Custom-Built Solutions: Bringing State Work-Study Aid to Banner


August 01, 2019
Brett Bean

Utilizing Page Builder in the Financial Aid Office

Bringing State Work-Study Aid to Banner

Of the many work-study students at Gonzaga, a few hundred are within the state work-study pool, meaning their funding comes from The State of Washington as opposed to the Federal Government, like other work study students. For the Financial Aid Office, processing the aid for Federal work-study students is relatively simple, as there is already a system in place within Banner to do just that. However, for work-study students at the State level, no such system exists within Banner, making the process much more complicated.

In the past, the Financial Aid Office was forced to develop its system of processing state-level work-study aid. “[It was] a lot of external spreadsheets, some stuff in the system. It made it hard to have more than one person administer the program, because of how we had to keep track of it,” says Director of Financial Aid Sarah Everitt. Such a process was inelegant and time-consuming and came with a higher potential for clerical error than the federal work-study system within Banner.

MAKING MODULES

However, with the recent update to Banner Nine, ITS found the potential for an updated system. Page Builder, a new tool within Banner 9, allows for the creation of new modules within Banner. With Page Builder, users can now fill in the gaps of functionality they may encounter in their use of the Banner system. With no module for a state-level work-study aid, this was the perfect opportunity to test out Page Builder and help the Financial Aid Office.

“We saw this as an opportunity to assist our state work-study team with creating pages that will interact directly with Banner and eliminate the Excel spreadsheets and manual processes they were using,” says Project Manager Betsy Hooper. For Hooper, Page Builder was the perfect way to bring State work-study into Banner and tailor the module to the needs of the Financial Aid Office. “They got to define exactly what they wanted it to be.”

A NEW SOLUTION

For Everitt, the new system has gone a long way towards keeping state work-study administration from occupying too much of their department’s time and resources. “It’s less of an administrative burden, so we can do more things like expanding the program, finding and recruiting new employers, that sort of thing.”

Whereas the old system was a complicated and decentralized method of processing this aid, one that would be very difficult to teach to someone unfamiliar with it, the new system within Banner uses a variety of familiar tools, allowing others to step in and help lighten the load.

Utilizing Banner for state work-study brings their entire system onto a unified platform. “Not using spreadsheets allows for more transparency...and is more consistent with the rest of our processes,” Everitt says.

BUILDING THE FUTURE

With the success of ITS’ first foray into the new world of Page Builder, many are excited about the future of the new tool. “This was our first opportunity to use Page Builder as a tool on campus,” says Hooper, “and we look forward as an IT department to using it more as teams need functionality that doesn’t exist in Banner today.”

Increasing the elegance and efficiency of various tasks on campus is one of the primary goals of ITS, and by bringing more processes into their personalized Banner modules will certainly help accomplish that goal in new and exciting ways.