By Jimi Jo Story
Online Bursar's Office to save students time
Doug Hester, applications system analyst for the Bursar's Office, said creating a new, more interactive Web page for the office was part of his job description when he was hired by the University of Arizona in December.
"We changed the Web page because we wanted to provide as much information as possible to help the students right away," Hester said.
The new site, at http://www.bursar.arizona.edu, provides payment information, instruction on how to read tuition bills, pointers for financial aid awards and tuition rates, links to other UA Web pages and a comment page.
Hester said the office has had a high demand for those services and that students sometimes end up waiting in line or on the phone line to get answers to simple questions.
"People from the department figured out the most popular questions and then we put the answers into Web form," he said. "This way it saves a lot of waiting time because many people can access the same information at the same time."
Hester said students do not need to worry about security issues with the Bursar's Office Web pages because only answers to general questions are available.
Anthony Wolf, a business management sophomore, said he has not seen the new Web page but will probably look it up now.
"I'd use it for all of the information, but not to pay anything - I don't want my credit card number on the Internet," Wolf said.
Hester said the Bursar's Office Web pages do not have the capability to display students' personal information.
"Our pages have no security issues," Hester said. "When people want specific information they have to go to the secure Student Link pages."
Student Link, at http://www.arizona.edu/student_link/, offers students grades, account balances, schedules of classes and other personal data.
Wolf said he is sure the Bursar's Office site will be popular once students know about it, and Hester agreed.
"We're planning on keeping it updated for future semesters and trying to make it as easy as possible for students," Hester said.
He said the Web site receives about five questions a day from students who have used the new pages and expects the number of inquires to increase next semester.
Hester said most of the responses to the pages have been good, "but sometimes you get the people who can't find what they're looking for and get upset."
The next plan for the Web page is to work with Student Link to allow students to ask for tuition refunds online, a process that usually takes two to three weeks to complete.
"We're trying to set it up through Student Link and then they can send a refund request in to us and take some time off the processing," Hester said.