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Summary of Project

Accounts receivable systems in institutions of higher education face specific challenges that are not addressed by the traditional off-the-shelf accounts receivable systems. In addition to the functionality that would be expected as a part of any accounts receivable system, most universities have to deal with restricted use funds, stemming in many cases, from financial-aid payments made by federal, state and other bodies.

Application of these restricted payments can become a very complicated situation, especially in the cases of students who have several types of financial aid, or where students receive a financial aid payment, and then, due to changes in circumstance, become ineligible for the payment. In addition to general accounting standards, a fully-functional student accounts receivable system needs to be able to process these situations with minimal intervention from an account officer.

In addition to handling restricted funds, student accounts receivable systems also need to be able to take advantage of more advanced account receivable functions, including third-party billing, installment plans, etc.

The project is to be divided into two phases. The first phase will bring about an advanced accounts receivable package and a Sigma technical validation of the Kuali technical stack. The first phase will be sponsored by the University of Maryland, College Park. USC will join the project in the first phase subject to a technical validation. The second phase of the project will bring additional functionality to the system, dealing with a number of related student accounting functions and will be contingent on the successes of the first phase.

In the 1980s, Sigma Systems, Inc. created a student account receivable system designed specifically for higher education- the Student Accounts Receivable System. This legacy system is referred to as SARS throughout this document. Though now deprecated, Sigma holds a large amount of intellectual property relating to these accounts receivable processes. Through this partnership with the sponsoring universities, the Kuali board and Sigma Systems, Inc., we will leverage our existing intellectual property, combined with our extensive knowledge in the financial aid realm, to bring a community-sourced student accounts receivable system to the Kuali Student effort. The resulting product will be a number of modules under the Kuali Student Account [KSA] project[1].

Sigma Systems, Inc. will contribute the code and the intellectual property behind the accounts receivable system developed during that phase to the Kuali Foundation.  Sigma expects to have donated between $500,000 and $900,000 worth of gratis professional services to the project by the time all phases are complete.


[1] Prior to November 2011, the project was known as KSAR [Kuali Student Accounts Receivable]. For full details explaining the naming change, and the new module names, please refer to the document “From KSAR to KSA: An Explanation of the Name Change”.