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September 20, 2005 :: New Information Portal Will Save Time, Money for Students

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Oklahoma higher education is one step closer in creating a free student information Web site that will serve as a one-stop shop for college planning and preparation.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently authorized California-based Xap, Inc. to design, develop and implement a student information portal, which is expected to be fully operational by late 2006.

Higher education officials anticipate that no state funds will be used to develop and operate the portal. Start-up costs of nearly $1 million will be paid through federal GEAR UP funds and the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program (OGSLP).

Operational costs for subsequent years will be paid through OGSLP funds and revenues from participating independent colleges and universities, career technology centers and other agencies. State Regents estimate it will cost approximately $1.8 million during the first three years to operate the portal.

“We are extremely excited about the student information portal and the impact it will have on students and our state,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said. “It’s a perfect example of how the public and private sectors can use technology to make student tasks more efficient and provide them with more information as they make important decisions about college and their lives. They will have the opportunity to be better prepared for college and for the Oklahoma workforce.”

The portal will provide current and prospective students with a single, comprehensive system for gathering important information they will need to more effectively and efficiently plan and prepare for college. Students will be able to perform several tasks from one central location, including seeking and applying for federal and state financial aid, applying to multiple colleges, creating their own portfolios, preparing for the ACT exam, learning about career opportunities, taking virtual tours of the various campuses and requesting transcripts.

“Not only will the portal save students time and money, but it can reduce administrative costs throughout the state system,” Risser said, noting that institutions could, for example, save approximately 20 percent on admissions applications costs and more than $6 in processing costs per transcript.

The portal would also serve as a valuable planning aid for middle and high school guidance counselors who are starving for technology solutions to help more of their students prepare for college. Information on the portal will also be available in Spanish, Risser said.

The decision to create the student information portal was borne from the Public Agenda for Higher Education, which the State Regents adopted in December 2004. The agenda is based on three facts

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Xap, Inc. is the leading developer of online student services systems for associations and statewide groups of colleges and universities across the U.S. It currently operates systems in other southern states, including Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.