FA~Link is a real-time, two-way interface allowing students to use Financial Aid and Sponsorship funds set up in Colleague directly at the bookstore cash register.
Students may purchase their books as soon as they are registered for classes, or as soon as your campus rules allow. Charges are authorized in real?time and an invoice is created on the student account in Colleague, so both systems are in balance at all times.
Manual processes and paper vouchers are eliminated. The Business Office does not need to manage and reconcile paper, spend hours tracking down discrepancies and fixing errors, and creating invoices manually in Colleague. The bookstore staff does not need to know which students can charge and which cannot because their POS system will tell them.
The students are better served because they don’t have to go from place to place on campus to get their book voucher or wait until they receive their Financial Aid checks. Studies show that students that have their books for the start of their courses have higher retention rates. Bookstore sales usually increase because the student funds are available only at the on-campus bookstore which encourages students to buy there rather than other sources.
Because FA~Link is real-time rather than a batch system, the two sides are never out of balance. A student cannot go to the bookstore multiple times in one day to trick the system. Each trip to the bookstore initiates a new conversation with Colleague for the most recent A/R picture of that student, including new invoices on their account, new aid amounts available, any new restrictions on that aid, add/dropping of classes, etc. There is no lag time – all information is up-to-date.
FA~Link is an optional module in Ellucian’s Colleague system. It is licensed through Trimdata, and the software is delivered through the Ellucian repository. All our development is done on Ellucian servers using native Ellucian technologies. Software updates are released usually once or twice a year to maintain consistency with Colleague changes, and to add new features as requested by our customers.
“Since implementing FA~Link, the Students are happy because they can purchase their books with FA funds as soon as they are registered. The Bookstore is happy because students must buy books at the campus bookstore, resulting in higher sales. The Business Office is happy – no more cash handling needed for FA book purchases. And finally, Trimdata has given excellent support. When you call them, they respond right away and everyone is willing to help.”
— Olga Bustos, Amarillo College