FirstLink colleges (Spokane, Spokane Falls and Tacoma) are well into week eight on the new ctcLink system and week four of fall quarter. So far, colleges have completed three payroll cycles in ctcLink, disbursed millions of dollars in financial aid, and now have more than 26,400 students and employees with active ctcLink accounts. There is still much more work to do, but they have accomplished a great deal in the last several weeks.
It’s been a challenge, but slowly and surely, initial issues are being fixed, data is being corrected and the system is beginning to stabilize. Staff from FirstLink colleges, Ciber and SBCTC have worked tirelessly to uncover the issues and fix them as fast as possible.
One of the biggest issues has been getting financial aid funds to students in a timely manner. This has been tough on those students who rely on receiving their financial aid at the beginning of the quarter so they can purchase supplies, pay for daycare, transportation and many other living expenses. SBCTC, Ciber and college staff have been doing everything they can to correct the issues as quickly as possible. Getting students the funds they have coming to them is the top priority.
Many of the issues were related to how data (programs, courses, transcripts, schedules, etc.) converted from the old system to ctcLink. Because components within the new system are so closely connected, a data issue in student enrollment could have an effect on a student’s tuition balance, financial aid eligibility, or on the amount they should receive. Much work went into identifying, understanding and cleaning up those data issues. There were also a few configurations in the system (Financial Aid and Student Financials) that had to be worked out one by one.
All of the fixes and lessons learned will be applied to the implementation process for the first wave of eight colleges (Wave 1), scheduled for late August 2016. If you are part of the community and technical college system, please thank your FirstLink colleagues who’ve gone before you. It’s been a long haul, they have worked extremely hard and the lessons learned from their experience will benefit the entire community and technical college system with the implementation of ctcLink.