In this article, you'll learn the initial setup steps required to integrate Populi with a third-party financial aid processing service. Populi works with the following services:
Of course, you can also make use of Populi's direct DoED integration or enter aid information by hand while using EdExpress outside of Populi.
FA Solutions uses the Regent software to manage nearly all aspects of your school's financial aid process. They require regular updates from Populi about the status of your students in the form of
SBL files. Populi has a built-in report for generating these in the correct format. In turn, they regularly provide
EST files containing student award and disbursement data to import into Populi through an interface we have designed for this purpose.
Before you can export SBLs and import ESTs though, you'll need to look over several settings in Populi.
- Contact Populi customer support and ask us to turn on the Regent integration. The fields required to complete the configuration are hidden by default.
- For each Aid Type in Populi, the
external_idfield must be set to match the unique ID of the aid type in Regent. For example, if your Basketball Scholarship has an ID of BBALL1 in Regent, you'll need to set the
external_idof the aid type in Populi to BBALL1 as well. To make things simpler, we suggest setting the award's abbreviation to the same thing. This can be done under Financial > Financial Aid > Settings > Award Types.
- For each Degree in Populi, the
external_idfield must be set to match the unique ID of the Program in Regent. What Regent calls a Program is, in Populi, a Degree (Programs in Populi are containers for Degrees). For example, if your Master of Counseling degree in Regent has an ID of MCOU, you must set the
external_idof the degree in Populi to match. Go to Academics > Degrees and edit each degree's external ID.
- Additionally, the Regent software can only handle a student being in one academic program (again, in Populi, a Degree) at a time. It's fine if a student is pursuing multiple degrees, but for the sake of financial aid reporting, one of those degrees needs to be set as "primary". When two degrees are both active for a student, Populi will favor the one with the oldest Pursuing as-of date. So, set the primary degree's pursuing date to be the same as the start date of the academic term they began pursuing it. Then, set the second one (or any others) to have started a day later, and that will ensure the primary always appears on SBL report exports.
- For each Academic Term in Populi, the
external_idfield must match the unique ID of the term in Regent. For example, if the Fall 2022 term in Regent has an ID of FA-22, the Fall 2022 term in Populi must have the same external ID. Go to Academics > Academic Term and edit each term's external ID so they match.
- Setting up the
external_ids for the award types and degrees is a one-time event. For terms, you'll need to make sure things are kept up to date in both systems when you create new terms from year to year.
- Setting up the
- Set your OPE ID and export prefix. FA Solutions will provide you with the unique export prefix for your school. The Federal government provides you with an 8-digit OPE ID. Populi Customer Support can set these for you.
- Optionally, FA Solutions may ask you to include a UDF (user-defined field) with your export data. The data will be pulled from a financial select-type custom field in Populi with the name "SBL UDF X" (where X is the name of the field they want included on the SBL export). You only need to complete this step if they ask for it.
Once these steps are complete, you can export SBLs under Academics > Reporting > Regent SBLs. To import ESTs, go to Financial > Financial Aid > Awards > Import.
PowerFAIDs is a separate software package that can be used by your school to manage your financial aid and communicate directly with the DoED. If your school uses PowerFAIDs, you can hand-enter award and disbursement data into Populi, or you can save time and effort by importing it with the provided interface. Populi supports importing
Anticipated Aid Extract Fixed Format TXT files and
Disbursement Authorization CSV files from PowerFAIDs. Before you can import from PowerFAIDs, you'll need to configure some settings in Populi:
- Contact Populi customer support and ask them to turn on the PowerFAIDs integration. The fields required to complete the configuration are hidden by default.
- For each award type in Populi, make sure the the award's Abbreviation field matches the "short name" of the award type in PowerFAIDs. For example, if your Basketball Scholarship has a short name of BBALL1 in PowerFAIDs, you'll need to set the abbreviation of the award type in Populi to BBALL1 as well. This can be done under Financial > Financial Aid > Settings > Award Types.
- Make sure each student's "alternate ID" in PowerFAIDs is the same as their Student ID in Populi. This is used to match students if no SSN is present.
Once these steps are complete, you can export academic data to PowerFAIDs under Academics > Academic Term > Students > Export PowerFAIDs XLS. To import awards and disbursements, navigate to Financial > Financial Aid > Awards > Import.