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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

CAREER FLASH

Schools get down to business


Business intelligence software is not just for businesses, Canada's largest university has found.

The University of Toronto is using a so-called BI computer system from Ottawa-based Cognos Inc. to track the financial aid it provides to its 60,000 students and the money it raises from donors.

The system's analysis of student funding -- "a key business function for universities," according to Cognos -- draws data from a variety of other systems to help get money to the needy and attract the brightest with scholarships, teaching assistant positions, research grants and awards.

The Cognos technology "can aggregate, analyse and deliver the data in a format that can be easily accessed and used to make business decisions that will positively affect the lives of our students and will contribute to their educational experience at the university," says Cathy Eberts, associate director of administrative management systems at U of T.

The system also analyses an array of fundraising efforts.

"Visibility down to the individual donor level allows the university to build custom fundraising campaigns targeted at their most loyal supporters," says Cognos, which claims 22,000 customers in 135 countries.

"Managing the student life cycle from recruitment through to the alumni relationship, managing the advancement process from fundraising through to administration of endowments, and assuring financial assistance meets the changing needs of its students are all areas where our higher-education customers are leveraging Cognos solutions."


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