Lighten your Higher Education admin load: Part Two
Who's paying your student fee? Tracking sponsor funding in Oracle Accounts Receivable.
By Jennifer Tavano-Gallacher
VP Higher Education at Inoapps
One of the truly unique aspects of Higher Education is that many of its customers don’t pay their bills—and nor are they expected to.
Instead, another organization pays. Precise numbers vary by institution, but approximately 85% of all students have all or part of their fees paid by a third party. Whether that’s the Student Loans Company (SLC), the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS), the National Health Service (NHS), another country, embassy, business… often the institution is collecting from someone other than the person incurring the fee.
A complicated situation
This creates complexity, and the scale of the financial sponsorship means that a number of business processes are needed to manage that complexity. Processes like methods to:
- Record the relationship between student and sponsor
- Identify the right proportion of the student fees the sponsor is paying
- Invoice the sponsor
- Ensure the funds collected from the sponsor are tied back to the student’s original account
That's not to mention the many sub processes to address changes to the student's fees, how those impact the funder—and what happens when the sponsor doesn't pay.
You can see this is quickly becoming quite complicated, and this is something that few Enterprise Resource Planning/Accounts Receivable (AR) packages address, as these unusual requirements don’t apply to other sectors.
Enter Inoapps Student Funding
To better support our Higher Education customers, Inoapps has developed a solution that addresses these challenges. Inoapps Student Funding is an application that seamlessly integrates with Oracle Fusion AR to support the management of sponsored students.
Here’s how it works:
- Inoapps Student Funding sits in the middle of the integration between the Student Information System and the Fusion application.
- It captures the information in the Student System relating to who is funding the student, which fees are covered (e.g. tuition or accommodation), and the percentage of the funding.
- Based on this information, it generates additional transactions that essentially move the debt from the student’s account to the sponsor’s account.
- These additional transactions are used to update the student and sponsor accounts so that both have an up to date balance ready to be managed by the Oracle AR module.
The information detailing what has been transferred is then maintained in the Inoapps Student Funding application so that future changes to the student’s account balance can be used to trigger adjustments to the sponsor’s account balance. For example, if the student receives a refund, the sponsor account will show as being credited.
The tool has also been built to accept remittance files from large government funders in order to quickly identify which students haven’t been paid for by their sponsor. This means the Higher Education admin team can quickly spot any issues with students whose data is preventing payment, or cancel the sponsor relationship and reinstate liability on the student’s account where appropriate.
If the above sounds fiddly and technical, that’s because it is. And in a way, that’s the point. Inoapps Student Funding does the fiddly stuff—all the extra transactions, the tracking, the reconciliation—meaning admin staff don’t have to. From their perspective, what they see is a transparent set of transactions on both student and sponsor accounts and a reconciliation report. Much of the manual work is removed—which is especially important during peak periods like student registration when fee related inquiries tend to increase. This is precisely when staff should be focused on serving customers, rather than making manual account adjustments.
Students and sponsors also get a clearer view of transactions posted to their account in a timelier manner. This in turn helps reduce the number of queries coming through to the team from students and sponsors, as the reason for debt movement is much clearer.
A fusion that’s fit for purpose
Inoapps Student Funding reduces manual work and increases the information available to key stakeholders by supporting a process that is unique to the Higher Education sector. And it does that using the familiar Oracle tool set, which provides a single user experience. It’s also a fine example of what can be done when you have an organization that’s expert in all the products Oracle has to offer, and also really understands the challenges faced by Higher Education institutions.
Reach out if you’d like to chat about how our Student Funding solution would integrate into your Oracle AR module, or to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your Higher Education Oracle implementation.