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(SSIG-98-02) (SSIG-98-02) To provide general information concerning the forthcoming changes in Title IV program numbers used by participating institutions of postsecondary education, third party servicers, lenders, and guaranty agencies.

DCLPublicationDate: 3/1/98
DCLID: SSIG-98-2
AwardYear:
Summary: To provide general information concerning the forthcoming changes in Title IV program numbers used by participating institutions of postsecondary education, third party servicers, lenders, and guaranty agencies.


March 1998

SSIG-98-2

Subject: To provide general information concerning the forthcoming changes in Title IV program numbers used by participating institutions of postsecondary education, third party servicers, lenders, and guaranty agencies.

Publication Reference: Section 487b, Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended in 1992, P.L. 102-325 [20 U.S.C. 1094b].

Dear Colleague:

This is the third in a series of letters to postsecondary education institutions, third party servicers, lenders, state education agencies, state guaranty agencies, accrediting agencies, higher education associations, and major software vendors regarding the implementation of new numeric identifiers for entities participating
in the Federal student financial assistance programs.

The first letter, dated March 1997, informed you that the Office of Student Financial Assistance Programs (SFAP), in consultation with various aspects of the community, had determined that the Title IV single identifier would be the OPE-ID, an 8 digit numeric identifier. The letter also provided a series of timelines within which we intended to implement the OPE-ID.

In June 1997 we provided each participating postsecondary education institution with a report detailing all the current and former, inactive and active program identifiers that had been or were currently in use by each institution. Corrections to the report were requested with a response date of October 31, 1997.

We are now in the process of permanently warehousing these program identifier "crosswalks" for each participating institution in the institutionally based data system, the Postsecondary Education Participant System (PEPS). The crosswalk identifier "verification" stage of the single identifier initiative will be completed by December 1998 and ends the first phase of the initiative.

DETERMINATION OF A GOVERNMENT-WIDE IDENTIFIER

Concurrent with the effort of consolidating numeric identifiers underway in the SFAP, the Vice-President's Government Reinvention Task Force developed a series of recommendations to initiate electronic commerce on a government-wide basis. President Clinton adopted the recommendations and mandated their implementation government-wide.

As part of President Clinton's mandate to streamline the procurement process through the use of electronic commerce, the twenty-nine agencies and departments of the Federal government have adopted the Dun & Bradstreet Information Corporation's numbering system, the Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S) as a principal contractor, vendor, and grantee identification code.

The D-U-N-S identifier is a unique identifier composed of nine numeric digits. The number itself does not convey any information about the entity. The first eight digits are machine generated; the ninth digit is a "check digit" to catch input errors. The D-U-N-S identifier is assigned and maintained by Dun & Bradstreet on more than 44 million companies worldwide. The D-U-N-S will be used to meet the Federal government objectives for electronic commerce, including providing a single face to industry and education institutions, reducing duplication of effort, increasing speed of service and offering more and greater economic opportunities to
small entities.

The Federal government adopted the D-U-N-S because it is comprehensive, consistent, and accepted worldwide. In addition to being used by the Federal government as the identification system for its contractors, vendors, and grantees, D-U-N-S has been
accepted by the International Standards Organization (ISO), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the United Nations (UN/EDIFACT) .

D-U-N-S AS THE TITLE IV SINGLE IDENTIFIER

As part of the government-wide effort to adapt to electronic commerce, SFAP intends to implement the D-U-N-S identification system as the Title IV Single Identifier for all participants: colleges and schools, lenders, servicers, and guarantors. Adoption of the D-U-N-S identification system as the Title IV single identifier instead of the OPE-ID will simplify participation in Title IV programs, since these institutions are already required to have a D-U-N-S identifier for conducting electronic commerce.

In order to provide various interests within the student aid delivery community sufficient opportunity to implement the necessary changes, we are examining the feasibility of implementing the D-U-N-S identification system as part of the software development for the 2001 - 2002 need analysis cycle beginning January 1, 2001 for the award year beginning July 1, 2001.

As we proceed to plan and implement the software development and procedural changes necessary to adopt the D-U-N-S identification system for the Title IV student financial assistance programs (including the electronic data exchange (EDE) sites), we will continue to consult and cooperate with all segments of the higher education community. In addition, SFAP is committed to work with each postsecondary education institution, lender, servicers and guaranty agency during the implementation process, in consultation an cooperation with the Dun and Bradstreet Information Corporation.

Throughout the D-U-N-S identification system implementation process, SFAP is committed to providing the Title IV participating entities with accurate and up-to-date information of our progress through "action letters" to all participants, close coordination with SFAP participant associations, and regularly updated information on our website. You can access the following web sites for -

* Information about the Title IV Single Identifier Initiative, how the D-U-N-S identification system affects your college or school, and the program identifiers associated with your college or university is available at http://www.sii.ed.gov .

* Information about the D-U-N-S identification system and how you may verify the D-U-N-S identifier(s) assigned to your institution, its additional locations, or subunits can be accessed at http://www.dnb.com .


I encourage each of you to share your thoughts and suggestions for the successful implementation of this new initiative.

You may contact the Title IV Single Identifier Initiative through :

- electronic mail, title4sii@ed.gov

- facsimile, 202.260.5909

- voiceline, 202.708.4608

- regular post at Title IV Single Identifier Initiative
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202.5132

We are committed to implementing the D-U-N-S identification system without disruption to the Title IV student aid delivery system.


Sincerely,


Diane E. Rogers
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Student Financial Assistance Programs

Last Modified: 10/19/1998