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Modernizing the Tuition Grant Program

Increased efficiency, faster turnarounds, improved employee satisfaction
Monday, May 2, 2016

University HR and University IT joined forces to automate the Tuition Grant Program (TGP), streamlining both the application process for employees and the backend process for administrators.

Live since March, the new automated system modernizes the once paper-based processes of one of Stanford’s most popular benefits, TGP, which helps eligible faculty, staff, and retirees pay for the cost of undergraduate college education for their eligible children. The program pays up to one-half of Stanford's tuition for the current academic year.

The new system rollout is just in time for TGP’s busiest application period, which extends from April to July, with about 125 applications per week. During the 2015 academic year, University HR’s TGP office processed more than 1,500 paper applications, resulting in more than 3,400 payment records. This year, processing will be done through the new online system that supports electronic submissions and processing of TGP applications.

“Already we’re seeing a difference in the efficiency with which we can process TGP applications,” said University HR TGP Director Patti Smilovitz. “And we’ve heard from several employees that the new process is much easier for them. The paper application process used to take them about 30 minutes. Now, it takes less than two.”

University IT’s Student and HR Systems team launched the project to develop the new system last June, and worked closely with staff from University HR’s TGP office and HR Solutions group. Efficiency is not the only benefit of the new system. Reduced risk is another.

“Up to now, the TGP application and administration process was subject to all the risks and challenges of paper processes, including delays in delivery of hardcopy documentation, data entry errors, paper document filing and storage costs, and more,” said Leo Volkov, University IT’s director of Student and HR Systems.

“The new automated TGP system streamlines every facet of the program’s processes, increases accuracy, and reduces challenges associated with paper.”

Increased efficiency, faster turnarounds, improved employee satisfaction

An easy online application process. Eligibility verification in minutes. Real-time status updates. What’s not to like about the new TGP system?

In the past, employees had to download and complete paper application forms. They could send the hardcopy form, along with paper copies of supporting documentation, to the TGP office, or they could scan and email electronic copies.

Upon receipt of the application, the TGP administrator had to look up the employee in PeopleSoft to verify eligibility. This might take a minute or two, or it could take much longer, depending on the applicant’s employment history. Once eligibility was verified, all the application information had to be manually entered into a FileMaker database, and the paper documents were then physically filed and stored.

The new system significantly streamlines the entire process. Now, employees with active SUNet IDs can submit applications online using the new TGP portal in Axess. Electronic versions of supporting documentation can be attached to the online form. The application takes about two minutes and the form is delivered immediately to the TGP office. An email acknowledgement is sent to the employee within minutes.

In the TGP office, because the new system is linked to PeopleSoft and eligibility rules are built in, approval can be obtained immediately in most cases. Once the application is approved, an email is sent immediately to the employee with instructions to print the Parent Memo and Tuition Grant Authorization Letter from the website.

Employees can see application status, payment history, or eligibility status at any time directly in the TGP portal. Payment processing, tracking, and record-keeping are all streamlined in the new system and linked directly with the Oracle Financials system, providing “real-time” payment reconciliation and significant time savings.

Learn more

  • Read more about the new TGP application process on the Cardinal at Work website.
  • Learn more about the system improvement project by contacting University IT’s project team through the feedback button below.
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