Information to Run Your Program

July 2023  ●  Issue #126  ●  SM 8.0.124  ●  AW 3.5.074 / 4.0.074

Directors Coffee & Conversation

July 19 at 12:00 pm (Central Time)

Join us in the ACEware Virtual Café for coffee and conversations with ACEware and your colleagues. This month's conversation is for Unit Directors.

Gift Card Module

July 20 at 2:00pm (Central Time)

Come learn about our Gift Card module, which provides students the option to purchase gift cards online and use them to pay for registrations. 

ACEware New Goodies

This month's New Features webinar, covering all new goodies in Quarter 2, was a big hit with those in attendance! Celebration and love emojis were common in the chat box. You can catch the webinar which includes May, June, and July releases here. See below for highlights from this month's release.

Student Manager

Student Manager 8.0.124 was released on July 10, 2023:

  • You can now reorder columns in many search screens, such as Course, Names, Registrations, and Faculty. 
  • Reinvigorate invoices with the Mass Group feature. 
  • There is a new Add Registration button on the Faculty record.
  • One user's favorite reports to another user from their Student Manager User record. 

See the full list of features and fixes in our Student Manager forum.


ACEweb 3.5.074/4.0.074 was released on July 17, 2023:

  • Added support for the new Payment Plan module.
  • A new Async.ini lets you set the table columns for the Other Courses list in Registration History.
  • Added the PublishDescription setting for use in the Config section of the XCourseStatus.htm template to show the Catalog description when the description is not published to the Web. 
  • Attendance Tracking Users: Attendance records are now created at the time of registration. 
  • Startup errors involving missing session log fields are now written to the daily .txt log file. 
  • **Name record creation is blocked under certain conditions (e.g. links added to Special Needs, unusual character strings in Special Needs, etc.).

See the full list of features and fixes in our ACEweb forum.

**Note from Sharon- This name creation block was implemented as another defense in our constant Bot Battle. Keep in mind, though, that there are also things that can and should be done at the hardware level (Web Server) instead of within the software. For example: At ACEware, we place Cloudflare in front of the server (the free version by the way). You can mention that to your server administrator as another possible solution if you are in a Bot Battle!

New Optional ACEweb Payment Plan Module

When the request for student-generated payment plans was first introduced, I was pretty sure there was no way this could happen. The initial thought was that we could just mimic what was in Student Manager. The problem was that students just couldn't have that much flexibility. If they did, they’d pay off a course just one dollar at a time. Meaning they’d owe you for years. But then I thought, what if someone in the back office could define how many payments to make, and then ACEweb could just generate those for you? How might that work?

Then we had a focus group which many of you attended, and I learned that each individual program handles their payment plans a little differently. There were various rules for when payments were required. Some required full payment prior to the course begin date. Someone threw out that they had students pay every two weeks (yikes!). After taking all of your needs into consideration, here's a look at what we’ve done to hopefully corral this beast:

The first part of this is on the ACEweb Info tab on a Course. There is a field for Payment Plan when you get this module. The field isn’t as important as the Build button which allows you to have a wizard walk you through defining the rules. The steps are:

  1. Percent by Begin Date – This is how much of the remainder after the deposit needs to be paid before the begin date of the course. This needs to be somewhere between 0 (restriction is skipped) and 100 (must fully pay the balance before the course start date).
  2. Number of Payments Past Begin Date – This defines just how long students have before they must pay you, and is probably more useful for courses that last multiple months. It lets them slide a bit while lowering their recurring payment amount. Though if in the first step you said 100, this then become moot, so just put a 0 here. In fact, 0 also means that the payment plan needs to be finished before the begin date. A negative number says they need to finish that many pay periods before the begin of the class. Anything positive gives them that leeway.
  3. Rounding Digits – This step gives you some control in case there are decimals in the division.
  4. Day(s) – This step allows you to specify the day(s) of the month for the payments. For instance, 15 would have the payment plan generate a billing for the 15th of each month. Setting it to 31 would have them pay the last day of the month. You can also use ommas separate the days if you want multiple payments each month. Thus, 15,31 would have them pay the 15th and last day of each month.
  5. Grace Period – This gives the person a break from having two payments back-to-back. For example, they pay the deposit on the 14th, you don’t want them to pay the very next day for their first payment of the payment plan. Put in 30 if you are having them pay once a month or 15 if they are paying twice a month.

One thing you may have realized in reading the rules is that this is tied to the Deposit feature. One consistent thing we heard from the focus group is that something needed to be prepaid before allowing a student to set up a payment plan.

The fact that this is defined on the course level does mean that the student must purchase one course at a time with this feature. Sorry, but there wasn’t much that could be done to allow people to define multiple payment plans at a time without completely messing other things up.

When someone signs up for a course and chooses the payment plan option, they are shown the schedule of payments and dates. They then must opt into that schedule for the payment plan to be generated. This saves them from having to call you to set up the plan, which saves you and your staff time fielding these calls. How much is that time worth to you? Tens of thousands a year? Hundreds of thousands a year? Hey, you'll probably even have more people signing up for these courses since you’ve made it so much easier for them to pay you!

As with many of our optional modules, you can try this out for 90 days to see how well it works for your program (it bet you'll love it!). Contact Sharon or your technician for more information.

Notes from Sharon: We will have a webinar in August dedicated to payment plans in general, and showcasing the upgrade to Student Generated Payment Plans in specific. Sign up here!

Thank you to our focus group representatives from Lee College, Western Suffolk BOCES, and International Center for Photography for their advice on this new feature!

Contributed by Matthew

ACEware Cloud Development Update

Brandon has been busy reworking the UI to use typescript, which is also serving as a regression test for our initial release.


We have laid out the scope of works for a firms module. This module will likely not be included in the initial release, as we want to fully flesh out this important feature. A special thank you to the representatives from the University of California-Berkeley, Lewis-Clark State College, Tri-County Technical College, and Loraine County JVS Adult Career Center for participating in our Focus Group to develop the specifications for this feature.


After completing the typescript refactor, we will be ready to implement our query builder interface into the reporting module.

Contributed by Jason

Tip of the Month: Search Long ACEweb Course Lists

I came across a nice little javascript function that lets you search a long course list. For example, type in the word 'mastering' and see it pull up the list of courses with the word in the title.

You can check it out on the ACEweb Demo.

One note, this is not supported if you are using the All Courses by Group feature (see that option here); it will not expand the individual accordions when searching.

This option will be available with the ACEweb 074 update, on the XShowSchedule.htm template. Be certain to update your template if you want to use this new option.

Contributed by Cheryl

Report of the Month: Course Details With Fees

Does anyone else feel like they blinked and summer ran off without even leaving a note? We’ve somehow reached mid-July, which means that catalog deadlines and fall registration are looming a little closer each day, but before going to print or opening the registration floodgates, we want to make sure that the information we’ve entered into Student Manager is accurate. Lucky for you, there’s a highly detailed report for that!


In Student Manager, navigate to Reports >> Courses >> Course Details (w/fees). Select the default report option, click OK, and pick your query. I recommend choosing something that references course code, especially since our goal is to review all courses for the fall term. If you’re a course coordinator who really only needs to review your assigned courses, then choose a query that references course code and coordinator.


After your query runs, you’ll get output similar to the image below. It has everything: Course code and title, catalog description, assigned grouping codes, fees, instructors, user-defined fields…you name it!


There’s one small caveat, though: This report pulls A LOT of information, so it may take a little while to run. But it’s totally worth it for such a great report, right?

Contributed by Lindsey

To your continued success,

- Chuck, Sharon, Brandon, Cheryl, Jason, Joe, Lindsey, Matthew, Stein, and Susan

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