Maintained for Historical Purposes

This resource is being maintained for historical purposes only and is not currently applicable.

Summary: Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Update February 2002

Publication Date: February 21, 2002

Author: General Manager: SFA School Channel

Summary: Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Update February 2002

Posted on: February 21, 2002

TO: All Destination Points

FROM: U.S. Department of Education

RE: Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Update - February 2002

The Common Origination and Disbursement system (COD) replaces the Recipient Financial Management System (RFMS) and the Direct Loan Origination System (DLOS) beginning in Award Year 2002-03. This message contains information about the revised system release schedule and school testing schedule for the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system. It also includes an overview of available features for the first two (2) releases and a description of the upcoming school testing phases. The message also provides a brief description of COD Full Participants and Phase-In Participants, as well as an explanation of each group's capabilities and preparation steps. Finally, a list of documents and events that provide more information about COD has been included for your reference.

I. Revised COD Release Schedule

The system release dates for COD have recently been modified. The COD system, originally scheduled for a March 18, 2002 release date, will be available beginning on Monday April 1, 2002 (COD Release 1.0). System functionality available at that time includes:

  • The ability to receive, edit, process and return origination and disbursement records in the Pell Grant and Direct Loan programs to schools (except PLUS). Pell Grants for Award Year 2002-03 may not be disbursed to students prior to July 1, 2002.
  • A new COD website, allowing users to:
    - Search for a batch of records, a student, an award, a school or a Promissory Note
    - View details about batches, students, awards, disbursements, schools or Promissory Notes
    - Update students, awards and disbursements
  • A new Customer Service Center
    - Once COD goes live on April 1, you may call your usual origination and disbursement school relations numbers - 1(800) 4PGRANT for Pell Grants and 1(800) 848-0978 for Direct Loans. Staff is available Monday through Friday, 8-8 Eastern Time.
    - You will be prompted to enter the Award Year that pertains to your question. Beginning April 1, all Award Year 2002-03 questions will be handled by the new Customer Service Center.
    - Questions for prior years will be routed to the existing Pell and Loan Origination Centers.
  • The ability to create six (6) initial reports
  • A second release of COD is planned for Monday May 13, 2002 (COD Release 1.1). System functionality available at that time includes:
  • PLUS record processing (including credit checks through COD)
  • Additional web functionality
  • Creating additional COD reports

Future system enhancements and capabilities will also be released throughout the year.

II. Revised COD Application Testing Schedule

Because of our change in release dates, some dates for school testing have also changed. COD Application Testing (Phase III Testing) will be available from Monday March 4, 2002 through Friday March 22, 2002. During this time, COD Full Participants and Phase-In Participants can validate their ability to send, receive, and process batches of records to COD using detailed test cases and scripts. Schools will use a test ISIR file supplied by COD that creates a test data set of students to use with the structured test cases. Full Participant Schools receive receipts and response files, and will need to verify that they can process these records. Phase-In Participants receive Acknowledgements in fixed-length file format (translated from Common Record response files), and will need to verify that these files can be processed.

The start date for COD Application Testing has been delayed by two (2) weeks, providing more time to schools and third-party software vendors to prepare for testing.

Post Rollout Application Testing (Phase IV Testing) will also be available to Full Participants and Phase-In Participants beginning Monday May 20, 2002. This includes the COD Application Testing described above. Full Participants and Phase-In Participants may also choose to send, receive and process batches of records using their own testing methods. Schools can create their own test cases and expected results using the students provided in the ISIR and test with COD via the web.

III. What Does COD Mean for Me?

Full Participants will have different capabilities and preparation steps for COD than Phase-In Participants. The distinctions between the two groups are detailed below.

Phase-In Participants

Phase-In Participants are organizations that send Pell Grant and/or Direct Loan records using AY '02-'03 software that has not been modified for COD, including EDExpress. As a Phase-In Participant, you have some new features available with COD. You will be able to access information across the Pell Grant and Direct Loan programs through the COD web site. Direct Loan and Pell Grant rejects will be stored and viewable via the web; however, you will not be able to resolve and re-submit rejects on-line.

Phase-In Participants are still required to update or modify software to meet AY '02-'03 system requirements. Please reference the 2002-2003 Pell Grant Technical Reference ( and 2002-2003 Direct Loan Technical Reference ( on IFAP for more details on AY '02-'03 system requirements.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Full Participant in AY 2003-2004, you should consider attending a session at the upcoming SFA Spring Conference titled "2003-2004 COD Full Participation Invitation." We will also be making information available on IFAP.

Full Participants

Full Participants are schools or vendors who are in the process of modifying software so that it supports the COD Common Record


they are schools that have made arrangements to install a vendor's software upgrade that has been modified to support the COD Common Record.

As a Full Participant, you have additional capabilities and features on COD. Full Participants will be able to resolve origination and disbursement changes in one step via the Common Record. Change records require only data elements that have changed to be submitted, rather than resubmission of all data elements. All rejects will be stored, with on-line resolution and re-submission available. You will also be able to submit new Common Records and 'release' Common Records via the web. Additional information for AY 2002-2003 Full Participants can be found in the COD Technical Reference, available on IFAP.

IV. Upcoming COD Information

In the coming weeks you will receive more information about COD, including:

  • 2002 SFA Spring Conference in Baltimore, MD (March 6-8, 2002). For more information and registration instructions, please visit There will be several sessions at the Spring Conference focusing on COD.
  • SFA Spring Training Series (May-July, 2002). A two-day training course focusing on Program Integrity, with a day devoted to COD training. This course will be offered at 75 different sites - please stay tuned for more information.
  • Key IFAP Documents and Communications:
    - 2002-2003 COD Technical Reference Document ( The following guides have been added to the COD Technical Reference:
    • Full Participant Implementation Guide
    • COD Testing Guide

    - User ID Setup for the COD Website. This document explains the initial process for establishing user IDs to access the COD website.

Still have questions? From now until April 1, 2002, you can contact the Customer Service Call Center at (800) 433-7327, or send your questions via the Schools Portal. Staff is available Monday through Friday, 9-5 Eastern Time.

We apologize for the short delay in the implementation of COD, but believe the additional testing time will benefit all involved parties.

Last Modified: 02/21/2002