Google Apps dropping support for some browsers August 1

Google recently announced that they'll be dropping Google Apps support for older browsers on August 1:

As of August 1st, we will discontinue support for the following browsers and their predecessors: Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, and Safari 3. In these older browsers you may have trouble using certain features in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites, and eventually these apps may stop working entirely.

If there's one thing we always jump up and down about, it's that you should keep your browser updated. Browser updates improve security and functionality, and as more and more of our work moves to the web, this is more and more of a crucial issue. You could say we're pleased with Google's decision in this area because of the incremental improvement it may help bring to the web as a whole.

So, if you're using Google Apps for Education (with which we integrate, in case you didn't know), you'll need to make sure you're running an up-to-date version of a supported browser on August 1. That's about seven weeks away! To give you a leg up:

(Since we're giving you a leg up, we're not providing a link to download Internet Explorer... though we do support IE8 and IE9)

Our new Financial Aid features

In the wee hours of Wednesday, June 8, we released our overhaul of Populi Financial Aid into the wild after months of development, testing, and refinement. The new features (together with the U.S. Department of Ed's proprietary EdExpress software) will let your Financial Aid office handle the entire aid process—everything from importing ISIRs to managing aid applications to batch disbursement of funds. We previewed the new stuff in some recent posts; here's a summary of what we just released:

Navigation overhaul

All of Populi Financial has been moved over to the new tab-based layout, which clarifies the navigation (and works better on mobile devices).

Aid applications

We built out aid applications so your aid office can track FAFSA data for each applicant, attach files to applications, and interact with student applicants from the application or via email. Students can upload files, ask questions, and accept or decline awards.

ISIRs imports

The new ISIRs importer converts the gobbledygook text file into all kinds of useful information for your school. FAFSA data automatically creates aid applications. Updated files plug new data right into existing apps. You can even create new Prospects if you receive an ISIRs file for someone you haven't heard of before.

New workflows and reports

Use Populi Financial Aid to track Federal Work Study awards. Create batch disbursements and aid refunds. Automate your disbursement schedules for the entire aid year. A new academic progress report lets you find students in trouble. Existing reports have been combined and redesigned to give you a wider, more comprehensive look at your school's Financial Aid data.

Other stuff

As usual, we took the opportunity to work in some bugfixes and performance improvements. We've made some architecture changes that will enable us to do a lot of cool things with future development.

And Financial Aid now has its own forum in the Populi help desk.

Coming Soon: a refresh for Populi Financial Aid

Some big updates are coming to Populi Financial in a few weeks. In addition to moving Financial over to our simpler, cleaner layout (which works great on mobile devices), we're expanding Populi's Financial Aid capabilities. Soon, you'll be able to:

  • Download ISIRs and automatically integrate the wealth of information they collect about prospects, students, and their parents
  • Manage financial aid awards at the year level
  • Automate batch disbursements at the Academic Term level
  • Automatically calculate Pell awards
  • Let students and prospects view and interact with their financial aid applications
  • Let students and prospects accept and decline awards online

Here's an overview of what's coming to Populi Financial:

Billing & Accounting

No big surprises in Billing and Accounting—we're simply updating them to the tabbed layout.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid, on the other hand, will look quite different.

Currently, Financial Aid is organized under Current (which shows Alerts, Disbursements, and Aid Applications), Reporting (which shows Aid by Year/Term, Disbursements, and 1098-Ts), and Settings (Application Components and Award Types). This reflects our earlier approach to Financial Aid as, primarily, as simply a way to pay down student balances in Billing.

After the upcoming release, Financial Aid will be organized under Awards, Aid Applications, Reporting, and Settings.


The new Awards tab will track awarded aid by year and student (effectively replacing the old Aid by Year and Aid by Term reports). It will also give you more useful tools for tracking Disbursements (including aid refunds) and enable Batch processing for awards and refunds.

Aid Applications

Aid Applications, once covered by a single report, now get a dedicated tab. In addition to the Aid Applications tracking tool, there's a new interface for Application Questions, which lets your Financial Aid staff interact with students puzzling over parts of their application.


In Reporting, you'll find Academic Progress and 1098-Ts. Academic Progress will replace Financial Aid Alerts and give you filtering tools to quickly find any students who've run afoul of any GPA or Credits/Hours requirements. 1098-Ts, of course, will be as simple as ever, with some improvements to how it collects and reports the relevant data.


Settings will be expanded. In addition to Application Components and Award Types , you'll be able to create Aid Classifications and Aid Year Schedules. Aid Classifications are "templates" which automatically add certain data and application components to your financial aid applicants. Aid Year Schedules let you set up batch disbursements set up for your Academic Years, allowing different schedules by Classification and Award Type.

Student Profiles

To accommodate the new functionality, we're giving the Financial tab on student profiles a new Financial Aid tab (and making some according changes on By Term). The new tab is devoted to Financial Aid information and summarizes Awards and Applications by year. It lets view all aspects of the student's (or prospect's!) aid application, manually manage disbursements,  and even print award letters. Students can come here to interact with their financial aid application—to ask questions, review their app, and accept or decline awards.

Of course, we're still hard at work on the new features, and so some of what's pictured here may change. But you get the general idea—soon you'll be able to use Populi (together with proprietary FSA* software like EDExpress) to manage the entire Financial Aid process for your students, from application all the way to disbursement.

We'll be following up with some more posts and some videos explaining the new workflows as we count down to the release.

*That is, Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.

Library Links

We released Library Links earlier this week. Now you can add organized lists of useful links and make them available to all your patrons. Very simple and, judging by our users' response to it thus far, very useful.

Populi Library

We're pleased to announce that we just released Populi Library to all our customers.

Populi Library is simple, lightweight library software designed with small colleges in mind. It lets you manage resources for multiple libraries and lets your patrons—students, faculty, staff, and others—find those resources, place holds, make recommendations, and leave reviews.

Multiple Libraries

Many schools, in addition to their main library, let their students access faculty and other libraries. Populi Library lets you manage as many libraries as you have and gives each Library the same features and abilities as the others. By treating each library as distinct but uniting them through one central, web-based point of entry, Populi Library makes things like advanced searching and Inter-library loans simple for staff and patron alike.


Every one of your library patrons—whether students, faculty, staff, or friends of the school—gets a library profile. Library profiles show a complete circulation history, so it's easy to see what resources anyone has on hold, checked out, or overdue. They also collect all of the Patron's reviews and recommendations. Reviews also feed into the Activity Feed on the Profile, so if a student is following a professor, the student will see a feed of that prof's reviews and recommendations.

Loan Policies and Fines

Populi Library tracks multiple loan policies for different libraries, resources, and patron types. If one of your patrons incurs a fine—for an overdue book or a lost resource—Library automatically keeps the tab and lets your patrons pay what they owe right at the counter.


Most Library searches are slow, dreary affairs. But Populi Library is search-centric and made to help you find things quickly. Fast and forgiving, it returns relevant results even if you misspell a search term. Search tools include a basic search field, an advanced search that lets you specify particular resource data, and an alphabetical subject search.

Resources and Circulation

Add new resources to your library just by typing or scanning a barcode, ISBN, ASIN, or other accepted code. Populi Library instantly retrieves basic resource information—title, author, cover image, and more—from or Open Library. Resource circulation puts all active loans, transits, and holds front and center so you always know what is where.

Keeping it Simple

We approached Populi Library the way we approach everything: by focusing on simplicity and ease of use. Your patrons need a simple way to search your catalog and find resources. You need an easy way to manage your collections, communicate with your patrons, stay on top of loans, and track fines. And that's just what Populi Library does.

Getting Started with Populi Library

To get started with Populi Library, submit a help request to let us know you're interested. We'll get to work on importing your MARC records, setting up your loan policies, and training your Library staff.