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American University of Afghanistan drives admissions with SunGard

Student admissions module helps AUAF to manage challenges of student enrolment

The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), the first private university in Afghanistan, is rolling out SunGard's PowerCAMPUS to help it manage growing student numbers and courses.

The university, a non-profit organization that is offering business, management, IT and liberal arts courses, is in its second year of operations, and currently has 400 students, with plans to expand to 5,000 students.

The university campus is in Kabul, but aims to attract students from all round Afghanistan, as well as offer some course content online. The SunGard student admissions module will help with management of student admissions, which can face some unique challenges in Afghanistan, according to Dr Thomas M Stauffer, president, CEO and professor of management at AUAF.

"Our team is working to recruit students from outside of Kabul, which in itself is a new approach, but just keeping track the students, who they are, where they are from, often they don't have educational records as they may have been refugees in Pakistan or Iran, can be difficult," he said.

At present the AUAF has only deployed the Admissions module, but it plans to add Academic Records soon, with plans to consider other modules as necessary.

PowerCAMPUS is a Microsoft-based administrative system that includes applications for admissions, academic records, advancement, billing and cash receipts, financial aid, finance, human resources, and portals.

Stauffer said that the AUAF chose SunGard as it was tailored to the size of the university and that its modular nature fit with its growth plans. SunGard's presence in the UAE was also a factor in addressing support requirements.

"I have seen other implementations that were a bit of a disaster, so I am sensitive to that. We are still a small university, we are not buying a package for 50,000 students, we want 5,000 students max, SunGard is designed for that, it will scale, it has the modules we can add when needed, and the price was right," he commented.

The university has just launched what it describes as the most modern website in the country, www.aufu.edu.af  which also acts as an information source for students and prospective students. This can be particularly important to provide reassurance for the parents and family of female students, who may be leaving home for the first time to attend the university, Stauffer explained.

AUAF is also in the process of developing online courses with other universities around the world, which will allow it to offer subjects without having to have its own faulty to deliver them.

"AUAF is the first private university in Afghan history, and we are breaking new ground on a daily basis. We wanted, right from the start, to be as advanced technologically as we can - it is not just about being as high tech as we can be, [technology] is a major enabler in allowing us to get off to a fast start and to get operations running," said Stauffer.

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