To disburse aid to students or refund it to source, you must run it in a batch. Batches collect scheduled aid transactions (disbursements or refunds) and help you apply them to student accounts.
There are a few financial aid settings that affect what you are able to do with the batch workflows described here:
- Disbursement batch workflow: When disbursing aid, in what order does your school process funds? Do you first disburse to students and then draw down funds from the source, or do you first draw down funds and then disburse to students?
- If processing FSA entirely through Populi, then you'll need to have the DOE integration settings completely filled in.
First, an illustration of how financial aid transactions affect your General Ledger during a disbursement batch:
- A student is invoiced $10,000 for tuition and fees, debiting your Accounts Receivable $10,000 and crediting the various tuition and fees income accounts.
- The student is awarded aid sufficient to cover all her charges. As that aid is disbursed during the batch:
- In the Funds Received stage, the award type's liability account is credited to show that the funds will be paid out to the student in the future. Its asset account is debited to show that you have the funds for the time being until they are paid out.
- In the Posted to Student Accounts stage, the liability account is debited, showing that the funds have been paid. The asset account is credited—those funds are used to credit A/R and then debit whatever asset account you use to collect aid payments.
Running a disbursement batch
The batch workflow involves two phases. In the first, you filter through the scheduled disbursements to find the awards you wish to include in the batch. In the second, you record the steps involved in drawing down funds and finally apply those funds to student accounts.
Starting a new batch
- Start by going to Financial Aid > Awards > Disbursement Batches.
- Click New Batch.
- Start filtering the scheduled disbursements. If your school has more than one campus, your first option will be to select a campus.
- Select the Disbursement as your batch type.
- Check the award types you'd like to include in this batch.
- Enter a date range to search for disbursements scheduled for a particular timeframe.
- As you add filter selections, the disbursement list will automatically update.
- Check/uncheck individual disbursements to include in your batch. If the student's aid application is not yet completed, disbursements cannot be included in the batch.
- When your batch has captured all the transactions you're after, click Create this batch. You'll be taken directly to the batch processing page.
Now that the batch has been created:
- You can find it on the Disbursement Batches view; to access it, click the batch number.
- An alert will display on your Populi > Home page for all unfinished batches (all financial aid users will see these alerts).
Running a batch disbursement
The batch workflow consists of advancing the scheduled disbursements through the stages of drawing down funds and disbursing them to student accounts. The order of the stages depends on what you've set in the Disbursement Batch Workflow setting.
- The only stage that materially affects student accounts is Posted to Student Accounts. The other stages can be thought of simply as "status updates" for the batch—unless...
- ...you're using the DOE integration. In that case, certain stages will trigger updates to COD. See the batch instructions (below) for details.
- At any point, you can click Email/Text Students and send a message to the students included in the batch.
- Financial Aid users can run batches through the following stages: Setup, Authorization Requested, Authorization Received, and Funds Received.
- The Financial Admin or Student Billing role is required to complete Funds Requested and Posted to Student Accounts.
Here's how to run a batch:
- Batches begin in the Setup stage, during which you can click to remove disbursements or cancel the batch. Once the batch moves past Setup, these two options will disappear.
- For each stage, you can enter an optional comment. Comments are for your own internal use; they will not be emailed to the students.
- To move to the next part of the batch, click Advance to next stage.
- indicates that the stage has been started—it has not affected any student accounts (or COD information) at this point.
- indicates that the stage has been completed. If the stage affects anything else in Populi or COD, this means that change has happened!
- These stages affect other areas of Populi:
- If syncing awards with COD, and depending on your Disbursement Batch Workflow (see above), the Released indicator for the disbursement's COD information will be set to Yes in either the Authorization Requested or Mark Released in COD stage. When this happens, your Current Funding Level in G5 will be changed so you can draw down the funds to cover those disbursements.
- Funds received: When you transfer the funds from the source to your own account, that stage gives you the option to automatically record Aid Drawdown transactions in your General Ledger. These transactions are described in Step 2 of the Accounting section of this article. If you do not opt to create these transactions, you will need to manually record a Journal Entry. Debit the asset account into which you've deposited the funds and credit the liability account tied to that aid award type.
- Posted to student accounts: The disbursements are applied to the students' invoiced, aid-eligible charges. This step credits your A/R and debits the aid award's liability account. The Manually... and Auto-apply... financial aid settings can change this behavior.
- When you post the disbursements, you can email the students to inform them.
- When you're all done, click Complete Batch. The batch is now closed and no further action on your part is required.
If refunding aid to source, refer to this article.
If refunding aid to the student, follow the instructions for refunding a credit balance.