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STLCC’s Automated Attendance Tracking Is Multipurpose Tool

Publication1A computerized attendance tracking program implemented at St. Louis Community College is paying big dividends in helping the college reduce its bad debt rate. 

STLCC worked with Ellucian to launch in fall 2013 its XE Attendance Tracking module to help the college’s financial aid office meet federal regulations for disbursing aid to enrolled students. STLCC is one of the first colleges in the United States to incorporate this solution into its Banner suite of student, financial aid, finance, human resources and advancement system. 

“We needed attendance tracking for financial aid purposes,” said Joan McCready, STLCC’s enterprise business applications systems leader. “If a student never attended a class, the federal government wanted its money back. Then we had to try to get the money from students who were long gone, and the college would have to pay back that money to the Department of Education. 

The system replaced the paper attendance rosters, and makes available real-time attendance records to automate financial aid disbursement. Students who receive federal financial aid now get a credit at the bookstore based on their eligible aid and then, after the term has started, the college disburses the rest of their aid when faculty have verified though this tracking system that they are in fact attending classes. 

McCready appears in a YouTube video produced by Ellucian, in which she discusses the reasons for and the positive impact of implementing this module at STLCC. The video was shown to more than 8,500 attendees at the opening session of the Ellucian Live Conference in early April. McCready and Mark Doering, manager of systems/programming, co-presented a session on the technical and functional challenges of STLCC’s implementation. 

McCready said XE Attendance Tracking also supports Veterans Affairs, which uses it to ensure proper payment to veterans who are receiving benefits to take classes at STLCC, as well as the Achieving the Dream Initiative. 

“We know that those who attend class do better, so the attendance records are an important part of an early alert system,” McCready said. “Students who were attending classes and then stop can be flagged for intervention and assistance to help them succeed.”