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Monday, February 11, 2013 (Bronx, NY) - For the 10th time in 11 years, Hostos Community College has won The City University of New York’s Productivity Award, which is given annually to institutions that develop initiatives to benefit students and better their campuses.

The BARFIT team at Hostos that won this award for 2012 includes personnel from the Bursar, Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, and Information Technology offices, and its initiative is helping students through a system that utilizes the new CUNYfirst EMPL_ID cards.

The BARFIT team – which is also responsible for implementing CUNYfirst at Hostos – made the decision to include the CUNYfirst EMPL_ID numbers on the new ID cards that were issued to students, faculty, and staff last fall. The new identification numbers are not sensitive, non-public information (like social security numbers), so they are now the main identifier for CUNY/Hostos and in the security access control database.

With the help of Chief Arnaldo Bernabe and the staff of the college's Department of Public Safety, the new “super ID cards” simplify the exchange of information between CUNY and Hostos, and are also used for checking out library books and gaining access to buildings.

However, the cards are also helping students in ways that the old cards could not. New federal regulations require that students must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to receive Federal Student Aid. At Hostos, 631 students flagged for SAP last fall were required to submit an appeal to the Academic Appeals Review Board. In the past, identifying these students was very labor intensive. Those who were flagged had less than two weeks to submit an appeal, and alerting them about this via telemarketing, mailers and emails had not proved to be effective.

The BARFIT team put the new EMPL_ID cards to work in locating SAP student by temporarily disabling their codes so the cards could not be read at the recently installed turnstiles. Security guards were instructed to direct these students to the Financial Aid Office so that their issues could be addressed quickly.

In the first hours after the new procedure was initiated, over 50 students were seen by Financial Aid staff, and several of them were placed on a “Do Not Cancel List” and guided through the appeals process. Of the 631 who were flagged for SAP, 532 were protected from being dropped and managed to secure financial coverage for the semester. In addition to helping students remain enrolled, the new ID cards enable the college to reach a greater number of students in need in a shorter period of time.

The following Hostos staff members worked on the plan that won CUNY’s Productivity Award for 2012: Ken Acquah, Deirdre Aherne, Joseph Alicea, Wishart Alleyne, Terrence Brown, Richard Gampert,  Yvette Luyando, Christine Mangino, Sharon Moura-Santiago, Nélida Pastoriza, Esther Rodríguez-Chardavoyne, José Santana, Varun Sehgal, Wendy Small-Taylor, and Roland Vélez.

The Hostos BARFIT team is the first in the CUNY system to win a Productivity Award.

Hostos staff also won the Productivity Award in 2011 for developing an electronic reservation system for its Smart Classrooms.

About Hostos Community College:
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in 1970 to more than 7,000 students in 2012. The college also serves an additional 12,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.

Media Contact:
Soldanela Rivera - srlopez@hostos.cuny.edu
Rich Pietras – rpietras@hostos.cuny.edu
Phone: 718-518-6872 or 917-627-9097 or 718-518-6513

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