use a system called Power FAIDS purchased for about $450,000 from College Board Inc. to process financial aid this year, while CSU continues to try to get the PeopleSoft product working. Then, CSU will decide which software is best. The other will be kept in reserve.
"Power FAIDS has worked at 500 other colleges," Nolan said. When CSU bought the PeopleSoft merchandise, it was largely untested at colleges.
Not even half of CSUs expected 16,000 students have signed up for classes, which begin Aug. 28. For those who have, Nolan said many had received letters stating what financial aid they can expect. It is an improvement over this time last year. "Thats a good sign," he said.
Students have complained the last two years that they did not know for weeks what aid CSU would supply them and often information given to them conflicted with what the financial aid office reported to the schools bursar.
Nolan said key dates would be from Aug. 21-Sept. 1, when about 1,000 students are expected to register.
Cost of the PeopleSoft project, which was to integrate software applications on campus, will swell beyond $15 million. The school spent at least $11 million trying to work with the PeopleSoft equipment and will spend another $4.6 million in other fixes, including the purchase of Power FAIDS. As many as nine consultants are on campus at one time helping to implement the College Board product and train CSU workers.
The latest expenditure came from the districts reserve funds, which at the beginning of the 1999 fiscal year had $7.3 million, Jackson said.
As CSU gets ready for the new school year, it begins a search for another top administrator. Christine A. Jackson, vice president of finance and administration, leaves at the end of the month. Jackson, with CSU since 1994, will become vice chancellor of business finance at the University of Nebraskas main campus in Lincoln.
During the last school year, CSU reassigned Harold L. Allen, its provost, to a senior vice president position. James Frederick Gage, vice provost for information technology, headed for West Chester University and Suzanne Carlson, the financial aid director, was replaced.
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