Overview: Student Commitments
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Student Commitments Defined
Student commitments represent a future obligation for the University to provide students an amount of money for a specific purpose over a period of time. This obligation may be based on work that the student will perform or an amount of money that the student will receive as financial aid.
Specifically, student commitments arise from the following transactions:
- Financial Aid for Undergraduate and Graduate Students
- Assistantships for Graduate Students, a form of employment where the student earns a compensation package that includes salary and tuition allowance (TAL) in exchange for research or teaching services
- Graduate Student Fellowships (including stipends), a form of financial aid where no service is expected in return
Student financial support originates and is approved in various modules of the PeopleSoft system:
- Undergraduate and graduate financial aid is processed through the Financial Aid module of PeopleSoft and is disbursed to the Student Financials module of PeopleSoft, where it is posted to the student's account. Various Financial Aid Offices process this type of aid.
- Graduate student support is entered and approved in the PeopleSoft GFS (Graduate Financial Support) module, and based on the type of support, is disbursed through the PeopleSoft Student Financials module or the PeopleSoft Payroll module.
The table below summarizes the different types of student support and the flow of data to and from the relevant PeopleSoft modules.
|Student Recipient||Type of Support||PeopleSoft Modules and Data Flow|
|Undergraduate and Graduate||
||Financial Aid Student Financials|
||GFS Student Financials|
How to View Student Commitments
Student Aid commitments can be seen by Oracle Financials report users on OBI Consolidated Expenditure Reporting (CER) dashboard reports.
Transaction source codes for all types of commitments listed on Oracle Financials reports begin with "E". The following table provides an explanation of the reference data fields used for student commitments.
The system where the transaction originated:
The accounting reference field. For Student commitments, this field is populated with the term related to the commitment:
For example, 1082 is the account reference code for academic year 2008, Autumn term where:
|Dept Ref||The department reference field is populated with the student's ID number.|
- For additional details about these and other source codes (expenditures and commitments), see Resources & Job Aids: Oracle Reference Code Table.
- For more information, see Overview: Commitment Data on Oracle Financials Reports.
Timing of Updates to Student Commitments on Reports
Most student commitments are updated once a month, at the end of the month. This timing is consistent with the recording of actual student transactions during the normal month-end process. Assistantship Salary commitments are updated twice a month, which is consistent with the actual payroll dates (the 15th and the last day of each month).
Updated student commitment information replaces prior commitment data. Only the latest commitment data will display on expenditure reports. However, if aid had been fully approved and entered in PeopleSoft for prior terms, but never paid out, it will appear on expenditure reports. If this occurs, corrections must be initiated in PeopleSoft to remove the fully approved but not disbursed aid.
How Student Commitments Are Determined
Student commitments for the current academic year will be reflected starting in September. In general, these commitments begin when the financial aid is accepted by the student or fully approved in GFS. The transaction is no longer a commitment when the payment is posted to the student's account in Student Financials, or the salary or stipend is paid through Payroll, and the transactions are updated in Oracle; at this point, the support becomes an actual expenditure.
Following is an outline of how and when student commitments are processed:
- Student aid, including financial aid, TAL, fellowship tuition and stipends, is typically entered in August for the next academic year. The commitment reflects the fully approved student aid that remains to be posted to the student's account for the next academic year. Student commitments entered in August for the next academic year will not be posted to Oracle Financials in August. They will be posted and appear on reports beginning each September.
- Students who are on assistantships (e.g., research assistants or teaching assistants) receive 6 paychecks per term that they are working. These payments are the basis for assistantship commitments. For example, for September month-end, students with assistantships for the full academic year 2007-2008, will show a salary commitment equivalent to 6 pay checks for each of the terms: fall, winter, spring and summer. Once the October 15th payroll is posted, the salary commitment amount will be reduced to 5 paychecks for fall and 6 paychecks for winter, spring and summer. In addition, 1 paycheck will show as an actual expense.
- Student commitments are only reflected for one academic year, so aid on sponsored projects may be understated.
- Student commitments are reflected for the entire academic year, so outstanding commitments related to aid for the Summer quarter may appear on fiscal year-end reports. The Summer quarter includes the month of September.
To fully understand Student Commitments, it helps to know how the actual transactions are generated. To understand the graduate student support process, take FIN-0110: Understanding Graduate Financial Aid Expenditures web-based training. For questions regarding undergraduate and graduate financial aid, please contact the appropriate Financial Aid Office.