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, 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, 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.
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.