Completed project: COMPASS Scholarship Selection and Awarding Process

Primary UITS contact: Julie Parmenter

Note: For ongoing support of the COMPASS system, contact Todd Neal.

Completed: December 4, 2012

Original problem description: Currently, scholarships are awarded by different campuses and departments using a number of diverse systems which are difficult for students to find and hard for departments to administer. Fiscal reporting often occurs long after the awarding period. The ramifications of this are that some exceptional students are not receiving scholarships for which they are eligible. It also implies that some exceptional students do not attend or remain at IU due to the lack of scholarship funding. Also, some donated funding is improperly utilized or goes unutilized. The other impact is that the data is not available for proper reporting, so further decisions about student usage or financial impacts are not possible.

Outcome: Upon completion, the COMPASS system will process all varieties of scholarships for students on all IU campuses. With the completion of each phase of this project, administrators will be able to award and manage scholarships with greater ease from one central system. They will be able to award scholarships to more students and be able to more effectively report to donors. Students will be able to apply for scholarships without difficulty from one central location. The result is that more scholarships will be awarded, with the ultimate result being better attraction and retention of IU's most outstanding students.

Phases that have been implemented:

Automatic Scholarship Awarding was implemented in August, 2008. This phase automatically awards some specific merit-based academic scholarships. These scholarships are awarded at the time of admission to students who meet certain selection criteria, and all of them are renewable for four years of study at IU. This process has two main components:

  • Initial review and awarding at the time the admission decision is made
  • Updated awarding after admission, triggered by receipt of new academic or test score information

This phase also included an administrative interface to allow the administrators to update award criteria, add new awards, turn off awards, and view the status of students who had already been evaluated.

Student Scholarship Application (Campus-wide) was the implementation of a student self-service scholarship application which was used by the IU Foundation in partnership with the campuses. Implemented in 2009, the application is open to all students on all campuses for IU Foundation awards and several for campus-specific scholarships. The application is dynamic, based on IU Foundation and campus-level requirements. The application allows for customization of instructional text, questions, essays, and other optional criteria. It also allows for the online request and submission of recommendation letters and the use of a student guest account. The administrative user interface for this phase allows for manual submission of scholarship applications, the ability to change their status from saved to submitted and vice versa, and to print applications and recommendation letters for selected students as well as several other features. This process replaced an antiquated paper-based system, which required an intensive manual effort.

Selective Scholarship Application (SSA) was the implementation of a student selective scholarship application and the ability for departments to make decisions and recommend students for specific awards. Based on academic criteria at the time of admission, students are eligible to apply via an online application to specific awarding organizations. The application is dynamic and is based on programs to which the student is eligible to apply. Each program has unique requirements regarding essays and recommendations. The administrative user interface in this phase is used to manage department info, essay questions, eligibility criteria, and the sorting, processing, and awarding of student applications.

Usability testing has been conducted. The Compass management team contracted with the UITS Usability Lab to conduct formal usability testing against the new student facing application used for the SSA and the Campus-wide application (CWA). The SSA testing occurred from December 2009 through January 2010. The CWA testing occurred at the IUPUI campus during March 2010. The analysis is completed and changes have been made to the interface based on the study results.

Outstanding phases have been put on hold indefinitely

Scholarship Tracking Infrastructure consists of several initiatives. The first is an extension to the SIS item type table which will hold data elements that allow for tracking of:

  • Linkages to the IU Foundation system and to the FIS Chart of Accounts
  • Donor intent
  • Scholarship intent
  • Descriptive information and information about how to apply
  • Replacement of the archaic coding structure behind Keyword 3

This infrastructure will serve as a basis for a new eDoc that will be used to create new SIS item types, and will ensure that all of the elements are linked and created using the correct IU business rules.

It will also be used to populate a searchable website for students, parents, and administrators, so that it is possible to determine scholarships for which students will be eligible. This can be used not only as a mechanism to promote awarding but also as a student attraction and retention tool.

Lastly, this infrastructure allows for better auditing, awarding, and management of scholarship funds. Many scholarships today go unawarded because of confusion over funding and eligibility. This new structure makes it possible to link funding sources in IU Foundation, SIS, and the FIS; it also clarifies the donor and scholarship intent.

Awarding Organization interface for all populations: An Awarding Organization interface (also known as the "Slice and Dice" page) was created for Selective Scholarship Applicants so that student dossiers could be reviewed, selected, and awarded in one searchable interface. The first extension to this functionality is to build an Awarding Org interface for student applications that are submitted using the campus-based application. This will utilize much of the existing code and will not require an extensive effort. The next extension is to provide an Awarding Org page for students who did not submit an application. It will match students to potential scholarships based solely on SIS data and the criteria on the SIS item type. This component might be created in the DSS environment or using DSS data.

Milestones and status:

  • Automatic Scholarship date for live production and full awarding was August 1, 2008 for IU Bloomington. IUPUI usage began in August 2009.
  • The initial IU Foundation and campus-wide student application was implemented on January 29, 2009.
  • Selective Scholarship Application and backend processing was implemented in August 2009.
  • Usability changes and feature enhancements were implemented in August 2010.
  • Scholarship Tracking Infrastructure is currently on hold.
  • Final phases do not yet have a target date.

Comment process: Send comments to Julie Parmenter.

Benefits: This project will:

  • Provide an automated method for the awarding of IU scholarships
  • Allow students an easy scholarship application method
  • Allow a better method for tracking donor intention and funding
  • Provide for better attraction and retention of the most outstanding students

Risks: Each progressive phase relies on integration with other systems. The automatic scholarship processing was tightly coupled to SIS. The SSA processing relied on Onbase. Later phases pull in FIS and Foundation data.

Primary client: Students, departments, Enrollment Management and Financial Aid offices

Client impact: The implementation of COMPASS brings about a new way of doing business for many staff, which might require training.

Project team: The team is made up of the SIS Technical Team, Office of Enrollment Management, Financial Aid and Scholarship Officers on all campuses, IU Foundation Officers, and SES staff.

Governance: A committee representing all concerns and departments meets regularly. The SIS systems development manager is responsible for technical implementation.

This is document ayhg in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2017-05-16 11:17:06.

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