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Urgent GAPS Transition Reminder! ONE DAY ALERT

PublicationDate: 2/24/98
Summary: Urgent GAPS Transition Reminder!
Author: ODAS - Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary - SFA

Today (2/24) marks the last full day before the two-and-one-half week transition to ED's
Grant Administration and Payment System (GAPS). Please note the deadlines below, and
make any necessary draw downs accordingly. GAPS will be available for draw downs on
March 16.

February 25, 3:00 pm Eastern Standard time: Deadline for placing all final requests for
ACH Payments with the Department's service bureau (NCS). NCS will not accept ACH
payment requests after 3:00 pm Eastern time.

February 26, 6:00 pm Eastern Standard time: Deadline for placing all final requests for
FEDWIRE recipients requesting next day payment. FEDWIRE payment request dates
beyond February 26th will not be accepted. No additional FEDWIRE payments will be
made after February 26.

For more information on the transition period and on GAPS, please see the questions
and answers below.

EDCAPS Grant Administration and Payment System (GAPS) Questions and Answers
February 24, 1998

Q. What if March 16 comes and GAPS doesn't work?

A. If it is not possible to implement GAPS in a timely fashion, the Department can
resume payments under the current Payment Management System (PMS). Because the
data is being copied, not moved, PMS will remain available in case it is needed.

Q. Why does the transition require a shutdown period of two-and-a-half weeks?

A. The conversion process is time-consuming because, first, the structure of the new
database is very different. The new structure organizes data by document, instead of
pooling it together. Second, the new system will consolidate grants and payments
systems, requiring for the first time that grant and payment data be compatible. And
finally, there is a very large volume of data that needs to be converted.

Q. What will be different under the new system?

A. There are three important differences between PMS and GAPS:

1. Under GAPS, institutions will draw down funds by award document (i.e., by program
and year), instead of from a general pool.

2. Institutions will see their award documents that include authorization levels listed on
the Department's GAPS web site (http:/ The hours of operation for the
web site are 8:00a.m. to 6p.m., Monday through Friday). The Department recommends
that all institutions log onto the GAPS web site to verify its award documents and, if
there are any extra or missing documents to contact their service representative.

3. Schools will no longer be required to file their quarterly SF 272 report to the
Department, because data will be captured when they draw down funds.

Q. How do I get my institution's new GAPS user ID and password?

A. To get your institution's new GAPS user ID and password, log into the GAPS web
site and click onto the "First Time User" button. After entering your PMS user ID and
password, you will receive your GAPS ID and password. This procedure will work only
once; if you lose this information, call the GAPS toll- free hotline at 1-888-336-8930 (this
hotline will be functional March 16).

Q. For purposes of determining when excess cash must be returned to the Department
during this transition period, what date should a school use?

A. Immediately following the transition, any funds remaining from the draw down
schools made to cover disbursements during the shutdown should be treated as if they
had been received on March 16, 1998. Therefore, schools must disburse these funds or
return excess cash to the Department by March 19, 1998.

Q. How can institutions such as community colleges and proprietary schools that
have programs starting at the end of February receive increases in their Pell Grant
authorization between February 25 and March 15?

A. Because the Department is not running parallel systems during the conversion,
there is no way to increase a school's authorization during this time

Q. How will GAPS work for servicers who administer student aid for multiple schools?

A. Each institution will have its own user ID and password, just like under the current
system. In order to draw down funds for multiple schools, servicers will have to have
each school's ID and password.

Q. If my school's last SF 272 report contained errors, can I still adjust it?

A. Yes, you will be able to modify your last SF 272 report using GAPS.

Q. How do I get more information?

A. A GAPS training web site is available at To access
this account, you will need to use the user ID "gapsuser" and the password "training."
The new Department of Education Payee's Guide is available at the above web address,
or through Sandra Rush at (202) 401-2102. The training web site also includes an
electronic-mail point of contact.

If you have further questions, you should contact the GAPS Reporting Representative
who serves your state or, after March 16th, please call the GAPS toll-free hotline at

Last Modified: 08/16/1999