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(SG-95-04) This letter describes the telecommunications services provided to State and Non-state Guaranty Agencies under the Title IV Wide Area Network (WAN) system, the receipt of Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) through EDE or the Appl

DCLPublicationDate: 11/1/95
DCLID: SG-95-4
AwardYear: 1996-1997
Summary: This letter describes the telecommunications services provided to State and Non-state Guaranty Agencies under the Title IV Wide Area Network (WAN) system, the receipt of Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) through EDE or the Applicant
Data Service (but not both), and applicable enrollment procedures.


Action Letter #5
November 1995

SG-95-4

SUMMARY: This letter describes the telecommunications services
provided to State and Non-state Guaranty Agencies under the Title
IV Wide Area Network (WAN) system, the receipt of Institutional
Student Information Records (ISIRs) through EDE or the Applicant
Data Service (but not both), and applicable enrollment procedures.

Dear State Agency Director:

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 State Agency 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:

- 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.

Through EDE, your agency is eligible to electronically receive
processed applicant data. As a participant in EDE you may receive
data for 1) residents (those who indicate your state as their state of
legal residence) and/or 2) non-residents (those who indicate an
institution that is within your state but do not indicate your state as
their state of legal residence). You may also receive data for
individual students who do not meet either of these two conditions as
long as you have, and maintain, a signed form whereby the students
release their data to you.

There are three ways for you to obtain processed student data:

- Automatic ISIRs
- Year-to-Date Data Requests
- Federal Data Requests (FDR)

With the Automatic Electronic Institutional Student Information
Record (ISIR) option, when students submit applications and
corrections, electronic versions of the ISIR from these transactions
are automatically transmitted to you on a daily basis. You may
request the data from the CPS in one of two ISIR formats, full or
abbreviated, described as follows:

FULL
This ISIR format is 1343 bytes in length and represents complete
information submitted by the student as well as CPS processing
results. If a student does not release data to your state, only
certain demographic and processing result fields are provided in
the ISIR you receive.

ABBREVIATED
This ISIR format is a shortened form of the full format, designed
to provide a subset of key data. It is 237 bytes in length.

Year-to-Date requests provide you with the ability to receive
electronic ISIRs from any official transaction processed to date by
the CPS. For example, if you become operational to receive ISIRs
after the CPS cycle start-up, you may request ISIRs for those
students who were processed since that time. Like automatic ISIR
processing, you may request the data in either full or abbreviated
format. Your data can be returned to you electronically, over the
Title IV WAN, or via first class mail on magnetic tape or cartridge.
Year-to-Date requests will only be handled using Query through the
Title IV WAN. You will be billed for both processing and
transmission costs.

The Federal Data Request (FDR) process allows any State or Non-
state Guaranty Agency to electronically request a processed record
for any student on the CPS database. If the student is not a resident
of the state or attending an institution in the state, the student must
have signed a loan or state grant application that releases CPS data to
the agency. The signed application must be maintained by the
agency.

To request an applicant's record, you transmit, via the Title IV WAN,
the applicant's Social Security number and first two letters of his or
her last name. If data is not on file for the applicant, you will receive
an electronic notice informing you that it is not on file. The CPS will
retain this request for 30 calendar days and either (1) forward the
applicant's ISIR record to you if it is received within the 30-day
period or (2) send a record back to you stating that the application
has not been received within the 30-day period.

EDE uses a file store-and-forward data transmission methodology.
As applications and corrections are processed, the CPS transmits the
applicant data to the Title IV WAN where it is stored for destination
point retrieval. For FDRs, the destination point sends requests to the
network from where the CPS retrieves them. The requests are
processed, as described above, and the results are sent back to the
network, from where the destination point can retrieve them.

ED provides the software at no cost to you to perform these
transmission and retrieval functions. The two packages provided by
ED are:

- IAM/EDconnect/NET*CONNECT

This software handles the communication between you and the
Title IV WAN and gives you the ability to perform Query
functions. OPEnet for DOS is included in this package of
software.

- EDExpress

Enables you to manage the Title IV applicant data provided by ED
under the previously described services.

The two remaining Title IV WAN services are:

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 organization 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 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.

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

- Request Year-to-Date data.

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

- See when products were shipped to them.

- Browse on-line destination information.

- 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 for those schools who are
charged for services.

- 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?

All State and Non-state Guaranty Agencies are eligible to use EDE,
OPEnet, and Query. Non-state Guaranty Agencies are limited under
EDE to the FDR service. New EDE users may enroll in EDE for the
1995-96 and1996-97 processing cycles.

For those State Agencies 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: STATE AGENCIES MUST CHOOSE
WHETHER TO RECEIVE ISIRS THROUGH THIS SERVICE OR
EDE. YOU 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?

All State and Non-state Guaranty Agencies 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, State and Non-state Guaranty Agencies must also
complete and submit a signed State Agency Participation Agreement
(Enclosure G). FOR 1996-97, YOU CANNOT ENROLL IN BOTH
EDE AND THE STATE AGENCY 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 STATE AGENCY
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 agencies 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.

In addition, your technical contact receives:

- The Electronic Data Exchange Technical Reference.

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 with 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.

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.

- Dedicated phone line.

- High speed laser Printer.


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.


State Agency Applicant Data Service

The Department of Education makes applicant data in the form of
ISIRs available to your state agency free of charge up to 40 times
during the processing for an award year. REMEMBER THAT
PARTICIPATING IN THIS SERVICE PROHIBITS YOU FROM
PARTICIPATING IN THE EDE SERVICE. You are provided
complete applicant data on those students who indicate on their
application that your state is their state of legal residence and/or that
they may attend an institution in your state. 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.

All state agencies requesting ISIRs under this service for the 1996-97
award year are required to submit a new OPTION REQUEST FORM
(Enclosure J). State agencies which are 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 STATE OR AN INSTITUTION IN YOUR
STATE ON THEIR LATEST OFFICIAL TRANSACTION SINCE
PROCESSING START UP. EACH SUBSEQUENT TAPE OR
CARTRIDGE WILL NOT BE CUMULATIVE, BUT RATHER
WILL PROVIDE ISIRS ONLY FOR THOSE APPLICANTS WHO
INDICATED YOUR STATE (OR AN INSTITUTION IN YOUR
STATE) 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.

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 for State Agencies

Enclosure H: Instructions for the Participation Agreement

Enclosure I: State Agency Applicant Data Service Description

Enclosure J: Applicant Data Service Option Request Form

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.

Last Modified: 10/31/1995