AccessPlus to be replaced with a new student information system


Mackenzie Bodell

AccessPlus will be replaced with a new student information system by fall 2024.

Iowa State students can expect to say goodbye to AccessPlus.

The Provost’s Office announced they would freeze the university course catalog and graduate college handbook. This is because of the implementation of a new student information system, Workday Student, that will replace AccessPlus.

“Workday Student is the single largest information technology deployment in Iowa State University’s history,” according to the announcement. “With the first use of some functions by students, faculty and staff in 2023, Workday Student will intersect virtually every aspect of students’ academic careers, from admissions and financial aid to degree audits and tuition assessments.”

Once Workday Student launches, students can expect several new features.

While some students have not noticed any large issues with the current system, others have expressed their disdain for having to flip between AccessPlus and the course catalog during registration.

“I hate it,” said Mason Adkins, a senior in criminal justice. “I wish they were all in one place,”

A change coming with Workday Student is students can see the course descriptions and sections upon registration without flipping back and forth from the course catalog website.

Another change to the course catalog through the implementation of the new system is the addition of an extra digit to course numbers. Course numbers can’t be reused within a six-year period, so Iowa State is running out of numbers for courses.

Associate Provost Ann Marie VanDerZanden said there is a lot of additional manual labor the registrar’s office staff has to do to pull information from all the different systems. This manual labor being done introduces opportunities for error due to the time it takes.

“Our current systems right now are running on old technology that is fairly outdated, and the systems do not communicate well with each other,” VanDerZanden said.

With new technological advances, Iowa State plans to upgrade these systems to improve the student experience. The Workday Student system is a comprehensive system that brings all the old systems into one place.

“The systems that we have were designed by our outstanding IT staff over the years — 20 or 30 years ago — when these types of systems didn’t exist, which was fantastic at the time,” VanDerZanden said.

Implementing Workday Student is a four-year-long project. So far, Iowa State has been working on this project for roughly 18 months.

Different pieces will launch throughout the phasing timeline.

Iowa State’s academic affairs, technology and administrative teams will transfer more than 50 million rows of student data, in addition to preparing for new students enrolling in the fall of 2024.

“It is a huge undertaking,” VanDerZanden said. “It is a complicated system because it does touch so many different parts of a student’s lifecycle from a technology standpoint on campus.”

All the data in Access Plus and the current student information system will be transferred into Workday during the freeze. The course catalog will only be frozen during this transition period in order to ensure the data is accurate once the new system is up and running.

The reasoning behind the freeze on the course catalog for 12 to 18 months is to minimize room for error while switching all the systems over.

“We are just trying to minimize the (changes) that could cause problems in our data validation,” said Jenni Keitges, assistant registrar at the Office of the Registrar.

There will be some exceptions allowed during the temporary freeze. For example, if a new academic program is introduced that will promote the recruitment of new students and generate new net tuition revenue, it will be an exception.

During the course catalog freeze, the Board of Regents can continue to review and develop new academic programs, and faculty are encouraged to do so. Approval for a new program takes roughly 12 to 18 months, which roughly follows the timeline for Workday Student.

Once the new student information system is ready, those new degree programs can be implemented into the system.

Timeline-wise, students taking classes in the fall of 2024 will be the first to register with the new system. The goal is to have the transition complete by spring registration in 2024.