New University-wide software to help enhance student-aid experience

Nicolette Hylan-King
February 03, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For students and families, the process of applying for and receiving financial aid has never been stress-free, but thanks to a new financial planning software, the process will soon become a little easier for Penn State students. The Office of Student Aid is preparing to roll out the financial aid module of Oracle Student Cloud, Student Financial Planning Cloud Service in fall 2020, and students will begin interacting with the tool the following spring and summer, when financial aid is typically awarded.   

“As Penn State strives to keep our degrees affordable, a smooth, streamlined financial aid process is critical,” said Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for Penn State Undergraduate Education. “Transitioning to Student Financial Planning will enable us to more effectively connect students with the federal and private funds available to them, which in turn will help to advance student financial wellness and help control their net cost of a Penn State degree.” 

Students across the University will use Student Financial Planning to complete tasks such as viewing their financial aid awards, accepting or declining the aid, and supplying the documents required by federal regulations and University policies governing the aid process. Student Financial Planning will also serve as students’ primary connection to Penn State staff in the Office of Student Aid, who are available to counsel students through the financial aid process from the time they apply to Penn State through graduation. Students currently complete these tasks using LionPATH.

“We understand that the financial aid process can be overwhelming at times, and we want to do everything in our power to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible for Penn State students,” said Melissa Kunes, assistant vice president for Undergraduate Education and executive director for Student Aid. “We have full faith that Student Financial Planning will help us to achieve this mission.”

The University selected the Student Financial Planning Cloud Service for its user-friendly, intuitive interface and its ability to automate and accelerate processes that have historically been completed manually. As a cloud-based tool, Student Financial Planning will be easily accessible from any device or location. , the California-based company behind the product, and behind LionPATH, provides technological solutions to many leading higher education institutions.

“Oracle’s commitment to the higher education market includes our belief that no student should sacrifice their academic goals due to cost,” said Vivian Wong, group vice president of Higher Education Development at Oracle. “The unique, student-first architecture of Student Financial Planning makes financial aid processes more transparent and seamless, empowering students to navigate more effectively the financial aspects of their education.”

To help guide the implementation of Student Financial Planning for the University, Penn State has hired Huron Consulting Group, which Penn State leadership has previously enlisted to offer comprehensive recommendations related to University business.

“The leadership at Penn State values the student experience and is ahead of the curve in providing a technology solution that helps students more easily navigate the complexities of financial aid,” said Ted Simpson, managing director at Huron Consulting Group. “Huron is proud to be Penn State’s transformation partner as it prepares the University to graduate successful students for many generations to come.”

The implementation of Student Financial Planning aligns with the One Penn State 2025 initiative, part of which calls for a more seamless student experience by simplifying business transactions with the University. 

Leading up to Student Financial Planning’s implementation, students will receive communications regarding the timing and details of the roll-out and instructions on how to navigate the new software. In addition, the Office of Student Aid will offer trainings on the new software to Penn State faculty and staff beginning in late summer of 2020. 

The Office of Student Aid is part of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad..

Last Updated February 03, 2020