The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Financial Aid goes green

Members of the Financial Aid Office estimate that they are saving about $40,000 by communicating with students through email instead of paper.

Jerry Donna, the director of the Financial Aid Office, said they are saving about $15,000 in postage fees, $15,000 in staff time and $10,000 in materials.

“I think at financial aid, the people who are drawn to this profession all reuse and recycle because it is who we are, but what we are doing now with the financial aid processing is communicating with students electronically through email with secure access to PAWS,” Donna said. “In essence, this has been quite a commitment of time and effort on financial aid’s part to make this happen, but the facilitation has gone very well.”

Donna said they emailed award letters to 3,100 students on March 17 with directions on how to access it through PAWS.

“The process began last October in 2010 to get ready for processing for 2011, so it has been quite a journey from getting the Banner consultants to work with this and make this happen for us,” Donna said.

To facilitate this transition, Financial Aid staff had to go through training to become familiar with the new process.

“There were a lot of people working to rewrite programs, change processes, rethink ways of doing things in an electronic nature and how to get messages to students effectively,” Donna said.

“We went through training with Banner consultants, and Banner is kind of a large animal where you have to do it correctly or you don’t get anything out of it, so we had to make sure we were doing it correctly to make it work.”

Donna said this process is not only environmentally beneficial, but it is more effective than their old process.

“With the old process, we used to have to print all of the award letters at one time and the entire office would come to a screeching halt to take these paper letters, put the enclosure with them, fold it together, put it into an envelope and get it to the mailroom,” Donna said. “Not only was the old process time consuming and labor intensive, but we used so many materials that we could have been conserving.”

Donna said the electronic process is a win-win situation.

“The student wins because they have a more immediate communication with us at a push of a button, and we win by conserving resources and not working ourselves to death putting papers together when we could be working on more pressing matters,” Donna said.

Rachel Rodgers can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

Financial Aid goes green

Financial Aid goes green

John Pinto, a sophomore communication studies major, signs a document in order to get financial aid for the summer semester. (Jordan Boner


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