University logs onto government’s technology initiative

GW students will have access to information relevant to them in a centralized location thanks to a government pilot program that will start this fall.

The Access America for Students Initiative is part of Vice President Al Gore’s push for technology in schools, said Dan Small, Student Financial Assistance director. He said the government is trying to create one specific area for students to access a variety of information.

One part of Access America is the Student Account Manager program, part of a future Web site. The program will allow students to access their federal financial assistance information.

“It’s an evolving type of program,” Small said.

Initially, the Web site will include information regarding internships, voter registration and online taxes. The Web site will be accessible in the next few months, Small said.

GW is one of 10 universities participating in the pilot program, according to an article in Business Wire.

Director of Student Accounts Kathleen Haines said when meetings originally began on the new initiative last year, she thought her office was going to take on a bigger role in the Student Account Manager program. But Small said the government wants to begin this program slowly.

“Do they have bigger plans? Possibly,” he said. “But right now they’re trying to pull this all together.”

He said he hopes the Web program will enable the financial aid process to become somewhat easier over time by providing an “electronic signature.” The electronic signature will prevent the financial aid office from requesting original signatures time and again, Small said.

“We can eliminate a lot of the paperwork that comes through the office,” Small said.

Small said the Access America program should help GW in the long run.

“It has potential,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it.”

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