I was responsible for the design and implementation of an automated billing system for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

From 1993-2000, I was the Scholarship Billing Co-ordinator for the Division of Finance Office of Student Accounts and University Receivables (University Cashier) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My responsibilities included scholarship billing during the academic terms

  1. Fall (August - December)
  2. Spring (January - May)
  3. Summer I (May - June)
  4. Summer II (June - August)
for various scholarships.

Historically, billing was done manually. In 1993, the University adopted the Student Information System (SIS), a large mainframe database used by various departments for administrative purposes. Ideally, upon implementation of this database, a systems analyst would have been assigned the task of designing a module dedicated to special scholarship billing; this has not been the case.

Prior to implementation of the database described in this document, scholarship billing relied on 3 large Excel spreadsheets (one each for Athletic Grant-in-Aid, Morehead, and the others listed above). This was a files-based system, with dozens of auxiliary Excel spreadsheets and Word documents used to generate invoices and reports.

That process was unwieldy, time-consuming, and fraught with errors. FOCUS reports generated by SIS were restricted to key personnel. In 1998, the University Cashier's Office obtained Office '97, including Access '97, which marked the first time that end-user database applications were available for use by this position.

I have taken INLS 162: Systems Analysis & Design, INLS 256: Database I, and INLS 258: Database II to learn to design a database system for this purpose. This page documents my efforts to implement an Access '97 database to automate the process, improve efficiency, and take advantage of the information contained in the SIS database.

The database design process consists of the following steps*:

Step Description
1 Requirements collection and analysis
2 Conceptual database design
3 Choice of a DBMS
4 Data model mapping (also called logical database design)
5 Physical database design
6 Database system implementation

*(from Elmasri, Ramez, & Navathe, Shamkant B., Fundamentals of Database Systems, Second Edition, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1994, ISBN 0-8053-1748-1, pages 450-452.)

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Last modified by Blaise Byron Faint on: September 10, 2006