Maintained for Historical Purposes

This resource is being maintained for historical purposes only and is not currently applicable.

(GEN-95-53) This letter describes the Title IV Wide Area Network (WAN) services, the receipt of Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) through the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) or the Applicant Data Service (but NOT both), and applicable enro

DCLPublicationDate: 11/1/95
DCLID: GEN-95-53
AwardYear: 1996-1997
Summary: This letter describes the Title IV Wide Area Network (WAN) services, the receipt of Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) through the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) or the Applicant Data Service (but NOT both), and applicable enrollment procedures.


Action Letter #4
November 1995

GEN-95-53

SUMMARY: This letter describes the Title IV Wide Area Network
(WAN) services, the receipt of Institutional Student Information
Records (ISIRs) through the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) or the
Applicant Data Service (but NOT both), and applicable enrollment
procedures.


Dear Financial Aid Administrator:

The U. S. Department of Education (ED) is pleased to announce that
the Title IV Wide Area Network (WAN) contract was awarded to
National Computer Systems (NCS) on July 14, 1995. GE
Information Services (GEIS) will be the network provider for the
Title IV WAN.

The Title IV WAN will soon replace the General Electronic Support
(GES) network currently used to transmit and receive Title IV data.
As does the current GES, the Title IV WAN will transmit Electronic
Data Exchange (EDE), Direct Loan, and NSLDS data.

This letter introduces you to the services of the Title IV WAN,
provides enrollment information and instructions for the Title IV
WAN, describes the changes in the Institution Applicant Data
Service, and gives information concerning the upcoming EDE user
conferences.


What Services does the Title IV WAN Provide?

The Title IV WAN provides three basic services that allow you to:

- Send and receive files of financial aid data. This service is called
Electronic Data Exchange (EDE).

- Access bulletin boards and electronic mail. This service is called
OPEnet.

- Access Title IV data bases, such as the CPS and NSLDS, in an on-
line mode. This service is called Query.

EDE establishes a link between ED's Title IV databases--the CPS,
NSLDS, and Direct Loan System--and participating institutions and
servicers. Currently, almost 7,000 schools benefit from the speed
and ease of EDE. EDE allows participants to perform one or more
of the following functions:

- Complete and send electronic initial and renewal applications

- Receive electronic Institutional Student Information Records
(ISIRs)

- Make electronic corrections

- Send and receive electronic payment information for Federal Pell
Grant recipients

- Receive electronic Statements of Account for the Federal Pell
Grant program

- Transmit to, and receive data from, the Direct Loan servicer to
originate, drawdown, disburse, reconcile, and report student status
for the Direct Loan program

- Transmit to, and receive data from, the NSLDS

Institutions may submit and receive data electronically using a
mainframe or personal computer. The site responsible for
transmitting and retrieving the data from the network is called the
destination point. A school may become a destination point or
acquire Title IV WAN services through existing destination points
known as servicers.

EDE uses file store-and-forward data transmission for the processing
functions listed above. Using software provided at no cost by ED, a
destination point sends batches of formatted records to the network.
The transmissions are stored there until one of the Title IV
Application Systems (CPS, NSLDS, or the Direct Loan Servicer)
retrieves them. The data is processed and the results are sent back to
the network, from which the destination point can retrieve them.

OPEnet, under the Title IV WAN, is a PC based Bulletin Board and
E-mail system that gives schools access to one another, the Internet,
and a wealth of ED information. OPEnet is available in both DOS
and Windows versions. Every school that signs up with the Title IV
WAN will automatically receive the OPEnet DOS software and
User's Guide. Those who request the Windows version will receive
that software and User's Guide as well. The first copy of either the
DOS or Windows software and User's Guide will be paid for by ED.
There is no monthly service charge, but all schools will pay for the
time they spend connected to the network.

The E-mail part of OPEnet will enable users to send messages to
other OPEnet users, including ED, and the Title IV WAN contractor.
Users will also be able to send messages to and receive messages
from the Internet.

The Bulletin Board system of OPEnet will provide access to such
things as Federal regulations, Dear Colleague letters, policy
directives, and information about special initiatives of agencies and
institutions.

Query gives Title IV WAN users access to Title IV databases as well
as to account information on the Title IV WAN. The On-line Query
consists of a series of screens, accessed from an initial menu, that
will allow users to take advantage of its interactive access. Through
one connection, authorized users will have access to the Title IV
databases as well as their own Title IV WAN information.

Using Query, Title IV WAN destination points will be able to:

- Access Title IV databases such as the CPS, NSLDS, and Direct
Loan depending on their authorization.

- View transmission history that is updated continuously rather than
every 24 hours.

- See when products were shipped to them.

- Browse on-line destination information.

- See what institutions they service, if any.

In addition, Title IV WAN customers will be able to:

- View their own billing information for past months and even see
charges as they are added to their current month's invoice.

- View destination information of destinations for which they have
assumed payment responsibility, if any.


Title IV WAN Highlights and Enhancements

The Title IV WAN will provide improved technological advances
and services in many areas that will benefit the Title IV user
community.

- NEW NETWORK PROVIDER - GE INFORMATION
SERVICES (GEIS). GE Information Services, a recognized
network leader, will team with NCS to deliver the Title IV WAN
by providing the telecommunications network.

- ENHANCED MAINFRAME SUPPORT. Mainframe users with
SNI capability will be able to communicate with the Title IV
WAN at speeds up to 56 kbps. Bisync mainframe users will be
supported at speeds up to 14.4 kbps.

We have also established a knowledgeable team to help
mainframe users become operational on the new network. In
addition, special emphasis will be given to mainframe users at the
two user conferences offered this fall to our users.

- HIGHER PC NETWORK ACCESS SPEEDS. PC users will be
able to communicate with the Title IV WAN at higher speeds.

- FILE TRANSFER CAPABILITY. The Title IV WAN supports
file transfer data transmission which allows records to be
transmitted at actual length. This eliminates the need to block and
de-block records into 79 byte records.

- INTEGRATED PC SOFTWARE. Users will be provided with an
integrated PC software package that will provide access to all Title
IV WAN systems, including the Bulletin Board and E-mail
system and On-line Query. Users will not be required to purchase
additional software to access these systems.

- ENHANCED PC INTERFACE SOFTWARE. The PC interface
software has been enhanced to make using the Title IV WAN
easier, more flexible, and more efficient.

The software can query a user's store-and-forward mailbox and
receive a list of all messages waiting to be received. The user can
then choose any or all of these messages to be downloaded to their
PC.

Restart capability has been added so that if transmission is
interrupted, it can be restarted where it left off rather than at the
beginning.

User definable fields allow the user to specify a path for each
message class to be sent from or received to, rather than always
using one default path for all message classes. Of course, the
option to use one default path is still available.

- ENHANCED ON-LINE SYSTEMS. Users of the Title IV WAN
will have greater on-line access to network transmission history
and billing information. Destinations will be able to browse
participation information for institutions they service. Customers
will be able to view invoices for past months as well as the invoice
in progress for the current month.

- ENHANCED CUSTOMER SERVICE. Customer Service, under
the Title IV WAN, will also be enhanced to meet the increasing
demands of the financial aid community. There will be a toll free
800 number for all customers needing assistance as well as
expanded hours of phone coverage and an automated voice
response system that will offer help even when the Network
Operations Center is closed.

- NO MONTHLY SERVICE CHARGE. There will be no monthly
service charge for handling invoices.

- ARCHIVE CHARGES HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED. Data will
reside in your mailbox for 180 days or until you have received it.
You will no longer be charged to archive the data after 27 days.
In addition, data received from your mailbox can be easily
restored to your mailbox by calling Title IV WAN Customer
Service.

- ENHANCED BILLING FLEXIBILITY. Under the Title IV
WAN, users who have more than one destination point incurring
charges will be able to receive one invoice consolidating charges
for all their destination points.


Who is Eligible to Enroll in Title IV WAN?

EDE is available to any postsecondary institution that participates in
at least one of the Title IV programs and to organizations providing
services to such institutions. OPEnet and Query are available to any
organization, including state educational agencies, scholarship
agencies, lenders, guaranty agencies, and need analysis servicers.

For those institutions who choose not to receive applicant data
through the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) on the Title IV WAN,
the U. S. Department of Education makes applicant data available on
tapes or cartridges from the CPS through the Applicant Data Service.

This service is similar to what was provided for 1995-96, but with
one significant change: INSTITUTIONS MUST CHOOSE
WHETHER TO RECEIVE ISIRS THROUGH THIS SERVICE OR
EDE. INSTITUTIONS WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO USE
BOTH EDE AND THE APPLICANT DATA SERVICE. However,
you may choose to receive your ISIRs through the Applicant Data
Service and still enroll for OPEnet and Query through the Title IV
WAN.


How Do I Enroll?

Institutions subscribing to any service--EDE, OPEnet, and Query--
must complete and sign both a Customer Initiation Document
(Enclosure A) and Letter of Application (Enclosure B) indicating the
desired services and agreeing to share the cost of the services
provided by the Title IV WAN.

To use EDE or Direct Loan, schools must also complete and submit
a signed Electronic Data Exchange/Direct Loan Participation
Agreement (Enclosure G). EDE destination points acting as
servicers to institutions must complete and sign a Participation
Agreement for each school they service. FOR 1996-97, YOU
CANNOT ENROLL IN BOTH EDE AND THE INSTITUTION
APPLICANT DATA SERVICE. YOU MUST ENROLL IN ONE
OR THE OTHER.

All documents, including the Customer Initiation Document, Letter
of Application, Participation Agreement, Mainframe Requirements
Document, and Applicant Data Service Option Request Form must
be mailed to:

Title IV WAN Customer Service
PO Box 30
Iowa City, IA 52244


NOTE: YOU SHOULD RETURN EITHER A PARTICIPATION
AGREEMENT OR AN APPLICANT DATA SERVICE
OPTION REQUEST FORM. PLEASE DO NOT
RETURN BOTH FORMS; YOU CANNOT SIGN UP
FOR BOTH EDE AND THE INSTITUTION
APPLICANT DATA SERVICE.

If you have any questions regarding enrollment, please call Title IV
WAN Customer Service at (800) 615-1189.


When Can I Enroll?

Eligible organizations may enroll anytime during the year. There is
no enrollment deadline. EDE subscribers may enroll now for the
1995-96 and/or 1996-97 processing cycles by checking the
appropriate boxes on the Letter of Application.


What Happens After I Enroll?

Once a new Title IV WAN subscriber submits the required forms,
the destination contact listed on the Letter of Application is sent, at
no charge, the following:

- Integrated Application Menu (IAM) software that enables the user
to connect to the network, perform the Query functions, and
receive batches of information.

- OPEnet software. All users receive OPEnet software for DOS as a
part of the IAM. Those who request Windows also receive the
Windows version of OPEnet at no cost.

- Title IV WAN and OPEnet User's Guide.

- EDExpress software and User's Guide (if enrolling in EDE or
Direct Loan).

- DataPrep software and User's Guide (if subscribing to NSLDS
services).

In addition, the technical contact receives:

- The Electronic Data Exchange Technical Reference (if enrolling
in EDE).

- The Direct Loan Technical Reference (if enrolled in Direct Loan).

It is not necessary to purchase any additional software to connect to
the on-line Query service or to use OPEnet. Users are only charged
for any additional copies of the software that they choose to order.


Mainframe Support

A special feature of the Title IV WAN will be increased mainframe
support. To assist ED in planning for the transition, please complete
the enclosed Mainframe Requirements Document (Enclosure D) if
you plan to communicate with the Title IV WAN in any way other
than using a PC. Your answers will help us identify your software
and support needs thus making your transition to the Title IV WAN
quicker and easier. We have assembled a staff of dedicated
professionals who are specifically trained to assist you in becoming
operational on the Title IV WAN. They will use your responses on
the document to assess your requirements and give you support
throughout the transition process.

If you have any questions concerning the Mainframe Requirements
Document, please call us at 800-638-8730, extension 4391. This
number will only be available during the transition from the GES to
the Title IV WAN.

Please complete the Mainframe Requirements Document and mail it
along with your Customer Initiation Document, Letter of
Application, and Participation Agreement. These documents, along
with instructions for completing them, are attached to the end of this
letter.


What Computer Equipment Do I Need?

MAINFRAME USERS are supported by the Title IV WAN. If you
indicate mainframe computer on the Letter of Application and return
a Mainframe Requirements Document, you will be sent
communications software in IEBCOPY format, on tape or cassette,
which runs on an IBM or IBM-compatible mainframe with an MVS
operating system. You will also receive a mainframe user's guide
that will address communications protocols. NSLDS subscribers
also have the option of requesting a mainframe version of DataPrep
which operates in an IBM MVS environment.

Call Title IV WAN Customer service at (800) 615-1189 if you have
any questions about operating in a mainframe environment.

PERSONAL COMPUTER USERS must have the following
equipment to connect to the network:

- IBM or fully IBM-compatible PC with at least a 80386 processor.

- MS-DOS version 3.3 or higher.

- 512 K of conventional RAM available.

- 4 MB of expanded memory.

- At least 30 MB of available hard disk space for the software with
additional space required to store your information. The amount
of space required will depend upon the number of records you
process.

- 3 1/2" floppy disk drive (high density).

- 3 1/2" high-density double-sided diskettes formatted using DOS.

- 9600, 2400, or 1200 baud Hayes or fully Hayes-compatible
asynchronous modem.

- Dedicated phone line.

- Printer capable of printing on standard paper.

However, we RECOMMEND the following configuration:

- IBM or fully IBM-compatible PC with at least a 486DX2, 66MHz
processor.

- MS-DOS version 5.0 or higher.

- 620 K of conventional RAM available.

- 16 MB of expanded memory.

- At least 300 MB of available hard disk space for the software with
additional space required to store your information. The amount
of space required will depend upon the number of records you
process.

- 3 1/2" floppy disk drive (high density).

- 3 1/2" high-density double-sided diskettes formatted using DOS.

- 9600 baud Hayes or fully Hayes-compatible asynchronous
modem.


How Much Will It Cost?

The purchase of equipment is one cost to consider when enrolling in
the Title IV WAN. Another is the bill for network services you will
receive monthly if you participate in certain functions. Once you
enroll, three copies of your invoice will be sent within 10 working
days after the end of each month in which you had billable activity.
The billable services are listed on the Fees For Title IV WAN
Services schedule (Enclosure F).

- There is no monthly service charge for using Title IV WAN.

- First-time users, those not converting from the GES, are charged
$18.61 for the processing of the Letter of Application.

- Users are charged $15.65 for the processing of the Participation
Agreement.

- There is no monthly service charge for OPEnet. Users will only
be charged for the time they spend connected to the network.

- Users are charged $12.07 for each telephone call.

The network transmission costs for most types of records are free to
the user (e.g., electronic ISIRs and electronic applications, including
renewal applications). Users pay a per kilocharacter fee for certain
transmissions including electronic corrections to the CPS and Pell
Grant Payment information. Transmitting this type of data during
non-prime hours (5 p.m. to 8 a.m. your time) will assure considerable
savings.

With ED paying for so many of the expenses, we are convinced that
Title IV WAN users will discover that the costs of participating will
be far outweighed by the benefits each school will derive from the
Title IV WAN.

We are please to announce the beginning of the Title IV WAN and
are excited about the enhancements planned for the 1995-96 award
year. We look forward to welcoming you as a participant in the Title
IV WAN.


National Student Loan Data System

Users can expect to receive another action letter in the near future
with information concerning the National Student Loan Data System
(NSLDS). This letter will contain enrollment documents and
instructions.

Institution Applicant Data Service

The Department of Education makes applicant data in the form of
ISIRs available to your institution free of charge up to 40 times
during the processing for an award year. All institutions eligible to
participate in Title IV Federal student aid programs may request and
receive applicant data in the form of ISIRS through this service.
REMEMBER THAT PARTICIPATING IN THIS SERVICE
PROHIBITS YOU FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE EDE
SERVICE.

This 1996-97 ISIR output is available on tape or cartridge magnetic
media, and is similar to that provided for 1995-96, but with changes.
Enclosure I provides more detailed information concerning the
Applicant Data Service, including the dates on which output will be
produced and mailed.

Institutions requesting ISIRs under this service for the 1996-97
award year are required to submit a new Option Request Form
(Enclosure J). Institutions who are currently receiving applicant data
service ISIRs for the 1995-96 award year will continue to receive
their 1995-96 ISIRs according to the request currently on file at CPS.

YOUR FIRST 1996-97 TAPE OR CARTRIDGE WILL BE
CUMULATIVE: IT WILL CONTAIN ALL APPLICANTS
SPECIFYING YOUR INSTITUTION ON THEIR LATEST
OFFICIAL TRANSACTION SINCE PROCESSING START UP.
EACH SUBSEQUENT TAPE OR CARTRIDGE WILL NOT BE
CUMULATIVE, BUT WILL PROVIDE ISIRS ONLY FOR THOSE
APPLICANTS WHO INDICATED YOUR INSTITUTION AND
HAVE SUBMITTED A TRANSACTION TO THE CPS SINCE
YOUR LAST TAPE OR CARTRIDGE WAS PRODUCED.

The format of the 1996-97 ISIR is provided in Enclosure K.
Additional materials to assist you in reading the tapes or cartridges
and in using the data contained in the ISIR will be forwarded under
separate cover.

Note that the applicant data service, EDE, and the Federal Pell Grant
Recipient Data Exchange (RDE) are separate and distinct processes.
The Applicant Data Service provides you ISIRs from the CPS via
tape or cartridge media. RDE allows you to submit payment voucher
data to the Department on magnetic tape. EDE gives you the ability
to receive and transmit both ISIRs and payment information
electronically via the Title IV WAN. While you may use the
applicant data tapes or cartridges to build a database for use in the
RDE process, a request to receive the applicant data tapes or
cartridges does not allow, nor prohibit, you to participate in RDE.

If you have any questions concerning the Applicant Data Service,
please contact the Customer Service Department for Applicant Data
Service, Federal Student Aid Programs, at (319) 339-6444.


User Conferences

Two EDE user conferences will be offered this fall to help both PC
and Mainframe customers become familiar with the Title IV Wide
Area Network (WAN). These conferences will also include
information on the CPS, NSLDS, Direct Loans, and Pell Payments.
There is no fee to attend these conferences.

The first conference will be held at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in
San Francisco, CA, on November 28-30, 1995.

The second conference will be held at the Omni Rosen Hotel in
Orlando, FL, on December 11-13, 1995.

ED plans to offer annual user conferences in the future.

We are excited about the electronic data services we are able to offer
you in the coming year and believe that all users will share our
enthusiasm. If you have any questions concerning enrollment, please
call 1-800-615-1189.


Leo Kornfeld
Senior Advisor to the Secretary


Table of Contents

Enclosure A: Customer Initiation Document

Enclosure B: Letter of Application

Enclosure C: Instructions for enrollment documents**

Enclosure D: Mainframe Requirements Document

Enclosure E: Instructions for Mainframe Requirements Document**

Enclosure F: Fee Schedule for Title IV WAN Services*1*

Enclosure G: Participation Agreement**

Enclosure H: Instructions for the Participation Agreement**

Enclosure I: Applicant Data Service Option Request Form**

Enclosure J: Institution Applicant Data Service Description

Enclosure K: ISIR Layout


*1* Schools participating in the Direct Loan program are not
charged for Title IV WAN services but will receive a bill for OPEnet
connect time.

** These enclosures are also available for viewing and downloading from the
SFA BBS. Please select those entries for this additional information.

Last Modified: 10/31/1995