WebIDs available for UM parents
By Rebecca Lauck Cleary
After months of planning and work, the University of Mississippi's Office of Information Technology has launched a way for parents of Ole Miss students to receive WebIDs to view academic data, pay bills and use other campus services.
"This project is important for several reasons," said Kathy Gates, UM chief information officer. "We think it can help with retention and academic success. In some cases, it helps to have a parent on board with the student's performance to encourage and motivate the student if he or she begins to have problems.
Students can specify the type of access that parents have: view academic data such as grades, class schedules and absences; view financial aid awards; and pay bills. Parents cannot receive WebIDs without being authorized by their students.
Students can authorize their parents to receive WebIDs from within their MyOleMiss account by selecting the "Student" tab, then "My Profile" and finally "Access for Relatives/Guardians." Creating a parent WebID takes 24 hours.
Often it is the parent who pays tuition and other bills, not the student. Parents can operate more conveniently and effectively when they have direct access to financial aid and can pay bills online.
"When it comes to cost, we often find that the entire family is involved," said Laura Diven-Brown, director of financial aid. "So if parents can go online and see what aid is available for their child, it helps them to plan for the bottom line. My office will promote this opportunity at all the freshman orientation sessions this summer, and since many parents attend, I expect there will be a high level of participation in this WebID option going forward."
An additional option allows parents to receive the same REBALERT emergency text message notifications that students receive. A WebID provides other benefits as well, such as the ability to sign onto the campus wireless network. So far, about 1,400 parents have WebIDs.
The Bursar's Office has worked with IT for some time to provide additional ways for students and parents to be able to make payments, said Cavett Ratliff, bursar.
"So much is being done online, and we wanted to provide the ability to pay to parents who might be sitting at their office or at home after business hours to access their student's information easily," said Ratliff. "This provides a limited access for authorized parents and guests and, hopefully, this makes things easier for parents."
The Office of Information Technology is always looking for ways to improve services, Gates said.
"We are very pleased to be able to offer this new service and hope that students and parents find it to be helpful," she said.