October 26, 2007

Cornell Updates Bursar Software

Print More

Starting this semester, all students are required to pay an annual fee of $10 to use CornellCard regardless of whether or not they actively use their accounts. Previously, students were only required to pay the fee if they used the card.
The Bursar’s office will implement a new PeopleSoft software application next semester that is not compatible with CornellCard. PeopleSoft will enable the administration to use an “integrated suite of administrative applications” that is more economically efficient for the University, according to the a University press release. It will replace the admissions, financial aid, registrar and current bursar systems, which have become outdated. As a result, the CornellCard system will transition to the Campus Life software system.
According to Peter Olcott, University bursar, the University will implement the PeopleSoft student administration system next spring, and it does not have CornellCard functionality.
“Campus Life already has the infrastructure and the system in place that works very much like CornellCard,” he said.
CornellCard converted to the Campus Life system this fall, as the bursar’s office wanted the CornellCard system in place before switching over to the new administration system. Working with Campus Life’s existing system instead of trying to change the new one has saved the University money.
The switch to the Campus Life system is also one of the reasons that the there is an automatic $10 fee for CornellCard users, however.
“We didn’t want to have to modify [the Campus Life] system to charge the annual fee only at the time that students were making a purchase,” said Olcott. “We also realized that we were still incurring costs by maintaining records and maintaining a system of students, even if they weren’t using it.”
The CornellCard program was established in 1981, and the card can be used at several locations on campus, including the Cornell Store, Cornell Dining facilities, Willard Straight Hall and several ticket outlets. Students can spend up to $850 a month, and the card is available to all students who are registered as full-time students. According to Olcott, approximately half of the student population has CornellCard.
Some students, however, do not see the need for a CornellCard.
Kate Loose ’11, said “I just use credit cards instead.”
“I already have cards and a bank account,” said Svetlana Ikonomova, ’11.
However, According to Olcott, there are several advantages to having a CornellCard, which include the opportunity for students to learn how to use credit wisely, as Cornell does not report students to credit bureaus if they are delinquent.
“There’s not as high a limit as a credit card might allow. We also simplify billing because we bill for the CornellCard along with the bursar statement, so they go on the same bill,” said Brian Kay, business analyst for the bursar’s office.
Olcott said that the benefits of the CornellCard are great enough that a small change in the policy should not affect student use.