Students face business holds and close-outs

By Lauren Reilly and Kristen Cata
December 4, 2003

Angelina Wagner

Banner creates confusion

Business holds due to unpaid bills faced 700 students as they prepared for registration. Students have blamed the offices involved. The staff in those offices blamed the new computer system. The Cabrini One computer system allows all students to see before registering if they have unpaid bills.

Joseph Mackie, a sophomore business administration major, said that some of the problems are due to a lack of communication between the business and financial aid offices. “Their customer service is horrible,” Mackie said. Earlier this semester, Mackie had trouble clearing up an unexplainable balance and although it did not affect his registration, he sympathizes with those who are currently trying to straighten out their finances. “It’s a pain to have to walk back and fourth between the two offices,” Mackie said.

Linda Ross, an office assistant in the financial aid office, said that problems can be attributed to the new Banner computer record system. She said that unlike the AS400, the system Cabrini previously used, updates are not automatically made and that both the business and financial aid offices will not be aware of any problems with a balance unless it is brought to their attention by a student’s inquiry. She also believes that the staff is not familiar enough with the program, which leads to more confusion. “We always could use more training,” Ross said.

Jan Fogle, the cash receipts coordinator of the business office, agreed with Ross. The new Banner system was implemented in July, which did not leave the staff much time to learn how to properly operate it for the start of the new semester in August. “It’s cumbersome. Anything that used to take us five minutes now takes half an hour,” Fogle said.

Barbara DeStefano, an accounts receivable assistant in the business office, said that she believes the problems are a result of several factors that are unavoidable. DeStefano said that not all personnel have been efficiently trained in the Banner system and that what they do know is what they’ve learned from each other within their departments. “We’re not aware of all its functions and we’re doing a lot of it manually,” DeStefano said. She speculates that there are additional inaccuracies with students’ financial and registration information due to this manual entry.

Although staff blamed the Banner system, Bebe Daily, the senior system administrator who trained staff in its use, said otherwise. “All offices have had training,” Daily said. “There is a request system in place so if they have a problem they can get help.” Daily emphasized that it is the responsibility of the student to be up to date on their financial records, especially since they can be viewed through Cabrini One.

Registration causes frustration

Many second semester juniors are running into a problem trying to get into SEM 300 classes. The acting assistant registrar Camille Tinney said, “A lot of them, depending on the topic of the course, want certain instructors, so they fill up fairly quickly.” Seminar classes are designed to be smaller, “Seminars should only have 18 students and they’ll go to 20 and a few are a little over enrolled with 22 students,” Tinney said. Tinney recommends that students come with back-up courses in case their first choices are filled. “We still take the time and see what we can do to help switch and find another class that will fit their schedule.”

Freshmen run into problems every year concerning getting into the classes they want to take. Freshmen register the last two days scheduled for registering and their classes are often filled up. Freshmen Laura Polvinale said, “Some of my classes were filled, but it was OK because I had already had some of the teachers and they could sign me in.”

In the future the office of the registrar hopes to have students registering for classes through the new Banner system. “You will meet with your adviser and there will be some kind of format set up so that we know that your adviser is approving the classes you register for,” Tinney said.

Posted to the web by Angelina Wagner

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Lauren Reilly and Kristen Cata

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