Top 5 Ways Students Use ISIS


The phrase “ISIS Replacement Project” isn’t as meaningful to students as it is to Penn State faculty and staff. ISIS, the current student information system, is used by students for the most important parts of their college careers; they just don’t know it. Students access ISIS through eLion, the online portal that allows them to manage crucial academic and financial processes.

We’ve put together a list of the top 5 actions students complete, which involve ISIS. This week we’re sharing 5 through 3.

5. Paying Tuition Bills

This may not be the most glamorous part of ISIS, but it’s crucial that the process is efficient and effective. When a student or parent accesses a tuition bill on eLion, ISIS is able to calculate a cost estimate in real time, taking into account any scholarships, registered classes, or loans. This is crucial for a student to know precisely what they owe at that exact moment.

The project team understands the necessity of keeping the real-time bill calculations, but also hopes to streamline the process. Possible future additions could be the ability to compare past bills or print a PDF version.

4. Declaring a Major

Students must declare a major through eLion no later than the spring semester of their second year. Beginning freshman year, students can update their major preferences, and choose three different majors in which they may be interested. When it comes time to declare, a student can select one, two, or all three of these preferences to “apply” to.

An automatic procedure runs a process using data from ISIS and the degree audit to determine if the student has completed the entrance-to-major requirements and has the desired GPA. The colleges offering the majors review the results of this process and may make adjustments. Once that is complete, the student’s record in ISIS is updated showing their major status. The project team hopes to make this process more streamlined, as well as make students aware of their responsibilities in declaring a major.

3. Getting Your Degree Audit

One of the most exciting things Penn State students can see on their degree audit is, “All requirements have been met, or are in progress.” Seeing progress being made toward their major helps students know they are on track.

When the degree audit is requested, the degree audit program pulls information from the student’s record on ISIS, and compares it to the selected major’s requirements. The student’s progress is then displayed, including the courses that still need to be taken to earn the degree. The LionPATH project team hopes to see the degree audit being incorporated into all aspects of scheduling and course planning, so students can be more confidant in their path to graduation.

Last week we described how students use ISIS (the current student information system) by paying tuition bills, declaring a major and getting a degree audit. Today we’ll review the top two actions students complete with the help of ISIS.

2. Filing an Intent to Graduate

When students are ready to graduate, they sign in to eLion, and click the “Graduating this Semester” link. This sets in motion a process involving both ISIS, and the related college, to ensure students have met the requirements necessary to graduate. ISIS information is utilized to count the number of credits that the students have either registered for or completed, and compares it to the minimum number of credits required to complete a certain degree. If the students have taken the required number of credits, then they are allowed into the application to submit their intent to graduate. eLion also pulls the student name, degree, major and (diploma) mailing address from ISIS and asks students to verify this information.

Advisers and staff double check the degree audit to make sure the credits taken match the requirements of the University and the major. They are informed of any possible problems, and can work with the student to ensure all requirements are met. The functionality of initiating the graduation process will be carried over into the new system, and may even be improved upon.

And the #1 way students interact with ISIS is…

1.  Scheduling Classes

Scheduling for a semester of classes has gotten much easier at Penn State over the years. Students used to choose classes from a printed catalog, and waited in line at Rec Hall to sign up for their courses. When they reached the front of the line, hopefully, there were still open seats.

While scheduling online has been a much more streamlined experience, it still causes students anxiety. The project team is dedicated to making the process as painless as possible in the future. This includes possible changes to the watch list procedure, as well as potentially introducing more interactive features when scheduling.