Student [Mis]information System

Glitches Pervade New Student Portal

Students and staff get lost in the new SIS on MyConcordia Portal. Graphic Sam Jones

Thousands of graduate students temporarily lost their government bursaries when the new Student Information System took effect two weeks ago, according to the Financial Aid and Awards Office.

Student accounts usually automatically connect with Quebec Aide financiere aux etudes, but “a little glitch” in the new system prevented the government office from registering the full-time status of certain masters students, explained FAAO employee Nadine Beauvais.

“At this point we’re manually updating all students [accounts] to show that they’re indeed registered full-time,” Beauvais said, continuing that the problem was resolved for students within two days of alerting the office.

The Financial Aid Office has “been doing this for the last few weeks, so we’re talking thousands of students” who have encountered the problem, according to Beauvais.

Health Care

Following glitches in the new student portal, Concordia extended the tuition-fee deadline. However, the extension didn’t apply to CSU run health insurance- a dichotomy which confused students, CSU VP Finance Heather Nagy told The Link.

“They extended their tuition fee deadline and then didn’t communicate that to [the Alliance pour la Sante Etudiante au Quebec],” she said, adding that several students had come into the CSU office to “vent about their situations.”

Some students accounts were ladened with extra health insurance charges during “the conversion of account information,” VP Registrarial Services Bradley Tucker told the latest Senate meeting, adding that the problem had been fixed.

“There was also an issue where the printing of the insurance card incurred a new charge for the insurance.”

Tucker said the problem had been corrected and that the charges will be reversed.

“Up the Wazoo”

The switchover to the new system has been “a real problem,” Board of Governors member and former History Department Chair Norman Ingram said at the last BoG meeting.

“In terms of accessing the system, permissions are completely up the wazoo,” Ingram told the board.

“Our secretaries in the department are just about literally tearing their hair out, because they’ve had no training and they’re being expected to make this system work,” he said.

Of Ingram’s concerns, Shepard said that in any such sizeable project, it’s difficult to determine how much training will be needed in advance. To combat confusion, the university has added extra training sessions for staff.

“This was a big project involving millions and millions of electronic records being transferred,” Shepard told The Link.

“Once you turn the new machine on, you have to calibrate it and there are going to be glitches. What we’re experiencing is a pretty normal level of glitch.”