Reports, Reports, and More Reports
Every college or university student financial aid office produces reports—tons of them—specific to their particular institution. However, some reports are common to all. One is the annual FISAP (Fiscal Operations Reports and Application to Participate), which summarizes data for the just-completed award year and keeps a financial aid office eligible for federal funding, explains Mary Hillstrom, assistant director of operations for the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Office of Student Financial Aid. The university has 13 campuses; 12 have implemented Oracle PeopleSoft.
Although the names differ, student financial aid offices everywhere produce “exception reports.” These alert financial aid counselors to information missing in a student’s financial aid application and what else the counselor needs to do. Depending on the time of year and institution, these could be run several times daily.
All institutions must ensure they’re not over- or under-committing their financial aid funds. The California State University system office accomplishes this through the Fund Management Report, shares Dean Kulju, director of student financial aid services and programs. When activity’s high, a campus might run this report weekly or monthly when activity slows.
The administrators on each campus also want to know who has received aid and how much each student received. CSU financial aid officers will run quality control reports to ensure that (among other things) the right students were selected and the right amounts were given, explains Kulju.
Hillstrom says their campuses are required to report annually to the administration via the Central Data Report (CDR). This contains data from other departments, including financial aid offices, which report on who is receiving financial aid, the demographics of that population, and if they’re Wisconsin or out-of-state residents. Transfer students receiving financial aid are tracked via the Transfer Monetary Report, which tells the university how much aid transfer students received at their previous schools and calculates the amount they should still receive.