Summary: This letter describes the telecommunications services provided to State and Non-state Guaranty Agencies under the Title IV Wide Area Network (WAN) services, the receipt of Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) through the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) or the Institution Applicant Data Service (but NOT both), and applicable enrollment procedures.
Action Letter #7
SUMMARY: This letter describes the telecommunications
services provided to State and Non-state Guaranty
Agencies under the Title IV Wide Area Network
(WAN) services, the receipt of Institutional Student
Information Records (ISIRs) through the Electronic
Data Exchange (EDE) or the Institution Applicant
Data Service (but NOT both), and applicable enrollment
Dear State Agency and Non-state Guaranty Agency Director:
The Title IV Wide Area Network (known as Title IV WAN) is the
U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) vehicle for electronically
transmitting and receiving data on financial aid programs authorized
under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The Title IV WAN
transmits data from ED's Electronic Data Exchange (EDE).
This letter details Title IV WAN services, the EDExpress
enhancements for the 1997-98 award year, provides enrollment
information for the Title IV WAN, defines the equipment needs for
your PC, and describes the Institution Applicant Data Service. A
Glossary (Enclosure A) explains terms that are used.
AGENCIES THAT ARE ALREADY ENROLLED IN TITLE IV
WAN AND HAVE NO CHANGES OR ADDITIONS TO MAKE
SHOULD NOT RETURN THE ENROLLMENT DOCUMENTS
INCLUDED IN THIS LETTER. Whether you need to complete
enrollment documents or not, you should examine the enhancements
for the new year, review the equipment recommendations, and
examine the new Title IV WAN price schedule for the 1997-98
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
- Browse on-line destination information. This service is called
Through EDE, you are eligible to receive electronically processed
applicant data. As participants 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
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, electronic versions of the ISIR are
automatically transmitted to you when students submit applications
and corrections. This ISIR 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.
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. 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 are
only handled using Query through the Title IV WAN. You are billed
for both the 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
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 and the CPS retrieves them from there. The requests are
processed, as described above, and the results are sent back to the
network, 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
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
This software 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, a PC-based Bulletin Board and E-mail system, gives
agencies access to one another, the Internet, and ED information.
Agencies that select DOS under Title IV WAN software on the
Letter or Application (Enclosure C) automatically receive the DOS
version of OPEnet. Those who select Windows receive the Windows
version of OPEnet. Users pay only for the time they are connected to
the network; the Title IV WAN does not assess an administration
charge for OPEnet.
The E-mail function of OPEnet enables users to send messages to
other OPEnet users, including ED and the Title IV WAN contractor.
Users can also send messages to and receive messages from the
The Bulletin Board system of OPEnet provides relevant Title IV
WAN information and stores messages that have been sent to the
QUERY gives Title IV WAN users access, through one connection,
to the CPS and NSLDS databases as well as to account information
on the Title IV WAN.
Using Query, Title IV WAN users can:
- Request Year-to-Date data.
- View transmission history updated at least every 30 minutes
(5 am to 7 pm, Central Standard Time).
- See when the Title IV WAN shipped software and
documentation to them.
- Browse on-line destination information.
In addition, Title IV WAN customers can:
- View their own billing information for past months and see
charges as they are added to their current month's invoice.
Enhancements for 1997-98
The most significant change for 1997-98 is the move to a student-
based EDExpress product versus a program-based product. Also, for
1997-98, EDExpress will not be available in DOS, only in a
Some of the specific changes for the 1997-98 EDExpress Windows
software are listed below in three categories:
Global and Application Processing Changes:
- EDExpress will organize records by student, not by program.
- Pell Payment software will be fully integrated into EDExpress.
- EDExpress will make on-line verification available to create
automatic correction records.
- EDExpress will allow for correction records for multiple students
to be created at the same time using the SAR field numbers and
students' Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
- EDExpress will make document tracking available globally, not
just for Packaging purposes.
- EDExpress will expand the codes for budgets, award
methodologies, academic year profile codes, and Satisfactory
Academic Progress (SAP) to provide users with more flexibility.
- EDExpress will provide more descriptive prompts to assist users
in determining why records cannot be packaged.
- EDExpress will provide an "Unawarded Funds" button to assist
users in determining why specific funds cannot be awarded.
Title IV WAN Changes:
The most significant change for Title IV WAN in the 1997-98 award
year is the addition of EDconnect and NET*CONNECT in a
Windows format that run in either Windows 3.1 or Windows95.
This software is available by calling Title IV WAN Customer
Service at 1-(800) 615-1189.
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
1996-97 and1997-98 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.
BUT PLEASE NOTE: STATE AGENCIES MUST CHOOSE
WHETHER TO RECEIVE ISIRS THROUGH THIS SERVICE OR
EDE. YOU ARE NOT 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 does an agency enroll in Title IV WAN?
Agencies enroll in network and electronic services by completing the
appropriate Title IV WAN enrollment documents. The enrollment
process for Title IV WAN requires organizations to provide three
distinct sets of information.
In order to participate in Title IV WAN, an agency must complete a
Title IV WAN Customer Initiation Document (Enclosure B) which
establishes payment responsibility.
An agency must also submit a Title IV WAN Letter of Application
(Enclosure C) and complete Block A (if updating information), the
"Name of the Organization line," and Blocks B, C, and D. Each user
then completes Block E for access to EDE Services. Blocks F, G,
and H pertain to Direct Loan and NSLDS and should be left blank by
All users must then complete Blocks I, J, and K of the Letter of
Application (LOA), paying particular attention to the Privacy Act on
To use EDE, State and Non-state Guaranty Agencies must also
complete and submit a signed State Agency Participation Agreement
Agency Applicant Data Service
Agencies may choose to receive ISIRs on magnetic tapes or
cartridges rather than through the Title IV WAN. This option is
provided through the Applicant Data Service. AGENCIES MAY
NOT RECEIVE ISIRS FROM BOTH THE AGENCY APPLICANT
DATA SERVICE AND THROUGH THE TITLE IV WAN. To
participate, agencies must complete the State Agency Applicant
Tape/Cartridge Option Request Form (Enclosure H).
NOTE: AGENCIES THAT WISH TO RECEIVE ISIRS FROM
CPS MUST RETURN EITHER A PARTICIPATION
AGREEMENT OR AN STATE AGENCY APPLICANT
TAPE/CARTRIDGE OPTION REQUEST FORM FOR
MAGNETIC TAPE OR CARTRIDGE.
Where Should the Documents Be Sent?
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
For overnight delivery, send the enrollment documents to
Title IV WAN Customer Service
2510 North Dodge Street
Iowa City, IA 52240
If you have any questions regarding enrollment, please call Title IV
WAN Customer Service at 1-(800) 615-1189.
When can an agency enroll?
Eligible agencies may enroll in the Title IV WAN, change services,
or update information anytime. The CPS began sending automatic
ISIRs on January 14, 1997. If you did not sign up for CPS data by
then, you may have missed 1997-98 records and need a Year-to-Date
file. Your first request will be free, but any subsequent Year-to-Date
request will be provided for a fee. Agencies already enrolled in CPS
were automatically rolled over for the 1997-98 processing cycle.
What happens after enrolling?
Once Title IV WAN project staff receive the enrollment documents,
the Destination Point contact listed on the Letter of Application is
sent the following software and user's guides:
- Integrated Application Menu (IAM) software.
- OPEnet software.
- Title IV WAN and OPEnet User's Guide.
- EDExpress software and User's Guide.
In addition, the technical contact (or the destination contact if it is the
- The Electronic Data Exchange Technical.
Users pay only for additional copies of the software and
documentation they choose to order.
How is enrollment information updated?
Participants may update enrollment information at any time. If
information on the Letter of Application (LOA) changes, it is not
necessary to submit another Customer Initiation Document, but you
must put your customer number on the new LOA. Mark the change
box on the LOA. Update only the information that you are changing
on the LOA. Do not complete sections that remain unchanged.
Does the Title IV WAN support mainframe computers?
The Title IV WAN supports both personal and mainframe
computers. If an agency chooses to use a mainframe computer, it
must complete and submit the Title IV WAN Mainframe
Requirements document (Enclosure E). This document provides
ED's Title IV WAN technical staff with valuable information that
enables them to effectively support communication with the Title IV
If an agency indicates mainframe computer on the Letter of
Application and returns a Mainframe Requirements Document, the
Title IV WAN sends you communications software in IEBCOPY
format, on tape or cartridge, and a mainframe user's guide that
addresses communications protocols. The software runs on IBM or
IBM-compatible mainframes with MVS operating systems.
If there are any questions about completing the Mainframe
Requirements Document or operating in a mainframe environment
on the Title IV WAN, please call Title IV WAN Customer Service at
What equipment do I need for my personal computer?
To run Title IV WAN and EDE software products effectively, ED
recommends the following personal computer (PC) configuration:
- IBM or fully IBM-compatible PC with at least a 486DX2,
- MS-DOS version 6.2 or higher (configured to provide maximum
conventional and expanded memory).
- Windows 3.1 (or 3.11) or Windows95.
- 620 K of conventional RAM available. (600 K for DOS only)
- 16 MB of total RAM memory.
- At least 300 MB of available hard disk space for all the software
and records you will need to store for EDE. The amount of space
required will depend upon the number of records you process.
- 3 ½" floppy disk drive (high density).
- 3 ½" high-density double-sided diskettes formatted using DOS.
- 14,400 bps or higher baud Hayes or fully Hayes-compatible
- Dedicated phone line.
- Printer capable of printing on standard paper (8 ½" x 11").
Estimating your Needs for Hard Disk Space
The Software takes up the following space on your hard disk:
IAM/EDconnect/NET*CONNECT/OPEnet 10.5 MB
OPEnet for Windows 10 MB
EDExpress (DOS) 7 MB
EDExpress (Windows) 16 MB
Conversion (EDE) 8-10 MB
How much will it cost?
Although many agencies will already have the needed equipment to
participate in the Title IV WAN, some will need to purchase
additional equipment as discussed above.
Title IV WAN users will be required to pay for enrollment, certain
calls to the Title IV WAN Customer Service, and for some of the
transmission charges. After enrolling in the Title IV WAN, users
receive three copies of their invoice within 10 working days after the
end of each month in which they had billable activity. Check the
Fees For Title IV WAN Services (Enclosure F) for a complete list of
prices and for a list of activities paid for by ED.
- Users do not pay a monthly service charge for using Title IV
- First-time users are charged $25.51 for the processing of the
Letter of Application.
- Users are charged $25.45 for the processing of each Participation
- Users pay $12.61 for each telephone call to Title IV WAN
customer service as outlined in the fee schedule.
- Users of OPEnet pay only for the time they spend connected to
State Agency Applicant Data Service
The Department of Education makes applicant data in the form of
ISIRs on tape or cartridge magnetic media 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. There are a few changes to the ISIR layout for 1997-98.
Enclosure G 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 1997-98
award year are required to submit a new Option Request Form
(Enclosure H). State agencies which are receiving applicant data
service ISIRs for the 1996-97 award year will continue to receive
their 1996-97 ISIRs according to the request currently on file at CPS.
YOUR FIRST 1997-98 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
A draft format of the 1997-98 ISIR is provided in Enclosure I.
Additional materials to assist you in reading the tapes or cartridges
and in using the data contained in the ISIR will be forwarded under
If you have any questions concerning the State Agency Applicant
Data Service, please contact Customer Service for Applicant Data
Service, Federal Student Aid Programs, at 1-(800) 330-5947.
We are excited about the electronic data services we are able to offer
you in the 1997-98 award year and believe that all users will share
our enthusiasm. If you have any questions concerning enrollment,
please call Title IV WAN Customer Service at 1-(800) 615-1189.
Elizabeth M. Hicks
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Student Financial Assistance Programs
Enclosure A: Glossary
Enclosure B: Title IV WAN Customer Initiation Document
Complete ONLY if you are a new user or wish to
update information on the Title IV WAN Customer
Enclosure C: Title IV WAN Letter of Application
Complete ONLY if you are a new user or wish to
update destination information or service enrollment
information on the Letter of Application.
(Instructions for completing this form are on the
back of each page.)
Enclosure D: State or Non-state Guaranty Agency Participation
Enclosure E: Title IV WAN Mainframe Requirements
Complete ONLY if you are a new user AND will be
connecting to the Title IV WAN with a mainframe
Enclosure F: Fees for Title IV WAN Services
Enclosure G: State Agency Applicant Data Service Description
Enclosure H: State Agency Applicant Tape/Cartridge Option
Request Form and Participation Agreement
Complete ONLY if you wish to receive ISIR records
via tape or cartridge rather than through the Title IV
WAN and are not already enrolled in this service.
Enclosure I: Full ISIR Record Description
Agency Applicant Tape/Cartridge Option Request Form --
Organizations use this form to enroll in the Agency Applicant Data
Service to receive ISIRs on tapes or cartridges.
CPS -- Central Processing System. The CPS is a Title IV automated
system that performs data matches, calculates the applicant's
Expected Family Contribution (EFC), prints and mails Student Aid
Reports (SARs) to applicants, and returns ISIRs to schools.
Customer -- A customer with Title IV WAN is responsible for
charges of the Destination Point(s) associated with it.
Destination Point -- The location that physically transmits and
receives financial aid data via the Title IV WAN.
Direct Loan Program -- The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan
Program provides direct financing and direct delivery of loan funds
to eligible borrowers to cover the costs of postsecondary education.
ED -- The U. S. Department of Education.
EDconnect -- This telecommunications software, provided by ED,
allows users to send and receive data via the Title IV WAN.
EDE -- Electronic Data Exchange. This ED-sponsored program
allows participating Destination Points to exchange Federal student
aid applicant data, Direct Loan data, and Federal Pell Grant payment
data electronically via the Title IV WAN.
EDExpress -- A software product provided by ED that allows
institutions to enter (or have their students enter), edit, manage, and
report Title IV student financial aid application data and Federal Pell
Grant payment data. The software also allows institutions to package
awards, originate Direct Loans, and print Direct Loan promissory
Electronic Payment Information -- Software function invoked by
EDExpress or installed on a stand-alone PC that pre-loads Pell-
eligible applicant records, enters and maintains payment data,
generates payment batches, produces reports on recipients, and posts
processed payment data to the Federal Pell Grant Database.
E-Mail -- Electronic Mail. An electronic mail system that allows you
to type a message at one computer or terminal and then send that
message to someone at another terminal or computer. The message is
stored until the receiver chooses to read it.
IAM -- Integrated Application Menu. The IAM allows users to
access various DOS functions from an integrated menu format.
ISIR -- Institutional Student Information Record. The ISIR contains
the applicant's Title IV Financial Aid information.
LOA -- Letter of Application. The application institutions must sign
to participate in Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) and NSLDS via
the Title IV WAN.
Megabyte (MB) -- A unit of measure of how much data can be stored
on a hard drive. A megabyte is equal to 1,048,576 bytes or 1,024
kilobytes and can store more than 1 million characters.
NET*CONNECT -- Dial-up software for accessing 3270-type
mainframes used to access On-line Query.
Network -- A communications system consisting of telephone lines
and computers. A network enables you to use your personal
computer and modem to connect to a large mainframe computer and
to send and receive data.
Non-prime Time -- Non-prime time is from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. and is
based on the time zone of the Destination Point sending the data to
the network. Transmission rates are lower during this time.
NSLDS -- National Student Loan Data System is a national database
of loan-level information and selected grant data on aid disbursed
under the Title IV programs.
OPEnet -- Office of Postsecondary Education network. An ED-
sponsored electronic bulletin board and mail system used for sending
and receiving messages, policies, letters, and regulations using a
phone line and a personal computer.
PA -- Participation Agreement. Organizations must use this form to
enroll in or change services for EDE and NSLDS.
Password -- A secret word that lets you, but no one else, connect to
P-Message -- A network message sent out to Title IV WAN
Destination Points informing them of deadlines, policies, and
important network information.
Prime Time -- Prime time is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is based on
the time zone of the Destination Point sending the data to the
network. Transmission rates are higher during this time.
Service Agent -- Someone who is contracted to process data for other
Title IV WAN -- The Title IV WAN links thousands of network
nodes, or Destination Points, across the United States, its territories,
and certain ED-designated foreign countries to the Higher Education
Act's Title IV student financial aid programs and delivery system.
Destination Points communicate with the Title IV WAN using a PC
or mainframe computer.
Title IV WAN Customer Initiation Document -- This document
establishes a customer relationship with the Title IV WAN. The
person listed on the Customer Initiation Document receives the Title
IV WAN invoice.
User -- Someone who uses the services of the Title IV WAN as a