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Binghamton launches upgrade of student system

A new suite of software will soon replace Binghamton’s core student systems.

SunGard Higher Education’s Banner software will integrate the processing and delivery of student applications, financial aid, course registration, grades and student billing. It will also allow Binghamton to use a number other than the Social Security Number as students’ primary identifier.

Banner, which is in use at more than 900 colleges and universities worldwide, was chosen after years of evaluation and with the involvement of key personnel from the Registrar’s Office, Student Accounts, Financial Aid, the Graduate School and other affected areas.

“What we’re doing is upgrading the fundamental architecture of the programs that support the work of these offices,” Provost Mary Ann Swain said.

Jennifer Schorr, special assistant to the provost, will serve as project manager. Schorr, formerly the registrar, brings to the job a wealth of experience with student systems. Swain and James VanVoorst, vice president for administration, are executive sponsors of the effort.

They kicked off the project with a celebration Monday afternoon and expect to keep the University community updated with regular progress reports and involve the user community throughout the project.

VanVoorst noted the $4.45 million project will be cost-effective and that the software can more easily be tailored to Binghamton’s needs than the current system.

“Our careful review shows this to be an excellent product,” he said.

Work on the project will begin in earnest in October and will likely continue for 24 months. More detailed timelines will be generated after SunGard begins work on campus.

Other State University of New York campuses also use Banner and the SUNY Student Information and Campus Administrative Systems Center in Oneonta will provide systems support and software solutions. That should ease the burden on Binghamton’s Computing Services.

Down the road, Banner will allow the University to integrate students’ interests with course schedules, student organizations and other information. A new Web portal will be customizable for each student and include important links as well as information about his or her specific classes and messages from faculty members.

The new system will also improve the University’s ability to anticipate the demand for certain required courses.

“We’re innovative,” Swain said, “and we want to use the best tools available.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08