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(96-G-291) (96-G-291) This letter describes the implementation of the Student Status Confirmation Report function of the National Student Loan Data System.

DCLPublicationDate: 9/1/96
DCLID: 96-G-291
AwardYear:
Summary: This letter describes the implementation of the Student Status Confirmation Report function of the National Student Loan Data System.


September 1996
GEN-96-17
96-L-189
96-G-291


Summary: This letter describes the implementation of the Student
Status Confirmation Report function of the National
Student Loan Data System.


Dear Colleague:

I wish to provide you with important information concerning the
implementation of the Student Status Confirmation Report (SSCR)
function of the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). As
many of you are aware, we announced earlier this year that the SSCR
function of the NSLDS would be fully operational this Fall. In
anticipation of that event, we developed an implementation strategy
that provided schools extra time to work with a "practice" SSCR
file during the Spring and Summer, while continuing to respond to
SSCRs presented to them by their guaranty agency(ies). Special
timeframes were established for Direct Loan schools because
"practice" SSCR was the only way they could inform the Direct Loan
servicer of changes in enrollment status for Direct Loan borrowers.

Because of issues related to Title IV Wide Area Network
(TIV-WAN) connectivity and the NSLDS software, only a few
schools were able to access their "practice" file, and fewer still were
able to complete and return their file successfully. Therefore, in
early July we announced revised plans, which are still in effect. The
revised plans expected Direct Loan schools to return their files by
August 15, 1996 or as soon thereafter as possible, and expect all
other schools to process and return their "practice" files by
October 15, 1996. Furthermore, the revised date for the NSLDS
SSCR to be in a fully operational mode is February, 1997. At that
time, we will inform guaranty agencies that they no longer need to
create and send SSCRs to their schools. Until that time, all schools,
both Direct Loan and FFELP, must continue to return guaranty
agencies' SSCRs according to current regulatory requirements.
Beyond this first NSLDS-generated SSCR the next SSCR will be
sent to Direct Loan schools this Fall and to all other schools after
February 1, 1997. The Fall cycle for Direct Loan schools is
necessary to capture Direct Loan-specific enrollment data.

The attachments to this letter provide an overview of the NSLDS
SSCR process by addressing the following issues:

Why is it Important to Report and Update Enrollment
Information?

Why Use the NSLDS for SSCR Reporting?

What Are the NSLDS SSCR Objectives?

What Schools Must Participate in the SSCR Function?

How will NSLDS SSCR Data be Transmitted?

What is the Schedule for Schools' Receiving SSCR Rosters?

How Will Schools Access NSLDS SSCR Rosters?

Which Borrowers Will Appear on SSCR Rosters?

What are the School's Responsibilities Upon Receiving an SSCR?

What are the Special Definitions Used in the NSLDS SSCR
Process?

What Will the NSLDS Do With the Submitted SSCR Roster?

What Happens to the SSCR Data Submitted by Schools to the
NSLDS?

What is the Implementation Schedule?

Will SSCR Training be Provided?

Whom Can I Call for NSLDS SSCR Help?

We have also provided as an attachment to this letter a series of
Questions and Answers (Q&As) addressing a number of issues that
have been raised by schools over the past several months.

The Department of Education is excited about the implementation of
the SSCR function as a part of the NSLDS and is committed to
assisting schools during this transition from the guaranty
agencies' SSCRs to those created by the NSLDS.

Sincerely,


Elizabeth M. Hicks
Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Student Financial Assistance Programs


Attachments
A - What is the NSLDS SSCR Function?
B - SSCR Questions & Answers


Attachment A

WHAT IS THE NSLDS SSCR FUNCTION?

Why is it Important to Report and Update Enrollment Information?

Because student enrollment status determines the date a federal
loan borrower enters a grace or repayment period, the timing of the
government's payment of interest subsidies, and whether a borrower
is eligible for in-school deferment privileges, timely reporting of
enrollment data for federal student loan borrowers is critical.
The regulations governing the Title IV student aid programs provide
that institutions, lenders, and guaranty agencies monitor and
update the enrollment status of students who receive federal
student loans. One specific regulatory requirement is that
confirmation and updates to enrollment status for borrowers be
provided by the completion of Student Status Confirmation Reports
(SSCR) by schools, [34 CFR 682.401(b)(20)].


Why Use the NSLDS for SSCR Reporting?

In 1994, the Department of Education (ED) began using the National
Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to track and monitor all Title IV
student loans. Now in 1996, in order to enhance and expedite
enrollment reporting, ED has incorporated the SSCR function into
the NSLDS. The new SSCR process will fully automate enrollment
updating and will standardize reporting procedures and formats.
Institutions will benefit from the centralized, electronic SSCR
process, and ED will benefit from more accurate and timely
reporting, as well as greater ease in auditing student enrollment
status.

The rules and data element definitions used for processing SSCRs
from the NSLDS are generally the same as those currently used by
ED and most guaranty agencies. There are, however, two exceptions
that will be discussed in the Definitions section that follows.


What Are the NSLDS SSCR Objectives?

SSCR processing through the NSLDS will:

. Maximize the fiscal integrity of the Title IV loan programs by
moving loans into repayment status in a timely way;

. Protect student entitlements to grace and deferment periods
through improved tracking of enrollment status dates;

. Generate the SSCR Roster File in a standard format based on
standard data elements and definitions;

. Significantly reduce the burden on schools administering Title
IV loan programs; and

. Improve the quality and accessibility of enrollment data for
schools, guaranty agencies, and ED, each of which can obtain
enrollment information for each student having a Federal
Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Federal Direct Loan.


What Schools Must Participate in the SSCR Function?

Institutions participating in any Title IV student aid program must
participate in the NSLDS SSCR function. In addition, any
institution not participating in a Title IV program but which has
been certified eligible to process loan deferments for borrowers
must participate in the NSLDS SSCR function. Institutions may
elect to have a servicer provide the required SSCR data on their
behalf. If a school notifies the NSLDS that it will use a servicer
for SSCR processing, the school will not receive any files from
NSLDS regarding SSCR data; rather the third party servicer will
receive the SSCR roster on behalf of its client institution.


How will NSLDS SSCR Data be Transmitted?

The new SSCR process will be completely electronic. The
Department of Education's Title IV Wide Area Network (Title IV
WAN) will be used by institutions to receive and send SSCR data
electronically. To participate electronically, a school or its
designated servicer must be enrolled with Title IV WAN. Title IV
WAN provides each participant with a network mailbox for storing
and forwarding electronic files from and to the NSLDS. Enrollment
information for Title IV WAN is contained in Action Letter #7, dated
March 1996. Alternatively, such information can be obtained by
calling Title IV WAN Customer Service at 1-800-615-1189.

The Integrated Application Menu (IAM) of the Title IV WAN
software contains two components for SSCR processing:

. EDconnect software, which is the communication software used
to send and receive files from NSLDS; and

. Net*Connect software, which provides on-line access to NSLDS
screens, including SSCR screens.

Title IV WAN's transmission speed is fast enough to accommodate
even the largest school, with many borrowers on its SSCR.*1* PC
based institutions can transmit at 28.8 KB/second and mainframe
institutions can transmit at 56 KB/second.


What is the Schedule for Schools' Receiving SSCR Rosters?

NSLDS will generate an SSCR Roster for each institution up to six
times per year on a schedule chosen by the institution. Schools set
their SSCR schedule through the NSLDS on-line screens, which can
be accessed through the Net*Connect software provided by Title IV
WAN. Schedules for receiving SSCRs are month specific; rosters
will be placed in a school's Title IV WAN mailbox the first business
day of the selected month. When setting their schedule, schools
must comply with the following:

. Schools can choose to receive up to six SSCRs per year,

. Schools must choose to receive at least two SSCRs per 12 month
period,

. Rosters may not be scheduled in consecutive months,

. Term based schools (semester, quarter, and trimester) must
request at least one SSCR each regular term, and

. If fewer than four rosters are scheduled, they must be at
least four months apart.

The Department of Education recommends that institutions schedule
an SSCR cycle every other month during the academic year in order
to eliminate the need for ad hoc reporting (specific reporting
outside a school's normal cycle). Institutions may change their
schedule at any time, as long as they meet the minimum of two
reporting cycles per year and the other rules noted above.

The following table shows recommended SSCR cycle months for
schools on different academic calendars.
__________________________________________

Recommended SSCR Cycle Dates

Semester Schools Quarter Schools Other Schools

September October October
November December December
January February February
March April April
May or June June June
August
__________________________________________


How Will Schools Access NSLDS SSCR Roster Files?

The SSCR Roster, once generated by the NSLDS, will be forwarded
to the institution or its designated servicer. The NSLDS will deposit
the institution's SSCR Roster File in the institution's Title IV
WAN mailbox at the beginning of each month designated by the
institution for receiving an SSCR. The institution will then
access the SSCR file from its Title IV WAN mailbox using either its
mainframe connectivity software or the PC based communications
software, EDconnect, provided by ED as part of Title IV WAN.

An institution is required to provide its enrollment update
responses to the SSCR Roster File within 30 days of the roster's
arrival in the institution's Title IV WAN mailbox. The institution
transmits these changes by depositing the updated Roster File in
its Title IV WAN mailbox, for retrieval by NSLDS.


Which Borrowers Will Appear on SSCR Rosters?

Any borrower that is recorded in the NSLDS database as being
enrolled at a school [Enrollment Statuses 'F' (full-time), 'H'
(half-time), 'L' (less than half-time), or 'A' (authorized leave of
absence)] will be on that school's roster.

To enable the NSLDS to create an accurate baseline of borrower
enrollment, the initial SSCR Roster will very likely contain more
borrowers than subsequent rosters will contain. This is because
the first roster will include borrowers whose Enrollment Status is
not one of those noted above, but who have one or more loans
showing a loan status of "in school or grace" (ID) or "in-school
deferment" (DA). Because such a loan status without one of the
"enrolled" Enrollment Status Codes is not logical, such a borrower
will be included on the initial SSCR Roster for all schools that
ever processed a loan or a loan deferment for the borrower, so that
the ambiguity can be resolved.

For SSCR production cycles beginning in February 1997, borrowers
with Enrollment Statuses of 'F', 'H', 'L', or 'A' will be included
on the roster of the school of record. In addition, if a borrower's
Enrollment Status is not one of the above, but the Loan Status Code
is 'ID' or 'DA', only the last school attended will receive the student.
Such students will be dropped from the roster after 180 days or when
the loan status code changes, whichever comes first. When these
subsequent rosters are transmitted by the NSLDS, schools will be
asked to supply an address and enrollment status only if the student
is either currently enrolled or left the institution within the last six months.
If no record of the borrower is found, schools should use the enrollment
code 'Z' (no record found).


What are the School's Responsibilities Upon Receiving an SSCR?

Upon receipt of the SSCR Roster File, the school must:

1. Match the Roster File against enrollment records;

2. Update each student's enrollment status and enrollment status
effective date (see Special Definitions below regarding this
date);

3. Propose changes to student identifiers (student SSN, last
name, first name, middle initial, and birth date) as needed;

4. Update or add student address data as needed (see definitions
below regarding addresses);

5. Add new students to the Roster File as needed;

6. Return the updated SSCR Roster File, which will become the
SSCR Submittal File, to the NSLDS within 30 days of the date
the SSCR Roster File was sent to the institution; and

7. Retrieve and process the Error Notification Roster provided by
the NSLDS (See # 4 below).


What Will the NSLDS Do With the Submitted SSCR Roster?

Upon receipt of the SSCR Submittal Files from institutions, NSLDS
will:

1. Error check the Submittal File;

2. Update the NSLDS database with enrollment status changes
provided on the SSCR;

3. Capture proposed student identifier changes and new or changed
address data;

4. Return to the school the SSCR Error Notification File, which
includes any submitted records that contained errors. The
Error Notification File contains a count of accepted records
and error records from the submitted SSCR. It will be created
even if there are no errors to report and will serve as proof
that the school returned its SSCR to the NSLDS. Schools
should retain a copy of the Error Notification File for
possible auditing purposes.

5. On a weekly basis, forward new and changed data to each
affected guaranty agency or to the Direct Loan servicer;

6. Once full NSLDS SSCR processing commences, the Department
will assume responsibility for monitoring schools' SSCR
compliance.


What are the Special Definitions Used in the NSLDS SSCR Process?

A. DATE ENROLLMENT STATUS EFFECTIVE - The value of
this item is the date the student began CONTINUOUS enrollment
in his or her current enrollment status. It is not necessarily the
beginning of the current term. For example, if a student
began enrollment as a half-time student two years ago and has
remained half-time up to the current term, the Date Enrollment
Status Effective is the first day of the term that began two
years ago, not the beginning of the current term. It is
important to properly calculate this item since it could have
an impact upon the student's eligibility for deferments.

ED understands that not all schools' registration systems are
currently capable of determining the Date Enrollment Status
Effective as defined above. Therefore, while we encourage you
to modify systems and procedures to comply with this
definition, if you cannot do so at this time you may do the
following instead:

If a student's current enrollment status is the same as the
status reported to you on the SSCR received from the NSLDS,
and the value of the Date Enrollment Status Effective field on
the SSCR is a date in the past, do not change the field unless
you are certain it is incorrect. In such case, please provide
the correct date.

If no value is provided for the Date Enrollment Status
Effective field on the SSCR and you cannot provide the actual
date as defined above, please supply the date the current
enrollment period began.

B. PERMANENT ADDRESS - Schools must update borrowers'
addresses as reported on the SSCR received from the NSLDS.
The SSCR will show the address last reported for a borrower so
that the school can determine if the address must be updated. If
no address appears on a roster for a borrower, the school must
provide the address.

Note that the first "practice" SSCR roster will not include
any addresses, so schools should provide their latest address
for a borrower. However, for the first and all subsequent
rosters, schools need not provide or update an address for
students who graduated or withdrew from the school more than
180 days prior to the reporting date. The Department does not
expect schools to research old paper or archived files in
order to provide this information. Schools are required to
supply or update an address only if the student is currently
enrolled or left the institution within the last six months.


What Happens to the SSCR Data Submitted by Schools to the
NSLDS?

NSLDS will send SSCR files to guaranty agencies and the Direct
Loan servicer on a weekly basis. The files contain data from all
SSCRs submitted during the previous week, and from all on-line
transactions made directly into the NSLDS. Guaranty agencies will
update loan records with the new data and pass the updated
information to lenders. The Direct Loan servicer and the FFELP
lenders will decide whether to use updated address information
provided to them.


What is the Implementation Schedule?

Beginning the first week of April 1996, electronic NSLDS SSCR
rosters were sent to all Direct Loan schools since they had already
established their Title IV WAN SSCR destination point(s). FFELP
schools began receiving their SSCRs in July following their
registration for SSCR through Title IV WAN.

Rosters continue to be sent to FFEL schools as they complete the
Title IV WAN registration materials contained in Action Letter #7.
Federal Direct Loan schools should have returned this
SSCR to NSLDS by August 15, 1996 and Federal Family Education
Loan schools should return the roster by October 15, 1996.

Beginning in February 1997, NSLDS will transmit SSCR Roster
Files to schools according to the schedule chosen by a school. If a
school does not establish its own schedule, the NSLDS will send
rosters every other month (the recommended schedule).

Until at least February, guaranty agencies will continue sending
their SSCR requests directly to schools. All schools must respond
to these requests using the normal guaranty agency timetable. The
Department will release a "Dear Colleague" letter designating the
date guaranty agencies will cease sending SSCR requests to schools
for processing.


Will SSCR Training be Provided?

Training on the new SSCR function of the NSLDS is being
accomplished in two ways. In February 1996, the NSLDS Division
began conducting sessions for guaranty agency personnel. Those
1-day sessions were primarily to prepare guaranty agency trainers to
train affiliated school users on the SSCR process. The second
training method is a self-paced tutorial, called NSLDS Computer
Based Training, which was distributed to all schools and guaranty
agencies in early May 1996. Finally, the NSLDS Division released
an SSCR User's Guide this past winter.


Whom Can I Call for NSLDS SSCR Help?

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding the
NSLDS SSCR process, you may either write to ED directly at the
address given below or telephone the NSLDS Customer Service
Center at 1-800-999-8219 during the hours 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Central time, weekdays except federal holidays.

National Student Loan Data System
U.S. Department of Education
7th & D Street SW
ROB-3, Room 4640
Washington, D.C. 20202


ATTACHMENT B

SSCR QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

These Questions & Answers (Q&As) are intended to provide schools
with responses to some of the most commonly asked questions
related to the NSLDS SSCR process.

Q1. When will I receive my next SSCR file?

A1. It depends on whether you are a Direct Loan school or a FFEL
school. Direct Loan schools will receive a roster in the
Fall. FFEL schools will not receive another SSCR roster
until after February 1.

NSLDS has established schedules for all schools to receive
SSCR files. These schedules provide that all schools will
receive an SSCR every two months. If you want to change the
default cycles, please make the change at least 10 days
before the scheduled delivery of your roster. You may make
the change by using the NSLDS SSCR on-line screens.

Q2. When will I receive my error/acknowledgment file?

A2. We expect to begin processing error/acknowledgment files in
early September for those SSCRs that have already been
submitted by schools. We then will process SSCRs and
provide error/acknowledgment on an ongoing basis as they are
provided by the schools.

Q3. Can I submit a file to NSLDS that consists entirely of
added records?

A3. Yes. Please be sure to use a file type of "A" in the header
record if you want to submit a file consisting of all ad hoc
records (See the SSCR User's Guide).

Q4. If I make updates using the on-line screens, do I have to
include those students on the roster? Will they appear as
errors?

A4. No, you do not have to include the students on your returned
rosters. All on-line transactions are reviewed prior to
updating your school's SSCR file. On-line transactions are
considered as a timely response to the roster.

Q5. I am using a servicer. How do I know if my SSCR has been
completed?

A5. You need to contact your servicer to ensure that they are
completing your SSCR according to the program requirements.
When the NSLDS starts monitoring compliance with SSCR
submission rules, any notices of non-performance will be
sent to the school and not to the servicer.

Q6. Can I establish a separate Title IV WAN destination
point in the Registrar's Office?

A6. Yes. Schools are encouraged to establish multiple
destination points. The financial aid office can have
a destination point to receive ISIRs; and the
Registrar's Office, another destination point to
exchange SSCR data (See Action Letter #7).

Q7. If I want to designate a servicer, or change servicers,
do I need to complete a new Title IV WAN Participation
Agreement?

A7. No. If you have on-line access and the servicer is
already an NSLDS servicer, you can use the on-line
screens to designate or change servicers.

Q8. What training materials are available to learn about
the on-line screens?

A8. A user guide entitled, "The Paperless Link" was sent to
all schools in May. It provides a step by step
approach to all NSLDS on-line screens. Also included
in this guide was a computer based training diskette.
This diskette is a tutorial for the screens. If your
institution did not receive this mailing, please call
NSLDS Customer Service at (800) 999-8219.

Q9. Who is responsible for submitting SSCR roster data on a
student who is attending a host school while a regular
student at the home school that awarded Title IV aid?

A9. Since NSLDS records are based upon the school that
certified a student's enrollment, or originated a
student's loan(s), or provided deferment documentation,
NSLDS would not know about a student's temporary
attendance at a school other than the student's home
school. Therefore, it is the home school that will
receive the student's record on its SSCR. It is that
school's responsibility to report accurately the
enrollment status, even if the student is currently in
attendance elsewhere.

Q10. I am having problems using EDExpress for
processing SSCRs.

A10. The following steps are recommended for using
EDExpress for the NSLDS SSCR process.

The following steps are recommended for using EDExpress
for the NSLDS SSCR process:

1. Go to SSCR Setup and set the compare flag to "yes."

2. Import the SSCR file with the compare option on.
All SSCR records that match records currently on your
EDExpress database will have all required status and
address information available pulled into the SSCR
database. If records are skipped during the import
process because of bad data, keep a copy of the import
edit list and instructions will be provided later on
how to handle these records.

3. Print the SSCR list. This list will show the
borrower identifier information, required information,
and SSCR status. If a record has all required
information present after the import, the SSCR status
will be set to "R" for Ready To Send. For records
with an "R" status where the information is accurate,
nothing more needs to be done until export. For those
where the information is not accurate, you must open
the record and provide the accurate data.

4. For records where the status is not "R", you will
need to supply the missing information. The status
will automatically change to "R" when you save the
record if all information is present. There are four
methods to supply missing information:

A. Select File/Open SSCR, choose the SSN of the
record you wish to update, modify the record, and
save it.

B. Create a user-defined query to identify a
group of records to which you want to apply the
same required information. Do this by setting up
the query and executing it under Open/SSCR
Multiple Entry.

C. If you have a group of records that cannot be
identified and grouped via a query but need the
same required information applied to them, go to
Open/SSCR Multiple Entry and enter the required
information and select Multiple SSNs. This will allow
you to enter just the SSNs of all the records you
wish to update.

D. If the missing information is present on an
external system, you can create an import change
file to contain the information you want updated
on selected records. Import this file, and if all
required information is then present on the
database, the status of each record will be set to "R".

5. When all records have a status of "R", the file can
be exported.

If you have any questions about using EDExpress for
SSCR purposes, please call Direct Loan Technical
Customer Service at (800) 330-5947, Option 3. If you
have technical questions about the SSCR process in
general, please call NSLDS Customer Service at
(800) 999-8219.


*1* A magnetic tape option is nevertheless available to those schools
desiring it. There will be constraints, however. Once the NSLDS
function becomes fully operational, tapes will have to be received by
NSLDS within 30 days of the start of the reporting cycle. Also, error
files sent via tape will have to be returned to NSLDS within 10 days
of generation by NSLDS.

Last Modified: 08/31/1996