Fees, Funds and Finance (FFF) is one strand of the SIS programme that goes across the entire student lifecycle. Kicking in at the applications stage, it covers
- the creation and management of fee setting
- fee collecting
- management of student debt
- studentships and scholarships management
- interfaces to finance systems
- student payment systems
- Student Loans Company processes
As we roll out FFF through the project, our aim is to ensure that the benefits for both staff and students are realised.
One of the first things we did was to ensure the requisite elements were ready for Admissions Phase1 going live last Autumn. This was for all UCAS undergraduates applying to study here. Tuition fees for UCAS undergraduate students are now all on SITS and our offer letters to applicants are using that data.
We’ve created a Funding Predictor within our applicant portal so applicants can get a feel for what scholarships and studentships might be available to them. Also new for the admissions stage is the way we can now manage data around student sponsorships earlier than ever before. Usually relevant for overseas or postgraduate students, new applicants can provide a sponsor’s letter to Student Financial Services and we can get it on the system before the student arrives.
What’s next, for Phase 2?
In the next phase we’ll be introducing a Fee Discount Tool. This will be used by faculty teams to better coordinate the discounts they offer to incentivise high calibre students to apply for certain courses, especially at postgraduate level.
Funding nominations, where a member of staff can log a studentship or scholarship against a student via a two-stage approval process will be more visible across the board for staff to see which students have been nominated and which funds have been allocated.
Tuition fee deposits will be trackable and visible to staff and associated to the relevant student’s account.
Once their financial account is online the student will be able to see their credit, debit, any overpayments, any loans from the Hardship Fund and so on. As we develop the Student Record strand (see previous post) the FFF strand will be needed to support it to
- Generate fees
- Allow students to pay online
- Reschedule debt into instalments
- Capture the 50% deposit needed to register
The FFF strand also underpins the work carried out by our Ask HU physical cash desk, where students come to pay for some things and the system will log any activity or payments on to individual student records.
So there really are benefits all round with this improved student financial management tool.
Students will benefit by being able to manage their university-related finances on line and have an accurate picture, at any time, of their financial status. They’ll also have improved access to information about funds, such as eligibility and timelines.
Staff will find it easier having all the required financial information in one place and having a single view of the student’s financial status. It will also be faster and easier for staff to access financial data and there will be less paperwork to produce and process.
As a University we’ll be able to produce better quality management information, improved reporting for forecasting, and improved quality of data and information for regulatory reporting.