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Alberta Post-secondary Application System (APAS) by 4Cf80ne


									                   Alberta Post-secondary Application System (APAS)

The Presidents and Provosts of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions are taking the lead in establishing a
common application process and system for applicants to the province’s public colleges, technical institutes and
universities. The Alberta Post-secondary Application System (APAS) will provide a multi-institution, single-
source, on-line service to enable students to apply to academic programs in a public post-secondary institution
in Alberta. The primary goal is to provide students with easier access to essential information, services, and
admission to Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.

Work is now underway to develop and design a common application system that reflects the manner and style
in which the province’s adult learning system operates and has evolved. Alberta institutions function with a high
degree of autonomy, and have proven to be innovative and creative in improving services and developing
opportunities for learners. A number of such initiatives have grown through institutional collaboration, for
example, the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer (ACAT), Alberta North, and eCampus Alberta. These
initiatives have been encouraged and supported by Advanced Education, consistent with its Campus Alberta
vision and policy.

This project has the support of the provincial government as referenced in the Access to the Future Act, which
reads, in part:

“Accessibility and affordability
     (2) The Minister, in consultation with public post-secondary institutions and such other persons as the
     Minister considers appropriate, shall identify and evaluate and, where appropriate, implement plans,
     arrangements or processes that enhance the access to and affordability of advanced education, including
     but not limited to the following:
         (a) a common application process for entrance to public post-secondary institutions…”

This document provides an overview of the process to be used to develop a proposed outline of the
requirements and expectations of APAS, and its implementation.

Anticipated Benefits

The following are some of the benefits initially identified for the Alberta Post-Secondary Application System.
While not all of these benefits can or will be achieved immediately, over time, APAS will:

   Provide easier access for students
   Improve service (responsiveness, timeliness, access to financial aid programs, reduced transcript costs) to
   Save time for participating institutions, once system is operational (transcript and financial aid confirmation)
   Provide more accurate and timely information to member institutions and the Ministry regarding demands
    and issues on access to public institutions
   Increase students’ awareness of the range of options available across the post-secondary system
   Help identify the full range of programs students may be taking at several post-secondary institutions and
    assists them in applying for student assistance
   Demonstrate the ability of post-secondary institutions to collaborate on an important initiative with clear
    benefits to students
   Be cost-effective, efficient, and make better use of available resources
   Provide the basis for future inter-provincial collaboration
   Prompt the development of a better “advising” system in the future for providing information to prospective

October 18, 2005
                                        Alberta Post-secondary Application System
Key Elements

The following elements have been identified to define some initial parameters and expectations for APAS.

   Provide a single point of access for application for admission to certificate, diploma and degree programs at
    Alberta’s public post-secondary institutions (While the intent is to include as broad a range of programs as
    possible, further discussions will confirm the specific programs to be included or excluded.)
   Be student-centred and designed to serve the best interests of students
   Respect institutional autonomy over admissions decisions, timing, and processes
   No member institution will opt out; some accommodations will be required to address unique circumstances
    of some programs and of some student populations
   Ensure security and confidentiality of student information and of proprietary institutional information
   Interface with Alberta Education to incorporate unique student identification number and manage transfer of
    student transcripts
   Designed to facilitate transfer of transcripts among public post-secondary institutions
   Interface with Advanced Education’s student finance system to provide links for student assistance
   Collaborate with ACAT to correlate its future plans/directions with APAS
   Designed with data information standards consistent with those in place in North America
   Designed to be minimally intrusive; need to “keep it simple”; to require basic application information; not to
    include more detailed “portfolio” information
   Designed to be a loosely coupled de-centralized service model; student application fees to be paid to
    institutions; member institutions will fund operations of APAS
   Able to accommodate hard copy/paper applications for unique students and program circumstances
   Designed to interface/integrate with existing institutional technologies (PeopleSoft, Banner, Datatel,
    Agresso) using current, non-proprietary solutions
   Built upon existing and emerging information technologies that provide flexibility and capacity for future
   Cost effective, operating on a cost-recovery basis
   “Owned” and managed by member institutions
   Development and implementation funding provided from Advanced Education upon approval of an
    appropriate plan and budget

It is recognized that the list of key elements is extensive and ambitious. The initial design of APAS will not likely
incorporate all of these features. However, over time, it is expected that key elements will be phased in as they
become feasible as part of the implementation plan.

Stakeholder Consultations

A project of this scope and significance will undoubtedly generate a number of suggestions and questions that
will need to be considered as part of the design and development process.

Specifically, the common application system will need to address the needs and interests of a wide range of
students including those who come directly from high school and those who have been out of the education
system for some time, or who are new to Alberta and Canada. Implementation of the system will need to take
into account the different technologies, processes, and needs of post-secondary institutions. And the initiative
will need to be cost-effective and designed to facilitate ease of use by both students and institutions.

An initial consultation process with a wide range of different groups and individuals is being undertaken in order
to identify potential issues and ensure they are addressed during the design and development phase.

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                                         Alberta Post-secondary Application System
Potential Options

The Task Team will gather additional information on other systems in operation in Canada, as well as some in
the United States and Australia. The Team will review and select those features and attributes that closely align
with Alberta’s post-secondary system.

It is anticipated there may be no one “best fit” option, and that a number of adaptations would be required if an
existing system was to be considered to ensure future growth and system flexibility.

Options that have potential for developing inter-provincial collaboration will likely be of interest to the provincial
government, and would hopefully better accommodate student mobility.

APAS Member Institutions

    Universities                                                   Medicine Hat College
     Athabasca University                                         Mount Royal College
     University of Alberta                                        NorQuest College
     University of Calgary                                        Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
     University of Lethbridge                                     Northern Lakes College
                                                                   Olds College
    Colleges and Technical Institutes (CTI)                        Portage College
     Alberta College of Art & Design                              Red Deer College
     Bow Valley College                                           Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
     Grande Prairie Regional College
     Grant MacEwan College                                    Not Included
     Keyano College                                            The Banff Centre – due to the specialized
     Lakeland College                                         nature of their programming
     Lethbridge Community College

APAS Task Team

A Task Team has been established that reflects the diversity of the post-secondary system
(university/college, urban/rural, large/small, etc.), recognizing that a key responsibility of the Task Team
members includes communication with all stakeholders.
   Members to include:
Seamus O’Shea (Co-Chair)         Vice President (Academic) & Provost                   University of Lethbridge
Sharon Carry (Co-Chair)          President & CEO                                       Bow Valley College
Calvin Barnes                    Director of Information Technology                    University of Lethbridge
Carole Byrne                     Vice Provost & Registrar                              University of Alberta
Cathryn Heslep                   VP Student Services                                   Grant MacEwan College
Marylea Jarvis                   VP Instruction                                        Keyano College
Tony Jayatunge                   Director of Information Technology                    Red Deer College
Michael W. McAdam                Vice President, Finance                               University of Calgary
Kerry T. Moynihan                Director, Marketing & Government Relations            Olds College
Gilbert Perras                   Registrar                                             Athabasca University
Alex Reed                        Registrar                                             SAIT
To be named (2)                  Student Representatives
May be named (2)                 Others, representational, as needed
Ted Langford                     Consultant

   The Task Team will engage contract/consultant services to assist with the development of the APAS

October 18, 2005                                                                                        Page 3 of 4
                                     Alberta Post-secondary Application System

Task Team Role

   To identify stakeholder needs and wants, including those of prospective students and their influencers
    (example: school counsellors)
   To identify and evaluate options for a common application process
   To develop a system consensus on the preferred option
   To co-ordinate the related development and implementation of plans, arrangements, or processes
    through member institutions
   To produce a plan and budget for development costs and projections for on-going operations
   To review and recommend options for the governance and management of the on-going operations
   To evaluate and make recommendations on the effectiveness of the pilot project
   To establish and maintain effective communications with all appropriate stakeholders throughout

Communication Responsibilities

   Liaison with Advanced Education through Assistant Deputy Minister
   Liaison with Alberta Education (and other affected ministries) as required
   Communication with external stakeholders (e.g., media, schools, prospective students, etc.)
   Progress reports and consultations with internal stakeholders, including:
         o Presidents
         o Provosts/senior academic officers
         o Senior business officers
         o Senior student services officers
         o Registrars/admissions officers
         o Communications/marketing officers
         o Information technology specialists

Looking Ahead

This project will require significant time and effort on the part of many “already busy” people within the
member institutions. Their input and assistance is essential, and will be helpful in providing a greatly
improved service to post-secondary students.

To that end, a consultation process is underway and will include discussions with administration, students,
registrars and student services staff in post-secondary institutions, representatives of Advanced Education
(particularly Students Finance), Alberta Education, high school principals and counsellors, experts in
information technology within the post-secondary system, and other government ministries.

Timelines are short and plans are for a pilot project to be launched in the fall of 2006 with implementation
scheduled for Fall 2007. Appropriate phase in and implementation plans will be developed as part of this
initial phase.

Contact information

If you have questions or would like further information about this project, please contact:

Ted Langford                              Phone: (780) 471-3932                   Email:

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