Costly Mistakes

Oct 212003
Authors: Christiana Nelson

Human error caused 26,000 SMART forms to be reprinted last week,

costing the university hundreds of dollars during a time of extreme

budget cuts.

When the Department of Information Systems initially printed the

SMART forms they were missing information about the increased

enforcement of math and composition account holds and all 26,000

forms had to be reprinted as a result, said Associate Registrar

Nolan Oltjenbruns.

SMART forms contain registration information such as the

earliest date to register for courses, a student’s adviser code and

adviser references for a student’s courses.

“It was a processing error; sometimes these things happen

because we are just human beings,” said Don Hesser, director of

information systems.

Yet, Hesser said that the process of reprinting the forms was


“We discovered the error and it was corrected,” Hesser said.

“The cost was limited to the cost of paper, which is pretty


Reprinting the forms resulted in an overall cost of $264.04 for

the department, a printing cost of one hundredth of one cent per

sheet. The reprint would have cost additional money, but the

staffing and other costs needed to complete the job were already

available in the department, Hesser said.

In contrast, printing 26,000 double-sided copies on standard

sized and standard white paper would cost 3.5 cents a sheet at

Kinko’s, costing $910 for the printing job. The same job would cost

$1,638 at Alphagraphics, including a 10 percent CSU discount.

Bob Kling, an associate professor and adviser for economics,

said the SMART form is an important part of the advising


“They are the first things I look at,” Kling said. “I use the

backside to confirm what (the students) are registered in and to

make sure there are no holes. When I’m advising a whole stack of

students I always look at the SMART form for details.”

Reprinting the 26,000 forms created a one-day delay, but

students will receive SMART forms as planned at their advising

sessions, Oltjenbruns said.

“Processes can occur on a daily basis,” Oltjenbruns said. “We

can recover them by rescheduling for the next day.”

Monica Garcia, a freshman business administration major, said

she is relieved that the SMART forms will be distributed on


“Not having them would have made it harder to register,” Garcia

said. “You’d be sitting there wondering ‘What do I take?’ ‘Will

this help me or hurt me?’ ‘How do I find out if I need this?'”

SMART forms may be important to the registration process, but

the current method of printing SMART forms is outdated, Oltjenbruns


“We are beginning conversations to explore new possibilities of

how students receive their SMART forms because printing them uses a

lot of paper,” Oltjenbruns said.

Regardless of processing errors, Hesser believes that the

reprint was handled effectively because students were never given

inaccurate forms.

“We are big on quality control and making sure that the students

are not adversely effected,” Hesser said. “I believe in this case

we succeeded.”




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