Banner System Gives Trouble to Spring 2012 Graduates

SC Staff Writer

As each undergraduate goes up to the podium to receive their diplomas, some will start their long awaited careers while others will choose to further their education through graduate school. This higher level of education takes more hard work and responsibility, and it all begins with sending in transcripts to graduate schools.

Beginning in the Fall 2011, those planning on attending graduate school started filling out their requests for transcripts to be sent out to the schools of their choice. Unfortunately, most of them were getting sent to the wrong schools or never arrived at all.

“ESU actually sent my transcripts to the wrong location, and I had to spend hours waiting on the phone with ESU’s Enrollment Services so that they could resend them to the right address,” says former ESU student, Faith Parker.

What could be causing this frustration with the graduate transcripts?

This frustration is from the new student information system—the Banner system—which replaced the Legacy system.  All of ESU, from faculty to student body, has thought this new system to be an eyesore for the past year, but, in some ways, it’s better than the old Legacy system.

“The Banner system is better functionally,” says Kizzy Morris, Director for the Center for Enrollment Services/Registrar. “Students didn’t have the access to update their information in the past, but now they can do their financial aid online, pay their tuition bill, etc.”

Students didn’t have this luxury with Legacy, where, after 30 years, it became outdated and couldn’t run properly.  When the time came to rethink the system, the Banner system came in.
With all of the updating through Banner, why was there such a hassle with graduate students’ transcripts earlier in the year?

The problem originated from transferring 100,000 student’s records from the Legacy system to the Banner system.   A lot of time and effort went into doing this over the course of last year, making sure every student’s address, grades, and billing information were converted into the new system correctly. Those who were graduating or did graduate were the first ones to have all of their records transferred to the Banner system, followed by the rest of the student body.

Unfortunately, one student was having terrible luck with her transcripts being sent out: “I apparently owed three dollars to the library and they never told me. They never informed me that they couldn’t send my transcripts, and I almost got denied to my master’s program. Without that, I wouldn’t have gotten into a PhD program. When I called and waited an hour on the phone, they wouldn’t accept my credit card. I had to find someone to run to Enrollment Services and give them three dollars. I was in North Carolina at the time. And, it took them another four days to send it,” says ESU student, Angela Celeste.

Those working in the Enrollment Services know different schools have different deadlines, and the tracking mechanism that is used with the paper transcripts doesn’t record when the transcript was received. This caused much tension from the students and faculty. If a student’s transcript was lost or sent to the wrong school, then it would have to be resent at no charge, since the student already paid the required five dollars.

In Pennsylvania alone, there are seven universities that use the Banner system, and in the last two years, four of them have transferred over to this new system.

ESU is not alone in dealing with the problems with Banner.  In fact, ESU has been given a lot of help from these other universities who are also trying to make the new system a success.

“By the Fall 2012, we want the transcripts to be done online. The student fills out the application, they come down to us, we see the requests sent to the student, and then we send the transcripts out,” says Morris.

Basically, when a student wants to send out their graduate transcripts or any other transcript, Enrollment Services wants to have everything done electronically, where all the paperwork is sent to the recipient automatically and the student receives an e-mail saying that the other school got all the information requested, instead of waiting for days at a time to see if their transcripts were sent out on time.

ESU has gone through a lot of changes this year, but as each year passes, the Banner system will hopefully not be such a frustration to faculty and students, but rather a luxury where everything can run smoothly.

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