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Headline Arrow MBS Systems . Point of Sale . Student Financial Aid
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Student financial aid (SFA) is a dynamic tender that varies in taxability status, impacts purchase eligibility of merchandise, and can impose limits on the timing in which it may be used by students. Most of the data that is captured during the transaction is needed for compliance reporting back to the granting entity. In our SFA Automated Processing System-fully integrated into our point-of-sale (POS) platform-MBS has delivered a solution that enforces compliance at the point of sale and seamlessly delivers the information back to the school's financial aid administration office.

The benefits of this system include:
. Faster and more efficient handling of SFA transactions resulting in improved customer service to students
. Detailed account balance information provided to students at the end of the transaction
. Real-time updating of student accounts to control overspending of grant funds
. Compliance management on purchases
. Detailed point-of-sale data capture to streamline billing and reporting processes of the financial aid office
A Sophisticated System Able to Handle Every Type of SFA
There are many types of student financial aid that a bookstore will encounter at the point of sale. Most SFA falls into one of three categories: federal, state, and local/third party sponsorships. However, there are many variations of grant types, including Pell, Vocational Rehabilitation, ROTC, and Employer Grants. While each of these kinds of financial aid has their own particular stipulations regarding effective dates, taxability, merchandise allowed to be purchased, and reporting/billing, the MBS SFA Automated Processing Solution is sophisticated enough to handle them all.

Getting Started with a New Approach to SFA Processing
Historically, systems have been designed to manage the SFA process as a generalized, consolidated accounts receivable transaction. MBS recognized the need to manage the SFA transaction at a more specific level, and we designed our SFA Automated Processing Solution accordingly.

The MBS design allows each bookstore to configure their system for the types of grants that will be accepted by their individual operation. The effort involved in this initial setup and maintenance is minimal. The setup for each grant type includes assigned transaction priority, taxability status, purchase restrictions by merchandise type, and a billing flag that applies the charge to the sponsor's accounts receivable balance. The transaction priority and billing flag are features unique to the MBS system.

With the aid types set up, your bookstore can receive individual student records that include all of the SFA grants available for use. Three methods are available to build this student account database: manual data entry, batch file download, or real-time updates. Once the student account database is loaded, the bookstore is ready to process SFA transactions. From here, cashiers need only select the SFA tender key on the POS system and enter the student's account or ID number to trigger automated processing.

Simplified Split-Tender Purchase Transactions
Many times in the SFA purchase transaction, a split-tender process is necessary. It is important that a POS system easily split the transaction across SFA grants as well as other tender types when there are insufficient funds or the transaction includes merchandise that cannot be purchased with grant monies. The MBS SFA Automated Processing Solution handles this scenario easily and automatically at the point of sale without additional cashier involvement. By doing so, stores do not need to provide specialized cashier training to handle SFA transactions. Additionally, stores do not need to conduct SFA transactions at special POS checkout lanes or with "SFA knowledgeable" cashiers, because all registers on the system can handle these types of transactions. Just think about how much time you'll save during rush, not to mention how you'll reduce cashier and customer confusion and frustration!
Automated Controls for
Eliminating Overspending

As more grants have become available, the ability to prevent overspending has emerged as a critical bookstore function. With MBS, the SFA transaction details are posted to the student's account and respective individual grant balances on a real-time basis. This speed and accuracy provides the bookstore with a control system to manage the overspending of grant funds by students who make multiple purchases during the same day.

Making the Returns Process Simple and Efficient

Processing returns for items originally purchased with student financial aid doesn't have to be a hassle. With MBS's SFA Automated Processing Solution, the transaction is processed as a standard return, and the SFA funds used in the original transaction are automatically posted back into the student's account and appropriate grant type balance. This update of the account and fund balance occurs on a real-time basis so there's no delay if the student wishes to make an immediate purchase.

Compliance Reporting and Billing
Upon expiration of a grant, the bookstore must generate the compliance reports for the Financial Aid office. It is critical to include the supporting detail in the reporting process to ensure that reconciliation with the granting entity is timely and creates an accurate audit trail of compliance. Through a networked interface to the Financial Aid office, the information that is required in these reports can be transferred electronically, thus eliminating the volumes of compliance paperwork that have historically been par for the SFA course.

Grant reconciliation that is managed by the bookstore must be handled in a similar manner as above. The key difference is that the system must be capable of posting transaction details to the granting entity's account in an Accounts Receivable (A/R) system. By automating this capability, the MBS SFA Automated Processing Solution allows the bookstore to consolidate the data into a single invoice for the granting entity. Once the invoice is generated and issued, the A/R balance will be carried as an aged receivable until payment is received.

If you're ready to get started, or you'd like more information about Student Financial Aid, contact your MBS Systems Territory Manager or call 800-325-4138.
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Columbia, MO 65203