CES is model of efficiencySan Diego State University is one of 11 colleges and universities nationwide recognized by University Business magazine’s “Models of Efficiency” program, which recognizes innovative approaches for streamlining higher education operations through technology or business process improvements.

“Efficient business operations translate into better experiences for students and administrators alike, and the Models of Efficiency program aims to encourage schools to prioritize service,” said Tim Goral, editor-in-chief of University Business. “San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies stands out for developing a very effective solution to a challenging situation.”

The college, with an enrollment of 25,000 students, had been working with seven databases, three payment systems and no ‘live’ university student registration system. Further compounding the frustration of the multi-database system was the need to serve an increasing number of online students as well as on-site students.

Errors, redundancy and frustration abounded with the many disparate, noncommunicating systems, according to Bill Fornadel, the college’s associate dean. “We had more errors because of duplication than anything else and not being able to register students live compounded the problem and the tendency to be duplicative,” Fornadel said.

Faced with the urgent need to better serve students on multiple administrative processing fronts, the college considered purchasing a pre-packaged database, or purchasing and customizing a pre-packaged database, but ultimately decided to start from scratch and create a system that best suited the needs of the administration and students. The new system includes a registration, operations, business, and financial database and websites that allow students to immediately register for, pay for and confirm enrollment. The system also provides the administration with a single place to enter and display relevant course, program, and tuition information, eliminating the frustration and inconsistency of previous multiple systems.

The new system did more than simply consolidate data. It also merged functionality of a host of operational areas, including accounting, administration, cashiering, customer relations, marketing, facilities, finances and information technology. The improved functionality empowered staff across the college to engage in course design, admissions work, registration payments, publicity and more. The streamlined process allowed users to upload information into a single database, reducing staff effort, time, and errors.

“It’s terrific that our overhaul of the system has worked out so seamlessly,” said Fornadel, “and it’s gratifying to be recognized as a Model of Efficiency.”

Models of Efficiency is sponsored by Higher One, a leading company focused on helping college business offices manage operations and provide enhanced service to students. Through a full array of services from refunds, payments, electronic billing, payment plans and more, Higher One works closely with colleges and universities to ensure students receive financial aid refunds quickly, pay tuition and bills online, make on-campus and community purchases, and learn the basics of financial management.

University Business is a leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 46,000 leaders who manage offices such as enrollment, technology, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at www.universitybusiness.com.