NU, State Colleges recommend Oracle and CedarCrestone to provide new Student Information System
Pending approval from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents at its meeting on September 5, Oracle USA has been recommended as the provider of a new $29.8 million student information system that will serve students at the four campuses of the university and the three state colleges, Chadron, Peru and Wayne State. The Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees previously authorized Chancellor Stan Carpenter to approve the selection on behalf of the NSCS.

The Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions application will be the basis of the system. CedarCrestone Consultants has been selected to work with the university and the NSCS on implementation.

The recommendation to use PeopleSoft comes after more than two years of study, review and negotiations. A steering committee, chaired by David Crouse, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and involving representatives of all seven campuses, was charged with recommending two suitable alternatives with whom negotiations would be held. The committee issued a request for proposals in February 2008. Proposals were evaluated by teams from both the university and the NSCS based on a number of aspects including implementation, flexibility, functionality, decision support, and cost effectiveness. A separate negotiating team was appointed, headed by David Lechner, NU vice president-business and finance. Negotiations were held with three finalists.

Linda Pratt, executive vice president and provost of the University of Nebraska, was appointed as the executive sponsor of the SIS selection process. Pratt said, “The new system will manage the complete student experience, including such key processes as recruitment, admissions, financial aid, registration, housing and tuition. We believe the new system will be very adaptable in meeting the needs of our students for many years to come.”

Carpenter added, “We believe that Oracle offers the best combination of functionality, support and cost-effectiveness, and we are confident that the Campus Solutions system will provide excellent accountability and reliable records management. The collaborative project between NU and the NSCS has been a good partnership and resulted in the best choice for a student information system. I look forward to continuing this partnership.”

The total three-year cost of the system is estimated at $29.8 million, including $3 million in hardware, with ongoing costs estimated at $2.5 million annually. In January 2008, a joint request was made to Gov. Heineman by NU President James B. Milliken and Chancellor Carpenter for $22,153,000 to cover first-year costs associated with the purchase of a common student information system and costs to migrate the NSCS to the university’s SAP financial management system. In the 2008 Legislative session, the Legislature passed LB 959, which provided a deficit appropriation of $20,000,000, with $14,444,000 to the university toward the SIS system and $5,556,000 to NSCS for SIS and the migration to SAP.

The university and the NSCS were advised in 2007 that their current student information systems would not be supported after December 31, 2011. The new system is expected to be in place by August 2010.

Backgrounder: Student Information System

Rationale

Student information systems, which serve as the central repository for all data about an institution’s students, are fundamental to the effective management of a college or university. Early in 2007, the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State College System were advised by the current vendor that the company would not provide updates to their student information systems after Dec. 31, 2011. Replacement of the system was essential to comply with the changing demands of student financial aid processing and to facilitate required regulatory reporting for the federal government including reports mandated by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Thus it was essential that both the university and the NSCS move forward quickly to ensure an uninterrupted transition to a new system.

Timeline

Even before learning that the current systems would no longer be supported after 2011, the university and the NSCS were looking at potential upgrades to their student information systems.

Summer 2006: President Milliken asked Robyn R. Render, VP for Information Resources and Chief Information Officer at the University of North Carolina, to review and make recommendations for strategic decisions and actions related to replacing NU’s Student Information System.

July 2006: Board of Regents approved a capital request that was intended to cover costs associated with implementing a new SIS.

August 2006: The university and the Nebraska State College System each submitted a formal request to the Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC) requesting additional funding to support the two projects. The university’s request anticipated five-year costs of $32 million.

November 2006: NITC reviewed the proposals and gave the projects a tier one recommendation, "Highly recommended. Mission critical project for the agency and/or the state." The NITC then recommended to the Governor and the Legislature that the projects be funded but also strongly recommended that the University of Nebraska and the State College System collaborate on these projects and develop interoperable systems.

Fall 2006: President Milliken appointed Executive Vice President and Provost Linda Pratt as executive sponsor of the project

March 2007: President Milliken appointed an SIS Steering Committee, chaired by David Crouse, UNMC.

December 2007: The Nebraska State College System joined the University of Nebraska in seeking a new SIS and, at the urging of the Governor, in migrating the NSCS onto the university’s SAP financial management platform.

January 2008: NU President James B. Milliken and NSCS Chancellor Stan Carpenter presented a joint first-year funding request to the governor, seeking $22.1 million in state funds to purchase the new system and transition the NSCS to SAP. February 2008: The Steering Committee issued an RFP. The University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State Colleges followed an established process to identify and prioritize features or requirements that each campus wanted to have in a new student system. Teams of functional and technical leaders from all seven campuses met to identify the system features that will be required. Members of the faculty and staff completed a survey to rate additional features that applied to them. The resulting data was tabulated to come up with a comprehensive and prioritized database of requirements included in the RFP.

April 2008: The Steering Committee reviewed proposals and functional presentations from the three finalists, Oracle, CedarCrestone and SunGard. SunGard does its own implementation of the Banner product and the implementation costs were negotiated as part of a possible contract with SunGard. Oracle PeopleSoft did not propose to implement the software for this project, and a parallel negotiation was held with CedarCrestone for the implementation.

May 2008: President Milliken and Chancellor Carpenter designated a negotiation team headed by David Lechner, NU Vice President-Business and Finance.

May 2008: LB 959, introduced by Sen. Mike Flood, passed, allocating $20 million for the new system and the migration to SAP.

August 2008: The RFP process was concluded with finalists making their final offers to NU and the NSCS. Briefings were held with Chancellor Carpenter, President Milliken, and members of the Board of Regents Business Affairs Committee.

Sept. 5, 2008: NU Board of Regents will vote on proposed contracts with Oracle and CedarCrestone and an amendment to the proposed 2009-2011 operating budget to reflect estimated ongoing costs. The Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State College System previously authorized Chancellor Stan Carpenter to approve the selection on behalf of the NSCS.

The PeopleSoft System

The new SIS will provide a student-centered environment, managing all records relating to:
  • Application for admission
  • Registration
  • Tuition and billing
  • Scholarships and financial aid
  • Housing and meal plans
  • Course selections, completions and grades
The system has also been selected for use at these universities and systems:
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Missouri
  • California State University (23 campuses)
  • City University of New York (CUNY) )(18 campuses)
  • University of Maine System
  • University of Minnesota
  • Indiana University
Information from the Oracle web site:
  • PeopleSoft Campus Solutions is the world's leading student system and alumni development solution for higher education and is being used at over 800 campuses in more than 20 countries.
  • Campus Solutions is the most adaptable solution serving all sizes and types of institutions including small, private universities, community colleges, research institutions, and large, public, multi-campus systems.
  • Campus Solutions is the only administrative suite available today that provides students, alumni, faculty, and staff with immediate access to real-time information and connects that information to specific actions.



Contacts:
Sharon Stephan, University of Nebraska, 402.472.7554 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sheri Irwin Gish, Nebraska State College System, 402.471.2505 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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