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Summary: HERA Operational Implementation Guidance (CPS, COD System, and EDExpress Suite) -- ACG 2006-2007 Award Year Initial Authorization

Publication Date: August 1, 2006

Author: G. Kay Jacks, General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid

Summary: HERA Operational Implementation Guidance (CPS, COD System, and EDExpress Suite) -- ACG 2006-2007 Award Year Initial Authorization

Posted on 08-01-2006

As explained in an Electronic Announcement posted on July 18, 2006, we have processed the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) Initial Authorizations for the 2006-2007 Award Year. The calculation of Initial Authorization, known in the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System as Current Funding Level (CFL), amounts was based on the following four considerations:

  • Number of 2005-2006 Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant) accepted and posted disbursements
  • Available funding from appropriation for ACG Program
  • Whether or not a school has at least one 2- or 4-year degree program
    (School program length in the COD System is: 5, 6, 7, or 8)
  • School funding method

Because ACG is a new program, we do not yet have information that would enable us to target funds to schools based on prior history of ACG recipients. For this reason, we made calculations based on the proportional volume of 2005-2006 Pell Grant recipients at 2- and 4-year degree-granting schools and the limited amount of funds that has been appropriated for this program. In some instances, this resulted in amounts that were less than a full ACG award, and, therefore, these schools have not received an Initial CFL. If a school does not initially receive funding but has identified eligible disbursements between now and December 16, 2006, a request for funding can be made as described below.

In addition to schools not qualifying for an Initial CFL based on projected low volume, schools on the Reimbursement funding method or the Cash Monitoring funding method under 34 CFR 668.162(e)(2), that is, Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 (HCM2), also have not received an Initial CFL. In a separate communication, we informed a school that is eligible to process ACG awards and that receives funds under the Reimbursement or HCM2 funding method how we will handle its funding.

A school that meets the criteria has received a 2006-2007 Initial CFL for the ACG Program. We anticipate that the Initial CFL will be sufficient for the school to disburse ACG funds until the school can submit disbursement records to the COD System beginning December 16, 2006.

We are in the process of generating and sending an Electronic Statement of Account (ESOA) that lists the amount of a school's Initial CFL for the ACG Program for the 2006-2007 Award Year. We will send the ESOA to the school's Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) mailbox in the message class AGAS07OP.

A school will be able to view its Initial CFL on the Funding Information screen on the COD Web site. Beginning this week, but no earlier than August 2, 2006 (the effective date of the ACG regulations), the school will be able to draw down funds for ACG awards, as applicable, via the Grant Administration and Payment System (GAPS). The school must draw down and disburse ACG funds in accordance with the cash management regulations in 34 CFR 668 Subpart K.

Note: The GAPS Award Number for the ACG Program is P375A06xxxx. The “xxxx” will be populated with a school’s GAPS award sequence number that currently exists for the Pell Grant and Direct Loan programs.

As reminders—

  • The earliest date on which a school may disburse an ACG for the 2006-2007 Award Year, either with Federal funds or its own funds, is July 1, 2006.
  • As explained in the Electronic Announcement posted on June 30th, beginning December 16, 2006, the COD System will accept actual disbursements for 2006-2007 ACG awards that schools will submit using new COD Extensible Markup Language (XML) Common Record blocks or via the Web. As noted above, the disbursement date must be July 1, 2006 or later.
  • Note: The 2006-2007 COD Technical Reference reflects all ACG implementation information.

  • If a school needs additional ACG funding between August 2, 2006 and December 16, 2006, it can request a funding increase via e-mail to the COD School Relations Center at
  • Note: A school that uses the Reimbursement or HCM2 funding method will not qualify for funding using this e-mail process.

    o The school must include “ACG Authorization Increase Request” in the subject line of the e-mail.

    o The school must include the following information in the body of the e-mail:

    1. School's name, contact person and telephone number, Pell ID, and GAPS award sequence number (if known)

    2. Total amount of additional funding needed to fund disbursements for students who qualify for ACG awards

The COD School Relations Center will verify that the school is eligible and then submit the request to Federal Student Aid staff for action. If we approve the request, the school will receive a new ESOA that reflects the funding increase.

  • In some cases, more than 30 days will elapse between the date a school disburses ACG funds and the date the school submits a record of that disbursement to the COD System.

    We will consider the school to be in compliance with the 30-day disbursement-reporting requirement and suspend related e-mail notifications regarding ACG awards until January 17, 2007.

  • Note: During the period July 1, 2006 – January 17, 2007, we will continue to monitor disbursement-reporting compliance for Pell Grant and Direct Loan awards.

  • In mid to late April 2007, we will reduce a school’s ACG CFL for the 2006-2007 Award Year if it is greater than the school’s NAPD. By this time, we expect that the majority of ACG funds for the 2006-2007 Award Year should have been disbursed to students and submitted to the COD System for processing. We will inform schools prior to performing this reduction through our standard communication vehicles.

If you have any questions about this announcement, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/4PGRANT. You may also e-mail

Last Modified: 07/31/2006