Last January, WKU began distributing student refund and financial aid residual checks electronically through Higher One.
And one year later, many of the WKU community believes it to be a success.
Before Higher One’s implementation, refunds and residuals were distributed to students by paper check.
“There were lots and lots of offices that were involved in printing checks,” Bursar Belinda Higginbotham said. “We had those from the (information technology) area that actually printed the checks, the accounts payable area that did a lot of reconciliations, our office that was responsible for distributing them, and the residence hall directors involved.”
Now, the process has become much more efficient for the university by alleviating responsibility from these departments, Higginbotham said.
Higginbotham said some students weren’t receptive to the switch at first.
But she said most of these students eventually learned to like Higher One since it makes it quicker to receive their money.
Greg Hunt, a junior from Newburgh, Ind., said he didn’t understand the Higher One system when it was first implemented.
“I knew it was something that my mom dealt with, and that’s it,” he said.
But now Hunt said he realizes Higher One is much simpler and quicker than receiving a traditional paper check.
“It’s a better process,” Hunt said.
Higginbotham said the new, virtually paperless system has proven to be a success for the university, as well as the student body.
Before implementing the Higher One system, students didn’t have any electronic financial options, Higginbotham said.
But now, she said most students really enjoy having such options as electronic bill pay at their disposal.
“We’ve had students that have come back to us and ask, ‘What else can we get through Higher One?’” Higginbotham said.
Soon, students may be able to receive their student payroll through Higher One, said Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration.
She said the payroll office and representatives from Higher One are working out a way that would allow student workers to be paid through direct deposit to their account.
Mead said she believes the implementation of Higher One was a big step technologically for WKU, and direct deposit would only further the success.
“It’s a sign of the times,” Mead said. “It’s better for the students and for us, the administrators.”