We have replaced WashU’s aging, homegrown Student Assistance Record system, or STAR, with new solutions that support our ability to attract talented students through the use of strategic financial aid.  

STAR, which manages a variety of functions for the university’s Student Financial Services office (SFS), grew fragile and increasingly difficult to update to meet evolving federal regulations. The system’s complexity also limited SFS’s ability to track students’ progress and support their success at the university.

As part of the STAR replacement, we have implemented PowerFAIDS to manage financial aid administration for Danforth undergraduate, graduate and law students. PowerFAIDS manages all aspects of the financial aid process, including applications, disbursements, award distribution and federal work study.

The Medical School currently uses a separate instance of PowerFAIDS. This project did not affect or integrate with the Medical School’s PowerFAIDS’s system.  

Jump To: Goals | Impacted Systems | Timeline | Leadership

Connection to Workday Student

We are not turning on Workday Student’s full financial aid functionality as Workday does not support WashU’s methodology for administering financial aid.

PowerFAIDS will integrate with Workday Student to ensure processes related to student financials and other areas run smoothly within Workday.

Project Goals

Over the long-term, the implementation of PowerFAIDS on the Danforth Campus will:

  • Improve our ability to identify and track academic and non-academic issues impacting a student’s academic performance and ultimate success at WashU
  • Improve communication among students, parents, advisors and faculty related to student progress
  • Make it easier to comply with federal and state regulations related to financial aid
  • Reduce manual work to administer financial aid and manage its supporting systems
  • Make it easier to assess impacts of financial aid policies and programs
  • Support our efforts to be more strategic and intentional in how we recruit and serve students

Impacted Systems

PowerFAIDS replaced some, but not all, of STAR’s functionality. See below for details on the impact of STAR’s retirement on university systems.

STAR

STAR will be decommissioned in the first quarter of 2022 after processing for the academic year 2020-21 is complete.

Partners in Education with Parents (PEP)

PEP is a homegrown application housed within STAR. The PEP application will be rewritten and implemented in the first quarter of 2022.

KnowledgeLake / SharePoint Imaging Solution

KL/SP Imaging Solution will be archived for reference, and a different imaging solution with the integrated into the new system that will be used going forward.

MyFAAccess

The MyFAAccess student portal will remain in place until PowerFAIDS/NetPartners is operational. Students will use this portal to access their 2020-21 awards. We are developing a plan for archiving MyFAAccess data.

SFS Website

The SFS website has been updated to route students to the appropriate new systems and sites.

Slate

Slate integrated with PowerFAIDS to share applicant data. Applicants will view financial aid information in the Slate portal.

WebFOCUS

WebFOCUS was retired. PowerFAIDS should meet SFS’s operational and audit reporting needs. The PowerFAIDS project team and SFS are working on a reporting gap analysis to identify reports that can’t be met through PowerFAIDS and potential solutions. 

Cognos

STAR no longer feeds data to Cognos after summer 2021.

IdM

Users log in to PowerFAIDS using WashU’s single sign on (SSO) solution, i.e. WUSTL Key login.

Federal Work Study Integrations

Federal Work Study award data has been sent to Workday to ensure that the student is eligible for work study and can be paid through Workday payroll. The Federal Work Study Eligibility and Award integration went go live with the Workday HCM/FIN go-live. The Federal Work Study Earnings data integration from Workday HCM/FIN to PowerFAIDS went live in fall 2021.

Timeline

Phase 1: March – Oct. 2020 (complete)

Phase 1 launched the PowerFAIDS system for initial processing of incoming students for academic year 2021-2022 in PowerFAIDS.

Phase 2: Oct. 2020 – Nov. 2021 (complete)

Phase 2 included:

  • Migrating current students (past 4 years of history from STAR) to PowerFAIDS
  • Awarding returning undergraduates in PowerFAIDS and awarding graduate students in PowerFAIDS.
  • Establishing integrations and setting up PowerFAIDS configurations:
    • Between PowerFAIDS and Student Accounting for disbursement and reconciliation data, which will go live in May 2021
    • Between PowerFAIDS and Student Accounting for anticipated aid data, which will go live in June 2021
    • Between PowerFAIDS and Workday HCM/Finance for federal work study eligibility and award data which will go live in July 2021
    • Between PowerFAIDS and Workday HCM/Finance for federal work study earnings, which will go live in fall 2021
  • STAR decommissioning planning
  • SFS reporting gap analysis
  • Completing system selection for the Donated Funds/Scholarship Matching process that currently runs through STAR
Who will use STAR vs. PowerFAIDS during the transition?

Once live, all Danforth academic and administrative units must use PowerFAIDS to send award letters and track financial aid status for university reporting purposes. Departments that use supplemental admissions systems may continue to use them. Slate is the only admissions system that will integrate with PowerFAIDS.

Academic Year 2020-21

New undergraduate day students already receiving aid will continue to use the Slate Financial Aid Portal for the 2020-21 school year, while returning students will continue to use My FAAccess (STAR).

Academic Year 2021-22

SFS is currently using PowerFAIDS to process applicants for the 2021-22 academic year. Additionally, both current and newly matriculated students applying for financial aid for the 2021-22 academic year will use NetPartner, the web version of PowerFAIDS, for financial aid-related activities.

Project Leadership

A Steering Committee consisting of representatives from key stakeholder groups provides oversight to the PowerFAIDS implementation and STAR retirement project. This group advises on system design, training, decisions and impacts and serves as champions for the project within their units.

Project Sponsor

Mike Runiewicz, Assistant Vice Provost & Director of Student Financial Services

Steering Committee Members

Project Sponsor
Mike Runiewicz, Assistant Vice Provost & Director of Student Financial Services

Enterprise Applications Student Representative
Raji Lakshmanan, Director for Enterprise Applications

Enterprise Applications Technical Representative
Josh Edwards, Director for Enterprise Applications

Graduate Program Representative
Carrie Burns, Director of Financial Aid and Student Life

Student Accounting Representative
Lois Lebert, Director of Accounting Operations

Treasury Representative
Kelly Lively, Manager of Student and Parent Loan Programs

Undergraduate Admissions Representative
Kim Selle, Senior Director for Administration, Admissions & Aid

Workday Student Representative
Beth Lee, Workday Student Project Director

Workday Student Financial Representative
Jeff Herman, Workday Student Financial Aid Functional Lead

Ex Officio Members

Project Manager
Jane Sterling, IT Project Manager

Functional Lead (Phase 1)
Valerie Jensen, Deputy Director for Student Financial Services

Functional Lead (Phase 2)
Dena Johnson, System & Integration Specialist