SFA Information for Financial Aid Professionals
U.S. Department of Education
Summary: Student Financial Aid Year 2000 Project Status
As of 20 August, 1999
Author: COO - Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Student Financial Assistance
As of 20 August, 1999
The Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) is proud to announce that OSFA programs systems, which deliver and administer student assistance, are Year 2000 ready. However, this achievement alone does not assure the delivery of student aid. Trading exchange testing with our large population of OSFA customers will further reduce the risk of a Year 2000 failure in the delivery of student assistance. OSFA encourages each institution (school or agency), EDExpress or others to test their data exchange with the following systems during the windows of opportunity listed below. Testing plans and test cases can be found at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocio/index.html.
Scheduled Dates for Institution Testing
On NSLDS schools and trading partner testing, the end of the second window has been extended from the previously announced August 20 to August 31, 1999.
Specific cautions to institutions performing Y2K testing with CPS: Institutions need to enter all 12 test FAFSAs without making significant data entry errors, and export with the system date set to 02/29/2000, in order to pass the test.
As a reminder on Y2K testing: Those schools who use EDExpress to participate in Year 2000 testing with the Department will get a message stating they need an access date password when they set their system clock back to the current date. This is because they are attempting to access the software with a system date earlier than last entered. They should call CPS Customer Service at 800-330-5947 to get the access date password. They should also tell the Customer Service Representative that the call is Y2K related so they are not charged for the call.
The test results have shown that some of the testing challenges schools are experiencing are not always Year 2000 related. Common problems include:
Invalid data: a non-Y2K problem due to data entry errors - an invalid test case which didnt even make it to compute stage, for example, such as in CPS school testing;
Not following test procedures: not setting the system clock ahead or not using the ED-provided test data;
Wrong data format: errors such as gaps in the data fields or data not properly formatted as required.
Careful preparation of data for the test and use of the test cases as a checklist will aid in successful testing.
Institutions and agencies that have successfully tested will be acknowledged on the honor roll of the Departments Y2K Web site.
The Year 2000 Office ofStudent Financial Assistance Business Continuity and Contingency Plan is another milestone accomplishment OSFA has completed.OSFA submitted the plan to OMB on June 15, 1999. This plan provides OSFA business continuity should any portion of the student financial assistance business processes experience a disruption due to a Year 2000 problem. The plan identifies eight core business processes and numerous key sub-processes, normal and emergency levels of performance, potential failure scenarios, and a variety of risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans addressing potential failures. OSFA encourages institutions and agencies to reviewand comment on our plan,which islocated at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocio/index.html, and develop similar plans to ensure their ability to continue student financial assistance delivery and other core business functions associated with their mission.Secretary Riley recently sent a letter to all postsecondary institution presidents urging them to give priority to making their systems Y2K compliant, testing data exchanges with ED, responding to a follow-up survey on their institution's readiness, and developing contingency plans. This letter is posted to IFAP. OSFA is conducting outreach to our financial aid community partners
on Y2K assessment, testing, and contingency planning. OSFA recently held six focus groups, and five others are scheduled throughSeptember. A session on Y2K contingency planning was held at the
NASFAA Annual Conference in July. Materials from this session are posted to IFAP.
In conclusion, OSFA wants to ensure that the student financial assistance community will not be disrupted on account of the Year 2000 problem. The SFA Year 2000 project team may be reached via email at: OPE_Y2K@ED.GOV.