Published on: April 30, 2014
Achieving efficiency through automation: Student residence billing just got a boost
We are pleased to announce yet another enhancement implemented for the University of Toronto residence management software, StarRez. In collaboration with residences across the three campuses, Student Accounts and Housing Services, has implemented a new automated billing process for student residence financial transactions as part of the Next Generation Student Information Services (NGSIS) program.
The need for a more automated process was identified in a 2012 residence fees process-streamlining report developed by a team including representatives from Student Accounts and residences. Prior to this enhancement, integration with ROSI was a one one-way feed of student data from ROSI to StarRez. With over 10,000 students residing in UofT residences, Student Accounts and residence staff were required to manually enter approx. 50,000 financial transactions into ROSI each year, including residence fees, deposits, meal plans and other miscellaneous charges such as lost keys or damages. A very labour intensive process, it also had significant opportunity for error and delays.
With the majority of residences now using the same management system (StarRez), Housing Services and the NGSIS team saw an opportunity to create an automated connection between StarRez financial transactions and ROSI student accounts. This project has resulted in tremendous benefits, including improved accuracy and timeliness of posted charges, staff-time savings and an improved student experience.
Where students might have waited two weeks or in some cases significantly longer to see a residence deposit reflected in their ROSI account, they now see it within 24 hours. And by eliminating manual entry of data, there has been a significant reduction in incorrect charges. All this alleviates time spent by both students and staff to implement corrections or request adjustments. This translates into improved student satisfaction — Student Accounts staff report that the number of student inquiries/complaints received regarding residence deposits this year has dropped, from a few hundred to none. And for each residence, the project has resulted in a savings of approximately one week’s worth of work, work that often accumulated during peak times. That equals approximately 400 hours saved annually across the 11 residences, time that can now be dedicate to other activities that ultimately deliver a better experience for the student.
For more information on the Automated Billing project, please contact:
Director, Housing Services