FirstLink Update: Week 5

Tacoma and Spokane colleges have been using the new ctcLink system for five weeks now. Much has been accomplished but there is still more to do to work through the remaining kinks and bugs in the system and continue the stabilization period.

Students started receiving their financial aid this week. The disbursement process was delayed last week when financial aid offices had to take extra time to make sure the disbursement amounts were correct for each student. This was a painstaking effort and slowed the disbursement process last week. Once financial aid award amounts were re-confirmed in ctcLink, the process of sending the money to the third party debit card agency was performed and some glitches were fixed along the way in that process as well. All three colleges sent out a majority of their financial aid disbursements this week and expect to wrap up the process for all financial-aid-eligible students next week.

The FirstLink colleges also posted their second payroll cycle in the new ctcLink system. Employees were paid on time and the process went fairly smoothly, but there are some issues to work out, especially in the area of streamlining the current process so it is much less time consuming for payroll staff. Meetings to address these issues began this week.

In all, more than 25,000 people have activated their ctcLink account since FirstLink colleges switched over to the new system the week of August 24. The majority of those (22,121) are students.

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FirstLink update: Week 4

This week was the final countdown to the beginning of fall quarter for Tacoma and Spokane colleges. The big push in the new ctcLink system this week was getting financial aid packaged and awarded for incoming students. All of the colleges using the new ctcLink system (Tacoma, Spokane, Spokane Falls) dealt with numerous issues working to get data in the ctcLink system updated and correct so they could distribute financial aid correctly to eligible students.

Because of the glitches, all three colleges have extended the tuition due date so students don’t get dropped from classes for non-payment. By Friday, some students were reporting on social media that their tuition was paid, but they were still waiting for their refund on their Higher One debit card (remaining financial aid funds for the quarter). Many students rely on that money to buy their books and other supplies and to cover transportation, daycare, etc. Those refunds are expected to start showing up on students’ debit cards beginning Monday and throughout the week.

It was an extremely frustrating week for students and staff alike. Next week, the ctcLink project team will continue assisting college staff to work through the remaining issues so students can begin to settle in to their fall classes and focus on learning.

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FirstLink update: Week 3

FirstLink (Spokane and Tacoma) colleges are well into their third week using the new ctcLink system and a little over a week away from the beginning of fall quarter. In other words, BUSY!

Prep work for packaging and disbursing financial aid began this week and colleges have continued admitting and enrolling new students for fall quarter. As of this afternoon, 16,588 accounts have been activated in the system and more than 14,270 of those are students.

This week there have been anywhere from 11,000 to 14,000 logins to ctcLink daily. The ctcLink/Ciber project team continues to assist FirstLink college staff with data cleanup, system familiarity and working out the issues as they come up. This support continues on campus and from the Command Center and ctcLink Service Desk in Olympia.

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First payroll in ctcLink a success!

The payroll process was completed in ctcLink this afternoon for FirstLink college employees to get paid on Sept 10.

A huge THANK YOU to the SBCTC and Ciber staff who worked all day to make it happen.

Over and out from the Olympia ctcLink Command Center. Everyone have a great weekend!

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FirstLink Go-Live: quick update

Payroll was the focus of the day today as the project team and college payroll and finance staff worked to prep the data and files necessary for the FirstLink colleges’ September 10 payday. Several people will be working late into the evening to meet tomorrow’s payroll deadline for getting the files to the bank.

In other news, as of 4:45 pm today, 10,260 people have activated their ctcLink account and 8,241 of those are students.

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FirstLink Go-Live: 1.5 week update

It’s been a busy, busy couple days for all involved in the ctcLink project. There are several issues with the new system that continue to make it extremely challenging for FirstLink colleges to assist incoming fall-quarter students. Due to the issues with the new system, all three colleges extended their tuition deadline for fall. Many of the problems related to admitting students, getting their ctcLink accounts activated, enrolling in courses and paying tuition have been resolved as of this evening. There are more glitches to fix, but there has been tremendous progress since Tuesday morning. In total, 925 service tickets have been logged with the ctcLink Service desk and more than 75 percent of those are no longer open.

In addition, colleges are starting to do other business in the system, such as purchasing, travel and time/leave reporting. The project team and colleges are now gearing up for the first payroll run in ctcLink as well.

As of this evening, a total of 9,074 people at Spokane and Tacoma colleges have activated their ctcLink account and 7,121 of those are students.


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FirstLink Go-Live: Week One recap

Good Morning! FirstLink Colleges are heading into week two of ctcLink Go-Live. The project team is working with the colleges to resolve some conversion issues in all three pillars. In addition, a mock payroll run is planned for early this week prior to the first payroll run in ctcLink for the September 10 payday. Here’s a quick recap of last week’s activities:

  • The ctcLink system was turned over to FirstLink colleges on Monday, August 24th
  • More than 50 support staff from SBCTC and Ciber were on site at the three FirstLink colleges and the Spokane district office. The Olympia Command Center was open 7 am – 7pm and had check-in meetings with college command centers at 8 am and 4:30 pm each day. The on-site support and the check-in meetings will continue this week.
  • In all, 532 issue tickets were logged to the ctcLink Service Desk last week and 75% of those had been resolved by Friday evening. The majority of issues were security/role related, which was to be expected. In addition, there were data cleanup issues to address as well as initial account activation issues the first couple days.
  • During the first week, 3,521 people from Spokane and Tacoma activated their account and 1,982 of those were students. Many more students and staff will be activating their new ctcLink accounts this week.
  • About 107 new students applied to FirstLink colleges using the new Online Admissions Application and another 100 applicants were entered manually by college staff.
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