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Summary: HERA Operational Implementation Guidance (CPS, COD System, and EDExpress Suite) -- Implementation of HERA-Related Additional COD System Functionality

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) --Implementation of HERA-Related Additional COD System Functionality

Note: This Electronic Announcement was updated on August 10, 2006 by correcting the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) code for Direct PLUS Loans made to graduate and professional students. The correct code is "D3" and has replaced the incorrect code that was previously provided.

Posted on 08-01-2006

As we have explained through a number of Electronic Announcements posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site, we will implement Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System functionality required to implement the provisions of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (the HERA), Pub. L. 109-171, through a series of releases between July 1, 2006 and December 16, 2006. This announcement provides information about the third release.

During the period August 11-12, 2006, we will implement additional HERA-related COD System functionality that supports the processing of Federal Direct PLUS Loans (Direct PLUS Loans) for eligible graduate and professional students. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we complete this important activity.

In this announcement, we provide the following information related to the implementation:

  • COD Batch Processing Suspension & Web Site Outage Information
  • COD System Processing Function Enhancements and Modifications
  • Information for EDExpress Users
  • Contact Information

COD Batch Processing Suspension and Web Site Outage Information

In order to install the HERA-related system changes--

  • We will suspend COD batch processing beginning at 8:00 P.M. (ET) on Friday, August 11, 2006. Records submitted after 8:00 P.M. (ET) will be held and processed after 10:00 A.M. (ET) on Saturday, August 12, 2006.
  • The COD Web site will be unavailable from 8:00 P.M. (ET) on Friday, August 11, 2006 until 10:00 A.M. (ET) on Saturday, August 12, 2006.

Additionally, for Direct Loan participants--

  • The Direct Loan Electronic Master Promissory Note (MPN) Web site will be unavailable from 8:00 P.M. (ET) on Friday, August 11, 2006 until 10:00 A.M. (ET) on Saturday, August 12, 2006.
    Individuals starting the process by 7:00 P.M. (ET) on August 11th will be able to complete their MPNs before the Web site becomes unavailable. Individuals attempting to access the Web site after the cutoff time will see a Web site maintenance message and will not be able to start the process or retrieve an existing MPN.
  • The Direct Loan Electronic MPN Web site is unavailable every Sunday morning from 5:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. (ET) while routine maintenance is performed. As such, the Direct Loan Electronic MPN Web site will again be unavailable from 5:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. (ET) on Sunday, August 13, 2006. As previously noted, individuals will not be able to complete or retrieve MPNs during this period.

COD System Processing Function Enhancements and Modifications

Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Students

The Electronic Announcement posted on June 23, 2006, provided complete information about the new availability of Direct PLUS Loans for Grad PLUS borrowers. As explained in the announcement, beginning August 12, 2006, full COD System functionality for Direct PLUS Loans for Grad PLUS borrowers will be available for award years 2005-2006 and forward.

We will modify how the COD System analyzes and edits information submitted using the COD Extensible Markup Language (XML) Common Record or via the COD Web site to determine if the loan is for a parent PLUS borrower or a Grad PLUS borrower. The COD System will also begin linking Grad PLUS awards to valid Federal Direct PLUS Loan Application and Master Promissory Notes (PLUS MPNs).

A school will be able to complete the following Grad PLUS processing functions:

  • Send origination and disbursement information about Direct PLUS Loans for Grad PLUS borrowers using the existing PLUS Common Record Block or by submitting individual records via the COD Web site.
  • The Award ID and MPN ID associated with a Direct PLUS Loan for a Grad PLUS borrower will be constructed just as they are constructed for a parent PLUS borrower.

      o The Award ID will have a "P" in the 10th position.

      o The MPN ID will have an "N" in the 10th position.

    Note: A school may have followed earlier guidance that we provided regarding the MPN ID and had Grad PLUS borrowers complete and sign paper PLUS MPNs with "R" in the 10th position of the MPN ID. In this case, the school does not need to collect new paper PLUS MPNs for the Grad PLUS borrowers.

    Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS awards will look alike except that Grad PLUS awards will have the following notable differences:

      o The information in each Person Common Record Block-the borrower's block and the student's block-will match exactly.

      o The student's Dependency Status will be Independent instead of Dependent.

      o The student's Grade Level will be 6 or 7 instead of 5 or lower.

  • Receive responses from the COD System.
  • Receive Grad PLUS data in existing reports and access award and disbursement data via the COD Web site.
  • Complete processing and disburse for students who have an adverse credit history and obtain an endorser.
  • Have the COD System initiate a credit check upon receipt of an award.
  • Have the COD System print and mail the PLUS MPN and Addendum to Grad PLUS borrowers or to the school upon receipt of an award.
  • Have the COD System print and mail the PLUS Disclosure Statement to Grad PLUS borrowers 30 days before the first anticipated or actual disbursement of the loan.
  • Have loans “booked” and sent to the Direct Loan Servicing System. Loan servicing information will be mailed to Grad PLUS borrowers at this time.
  • Note: The repayment period for a Direct PLUS Loan made to a Grad PLUS borrower will begin on the date of the final loan disbursement, and the first payment will be due within 60 days after the date of that final disbursement unless the student is eligible for a deferment.

  • Access loan information, coded as "D3," in the National Student Loan Data System.

Full COD System functionality will eliminate the need for the following interim processes:

  • Direct Loan Grad PLUS Interim Spreadsheet - Credit check and PLUS MPN processing will be fully operational. As such, the COD School Relations Center will no longer accept interim spreadsheets after 8:00 P.M. (ET), on Friday, August 11, 2006.
  • Note: We did not enter a school's interim spreadsheet data into the COD System. If a school submitted an interim spreadsheet during the past few weeks, it must submit all required data via Common Record or Web processing.

  • Interim Pushed Cash Funding Process-Funding level changes and drawdowns for Pushed Cash schools will begin through the normal automated process. As noted in an earlier communication, Grad PLUS funding requests will not be accepted via the interim process after 8:00 P.M. (ET), on Wednesday, August 9, 2006.

Information for EDExpress Users

We will modify the 2006-2007 EDExpress software and the Direct Loan Tools product as follows:

  • On August 11, 2006, we will post an interim 2006-2007 EDExpress .dll file (patch) on the Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site. Download and installation of this .dll file will enable a school to create and submit Direct PLUS Loans for Grad PLUS borrowers using 2006-2007 EDExpress 2.0.
  • On September 1, 2006, we will post 2006-2007 EDExpress 3.0 Release to the FSAdownload Web site. This release will implement full Grad PLUS functionality in the EDExpress software.
  • Also on September 1, 2006, we will post a Direct Loan Tools .dll file on the FSAdownload Web site. Download and installation of this .dll file will upgrade Direct Loan Tools 6.0 as follows:
      o Allow a school to rebuild Grad PLUS records in 2006-2007 EDExpress 3.0.
      o Add totals for Grad PLUS awards to the Measurement Tools Report.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about this announcement, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/848-0978. You may also e-mail CODSupport@acs-inc.com.

Last Modified: 07/31/2006