Financial Aid Integration

Overview

Online (Re)Enrollment is often the time when schools choose to award Financial Aid. The purpose of this article is to inform schools of the many Financial Aid and Online (Re)Enrollment configuration options. Each school should determine what workflow and elements of Financial Aid functionality will meet its needs. It is strongly recommended that schools speak with their Veracross Account Manager if they wish to implement any of the below.

Factors affecting Financial Aid workflow at the time of Online (Re)Enrollment include whether:

  • Financial Aid award amounts and recipients are determined before ORE/OE or after ORE/OE.
  • The school uses the Veracross Financial Aid module.
  • Financial Aid requests are known prior to ORE/OE or gathered during the ORE/OE process.
  • Schools want to lock contracts from parental editing until Financial Aid Awards are determined.
  • Schools use an outside service to help determine Financial Aid Awards.

All schools have standard functionality available to them for integrating Financial Aid with Online (Re)Enrollment. However, there are citations throughout this article enumerating additional functionality available for schools who also use the Financial Aid Module.

Available Workflow Components

The following table represents a version of Financial Aid and Online (Re)Enrollment integration. This includes all possible options. Schools should decide which of these options are right for their unique situations. This workflow also assumes that FA award amounts will be determined beforeORE/OE is complete and therefore will be reflected in the amount section on the contract. However, if schools don’t know final FA award amounts at the time of ORE/OE, they can either:

  • Wait to begin ORE/OE until FA Award amounts are determined.
  • Submit a contract amendment after the FA amount has been awarded
  • Reset the contract for the parent to complete again after the FA amount has been awarded.
Financial Aid Request
Parents request Financial Aid
Requests for Financial Aid are communicated at the time of Online (Re)Enrollment through the Enrollment Intentions Form. Parents can select a “Yes” or “No” option for “Requesting Financial Aid” for each (re)enrolling child. The parents’ indication will automatically complete the “Financial Aid Intention Indicated” checklist item per child. It will also mark the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item as required.The following must be configured to allow parents to indicate they are requesting financial aid during the ORE/OE process:


  1. The Financial Aid homepage component must be enabled, with a link to the Enrollment Intentions Form that includes the “Requesting Financial Aid” question.
  2. An enrollment checklist item with the system type “Financial Aid Intention Indicated” must be marked required.
  3. An enrollment checklist item with the system type “Financial Aid Complete” should be added and marked as a “Contract Pre-Requisite”.

Financial Aid Module Adds the Following
A Financial Aid Application record will be created at the time the parent selects “Yes” to the “Requesting Financial Aid” question. Schools may use the FA Application record to track all aspects the award process. See the Financial Aid Process Management article for more details.

Financial Aid Application Complete
Parents submit all necessary financial aid information to be considered for FA award.
All information required to be considered for Financial Aid is submitted by parents. Outside of ORE/OE, schools will then review FA applications.During this time the contract can be locked to keep parents from editing or signing the contract until FA awards are determined. This is accomplished using the “Financial Aid Complete” enrollment checklist item. As long as the checklist item is marked “Contract Pre-Requisite” the contract will remain locked from editing. Parents may still be able to view the contract in read-only form. See Contract Lock-Out Workflow for more on this topic.
Financial Aid Awards Determined
Financial Aid award amounts are determined by the school
The school makes Financial Aid award decisions and applies awards as contract amounts. Contracts are opened for editing and signing by marking the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item complete.The following must be configured in order to reflect Financial Aid award amounts on the contract:


  1. A Fee Type with the system type ore:fee:discount:fa or ore:tuition:discount:fa must be added.
  2. A financial aid award catalog/amount item must be added and linked with the appropriate fee type (above) to display the amount on the contract.

Financial Aid Module Adds the Following
FA award amounts can be imported onto the Person Enrollment record (and therefore, the contract) using the “Import FA Amount” procedure. See the Connections with Financial Aid Module section for more details.

Financial Aid Awards Distributed
Financial Aid award letters are sent to selected families by the school.
The school mails or emails Financial Aid decision letters to the families who received financial aid.


Financial Aid Module Adds the Following
A Financial Aid Decision Letter document can be made available for each student who applied for financial aid. See the Connections with Financial Aid Module section for more details.

Contract Signed
Parent signs the contract
Parents are presented with the final contract amount with their Financial Aid award reflected as a discount item. The contract is finalized when the parent selects their desired payment plan and signs the contract.


Note
If Financial Aid amounts are not known until after the ORE/OE process is complete, once Financial Aid is known a textual contract amendment can be added (then signed by parents) which would communicate the revised tuition amounts OR contracts can be reset on a per child basis, and the parent can resign the contract.

Configuration Options

Schools may work with their Account Manager to configure the necessary Financial Aid components needed for integration with Online (Re)Enrollment. There are three primary areas of configuration.

  1. Financial Aid Enrollment Checklist Items
    Enrollment checklist items determine what each student must complete in order to be considered (re)enrolled at the school. Schools can enable two Financial Aid related checklist items to track students’ progress through the FA process.
  2. Financial Aid Enrollment Homepage Components
    Enrollment homepage components allow parents to update and view their Financial Aid status. Schools can decide whether to gather financial aid requests, display the financial aid status, or display the financial aid letter.
  3. Contract Lock-Out Workflow
    Schools may define a specific workflow for when parents are able to edit the contract using the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item.

Financial Aid Enrollment Checklist Items

There are two financial aid related enrollment checklist items that may be used to track the family’s progress through Financial Aid during ORE/OE. These checklist items may be marked as required to complete and also set as contract pre-requisites to ensure parents enter all Financial Aid related information before they can be considered for (re)enrollment and edit the contract.

Financial Aid Intention Indicated

The “Financial Aid Intention Indicated” system checklist item indicates that a request for Financial Aid has been made for the child. When a parent selects the “Yes” option on the Enrollment Intentions Form, this checklist item is marked complete. For schools with the Financial Aid module, this will also create a financial aid application record for the child if one does not exist already.

Financial Aid Complete

The “Financial Aid Complete” system checklist item indicates that all information required to be considered for Financial Aid has been completed by the (re)enrolling family. When all FA information is completed, the school can manually mark the item complete.

This checklist item can also be used to lock parents from editing the contract until FA is awarded. To lock a contract from being edited the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item must be marked as a “Contract Pre-Requisite.”

Note: if this checklist item is used in conjunction with the “Financial Aid Intention Indicated” checklist item, it will automatically be marked “required” when parents select their FA intention through the Enrollment Intentions Form.

Enrollment Homepage Components

There are several possibilities for configuring the Financial Aid homepage component on the Online (Re)Enrollment Homepage.

Financial Aid Intention

To capture the family’s financial aid request, the ‘Financial Aid’ homepage component can be enabled, with a link to the Enrollment Intentions Form (seen as a button that reads “Update Financial Aid Intentions”) . Enabling this option will necessitate the involvement of your Veracross Account Manager and Engineer.

When a parent requests financial aid, the resulting actions will follow, assuming proper enrollment checklist configuration:

  • The “Financial Aid Intention Indicated” enrollment checklist item is marked complete.
  • The “F/A Requested” checkbox on the person enrollment record is checked off.
  • The “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item will also update to “Required”, locking the contract from editing.
  • The “Financial Aid Intention Status” on the Financial Aid homepage component will display ‘requested’ or ‘not requested’ per child.
  • The homepage section will show ‘Complete’.

Financial Aid Status

If schools do not want to allow parents to indicate their financial aid status themselves, the ‘Financial Aid’ homepage component can be added as a read-only component for parents, to simply display the “Financial Aid intention Status”.

Schools can manually check off the “F/A Requested” checkbox from the enrollment checklist tab of the person detail screen so that the “Financial Aid Intention Status” shows ‘requested’ or ‘not requested’ for the appropriate students.

Financial Aid Letter

If using the Financial Aid Module, schools can publish the financial aid decision letter on the Online (Re)Enrollment Homepage. For more on this, read about Financial Aid Decision Letters in the Connections with Financial Aid Module section

Financial Aid Homepage component Display Options (per child)

As mentioned above, the Financial Aid homepage component on the Enrollment homepage can be configured to display a link to update the financial aid intention, display the financial aid intention status, or display the financial aid decision letter (FA module users only) for each child re-enrolling. This is controlled through the FA Display Status field on the person enrollment record. This means that if the Financial Aid section is enabled the school can control the financial aid information display per child, if desired. A default FA display status option may be set via the “Default FA Display Status” field on the “Online Enrollment Config”/”Online Re-Enrollment Config” detail screen.

There are four options for FA Display Status:

  1. Disabled
    The “Disabled” FA Display Status option will not display the child’s name in the Financial Aid homepage component on the (Re)Enrollment homepage. If the status for every child in the household is set to “Disabled,” the component will be removed entirely from the homepage. If the status is set to something other than “Disabled” for at least one child in the household, then the component will be visible.
  2. Capture Intention
    The “Capture Intention” FA Display Status option lists each child (re)enrolling and their Financial Aid requested status as was indicated on the Enrollment Intention Form. Until the Enrollment Intention checklist item is complete, parents may update their Financial Aid intentions. Clicking on the blue “Update Financial Aid Intention” button will redirect them to the Enrollment Intention Form where they can select yes or no to the “Requesting Financial Aid?” question.
  3. Display FA Status
    Once the request for Financial Aid has been indicated through the Enrollment Intention Form, the FA status will automatically be reflected on the Financial Aid homepage component. If schools do not use the Enrollment Intention Form to allow parents to indicate their own financial aid intention they can still display FA status per (re)enrolling child by setting the FA Display Status field to the “Display FA Status” option. The “F/A Requested” checkbox on the Enrollment Checklist tab on the person record will also need to be selected to communicate the appropriate status.
  4. Display FA Letter
    For schools with the Financial Aid module. See the Connections with the Financial Aid Module” section below for more details.

Contract Lock-Outs

Communicating Financial Aid information at the time of ORE is often a complicated process because schools typically do not know the Financial Aid amounts they will be awarding at the time of Online (Re)Enrollment. When parents view the amounts on the contract, they will likely see an inaccurate amount because Financial Aid has not yet been applied as a discount to the tuition amount. Some schools will decide that presenting amount information prior to Financial Aid awards is appropriate for their Online Re(Enrollment) situation and will subsequently notify parents about their change in tuition amounts through other means. Other schools do not want parents to be able to edit or sign the contract at all until Financial Aid awards are known and reflected on the contract. In the latter case, contracts can be locked from editing and signing until Financial Aid is awarded.

Locking a contract from being edited is accomplished using the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item. This item must be marked as a “Contract Pre-Requisite” in order to keep the contract locked until the school manually marks the checklist item complete. The item can be used in conjunction with the “Financial Aid Intention Indicated” checklist item. When the parent indicates their Financial Aid intention through the Enrollment Intentions Form, the “Financial Aid Intention Indicated” checklist item is automatically marked as complete and the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item is marked “Required.” This will keep the contract locked until the school confirms the Financial Aid process is complete by marking “complete” on the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item.

If schools do not allow parents to indicate their Financial Aid status, the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item can be used on its own. Mark the checklist item as a “Contract Pre-Requisite” from Core Configuration > Enrollment Checklist query to ensure the contract is locked until all Financial Aid information is completed by the parents. Schools can complete this checklist item in order to open the contract on per child basis by selecting “Complete” on the “Financial Aid Complete” checklist item.

Note: It is strongly recommended that schools keep their contracts locked until FA is awarded, however, if a school opts to keep contracts open and editable prior to Financial Aid being awarded, they should clearly communicate to their parents that FA awards will not be reflected in the amounts section on the contract until a later date. Upon this date, schools will need to apply FA award amounts outside of the contract process, indicate the financial aid award as a contract amendment, or reset the contract once financial aid amounts have been awarded and applied.

Schools can decide what version of “locked” they would like their contracts to be in. There are two options available:

  1. Read-Only Preview The read-only preview version of the contract lock allows parents to view (but not edit) the contract until all contract pre-requisite checklist items are completed.
  2. Locked from Viewing The locked from viewing version of the contract lock does not allow parents to view the contract until all contract pre-requisite checklist items are completed.


    Important Note: If schools choose to lock parents from viewing the contract until all their contract pre-requisite items are completed, this will lock the contract for all (re)enrolling families who have contract pre-requisite checklist items they must complete. It is not specific to families requesting Financial Aid.

Contract lock-outs are controlled from the Online (Re)Enrollment Config links > Home tab > Enrollment Contracts component. The “DisplayContractPreviewLink” in the Config box specifies the contract’s availability.

  • If this field is set to “true” the contract will be read-only preview.
  • If this field is set to “false” the contract will be locked from viewing.

Financial Aid Award Contract Line Items

Once Financial Aid awards are determined these amounts can be displayed on the contract if desired. Typically, the total amount of the Financial Aid award will appear on the contract as one line item called “Financial Aid Award.” This amount includes all awards for all categories such as, tuition awards, boarding fee discounts, etc. It is possible to separate the “rolled-up” version of the “Financial Aid Award” line item into multiple individual award components. The amounts section on the contract will then display a line item for each award the student has received. Schools may also choose to only reflect the tuition awards as a line item and exclude other FA amounts from the contract.

Financial aid award amounts are reflected on the contract through fee types and financial aid specific Catalog/Amount items. Schools can add as many fee types as they would like to reflect each Award Component received by the student. When linked with the appropriate Catalog/Amount items and then in turn Financial Aid Award Types, this will result in each Award Component displaying as a separate line item on the contract.

Fee types reflecting a financial aid award are entered as discount amounts. When adding discount fee types, set the “System Type” as either a ‘tuition’ discount or ‘fee’ discount, like this:

  • ore:tuition:discount:%
  • ore:fee:discount:%

Replace the % with whatever the discount (i.e. financial aid award) applies to. For example, a financial aid award applied to tuition might simply be: ore:tuition:discount:fa. An example of a financial aid discount applied to a fee (other than tuition) might be: ore:fee:discount:boarding.

Configuring amounts and fee types so that they are accurately reflected on the contract should be handled during the weeks leading up to the schools ORE/OE go-live date. Please contact your Account Manager for assistance in setting up a Financial Aid specific fee type and catalog/amount items.

Connections with the Financial Aid Module

Schools who use the Financial Aid module to track the award process per student requesting financial aid have additional functionality available to them. If a school is using the Financial Aid module and is integrating it with Online (Re)Enrollment for the first time, they will need to contact their Account Manager to have the integration between the two modules “turned on.” Once this connection is established, schools will be able to import awards onto the contract and publish Financial Aid decision letters on the Enrollment homepage.

Importing Contract Amounts

Financial Aid Import Config

Most of the setup to include Financial Aid award amounts as line items on the enrollment contract should be complete with the setup of Enrollment Amounts and Fee Types (see the ‘Financial Aid Award Contract Line Items’ section above for more details).

Mapping of financial aid award amounts and contract line items is then conducted per Award Category. To allow award amounts to be imported from the Financial Aid module, schools should associate each Financial Aid Award Category with an appropriate fee type (also referred to as an Enrollment Amount Type) using the “Financial Aid Import Config” link found in the Core Configuration section of the Online Reenrollment homepage. Open this link and for each Award Category listed in the “Description” column, schools can select the fee type (Enrollment Amount Type) that the Financial Aid Award Category should be calculated as on the contract. Appropriate Enrollment Amount Types will most likely be “Tuition aid” or “Fee aid.”

Importing Award Amounts

In order for financial aid amounts to be imported in the enrollment contract, the following must be true:

  1. All Award Components that make up a student’s “Total Award Amount” must be “posted.” Select the “Posted” checkbox to the right of each component from the “Award Components” input grid on the Financial Aid Application record. Do NOT post the Financial Aid Application at the top of the screen; only post the amounts.
  2. The Award Components being imported are mapped successfully to an Enrollment Fee Type with a “Discount” system type.
  3. The Financial Aid Application record has the application status of “Offered,” “Soft-Accepted,” or “Accepted.”

Financial Aid award amounts may be imported per student or in batch. Once FA awards are imported, each amount specified in the “Award Component” input grid on the Financial Aid Application record will be added to the Amounts tab on the person enrollment record as a negative “Financial Aid” fee.

NOTE:  if FA Awards are imported for ORE in batch, and if there are any corresponding contracts that already are signed, those signed contracts will be skipped over by the procedure, and the amounts for unsigned contracts will be successfully imported. (If FA Awards should be recognized in the Online Enrollment Contract for contracts that have already been signed, then the contract should either be re-set so that signatures are erased & award amounts can be imported, or contract Amendments should be used, or some other workflow should be used for awards in that scenario.)

Importing Amounts per Student
Financial Aid award amounts for each student are imported into the Online Enrollment module through the person enrollment record. From the Online Enrollment homepage, open the person enrollment record for the student who has a Financial Aid Award Package. From the “Action” menu item, run the “Import FA Awards” procedure.

This procedure will successfully run per-person if the FA Award Amount(s) are Posted, the Award Categories are mapped correctly to a Fee Type, the FA Application status is valid for posting (see above), and if the target Person Enrollment record has an “Online Enrollment Status” of “(1/4) Eligible,” “(2/4) Contract Open,” or “On Hold”.

Importing Amounts in Batch
To import financial aid award amounts for all students, run the “Import Posted FA Awards to ORE/OE” procedure from the “Financial Aid” menu item in Axiom.

Either import procedure can be run multiple times. Existing override amounts will be updated or new override amounts will be created each time either procedure is run.

This procedure will successfully run for the whole batch of online enrollment FA recipients if the FA Award Amount(s) are Posted, the Award Categories are mapped correctly to a Fee Type, the FA Application status is valid for posting (see above), and if the target Person Enrollment record has an “Online Enrollment Status” of “(1/4) Eligible,” or “(2/4) Contract Open.” “On Hold” people will be skipped.