Maintained for Historical Purposes

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

Summary: New Financial Operating Environment--Impact on Funds Availability for Campus-Based, ACG, National SMART Grant, Pell Grant, and Direct Loan (EDCAPS/GAPS and COD)

Publication Date: August 23, 2006

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

Summary: New Financial Operating Environment--Impact on Funds Availability for Campus-Based, ACG, National SMART Grant, Pell Grant, and Direct Loan (EDCAPS/GAPS and COD)

Posted on 08-23-2006

As explained in the attached letter disseminated by the Department of Education's (the Department's) Chief Financial Officer (CFO) earlier this week, the Department will transition to a new financial operating environment in conjunction with the year-end close out of Fiscal Year 2006. As a result, some of the Department's core financial systems, including the Grant Administration and Payment System (GAPS), will be shut down and unavailable from 8:00 P.M. (ET) on Saturday, September 30, 2006 until 8:00 A.M. (ET) on Tuesday, October 10, 2006.

This interruption will impact how the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System will process financial data and when schools can obtain funds for the Federal Student Aid programs. In preparation for the shutdown, schools should review the attached CFO guidance and the impact information provided below.

We appreciate schools' patience and understanding as the Department completes this important activity. We expect the financial processing backlog to be caught up in EDCAPS/GAPS by Thursday, October 12, 2006.

Impact Information

The Department's transition to the new financial operating environment will impact how the COD System processes financial data and when schools can obtain funds for the Federal Student Aid programs as follows:

Monday, September 18, 2006 through Friday, September 29, 2006

Financial processing between the COD System and EDCAPS/GAPS will be reduced to only once every evening (instead of the normal twice-a-day, morning/evening processing). As a result, early morning processing will be completed in the evening. Current Funding Level (CFL) changes and funding could be delayed by a day.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 through Monday, October 9, 2006

The COD System will accept Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant) and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) disbursements, but CFL changes and funding requests will not be processed by EDCAPS/GAPS until Tuesday, October 10, 2006.

Actual disbursements must be received and accepted by the COD System no later than 10:00 A.M. (ET) on Thursday, September 28, 2006, in order for them to be included in a drawdown prior to the shutdown. Disbursements submitted after this time will be funded after EDCAPS/GAPS resumes processing on October 10, 2006.

Notes:

1. A school is not yet able to submit Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) records to the COD System. However, the school is allowed to draw down and disburse ACG and National SMART Grant funds.

If a school will need additional ACG and/or National SMART Grant funds during the shutdown period, it must request the funding increase by 5:00 P.M. (ET) on Wednesday, September 27, 2006. The school must submit this request per the guidelines we provided in an Electronic Announcement posted on August 9, 2006.

2. As provided in the attached CFO guidance, a school on Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 (HCM2) or Reimbursement must submit reimbursement documents for disbursements that it will need to make during the shutdown period to its Payment Analyst by Friday, August 25, 2006.

If a school is unable to meet the August 25th deadline, it should notify the Payment Analyst as soon as possible of the amount of disbursements that it expects to make during the shutdown period. If, in the view of the Payment Analyst, the requested amount is reasonable, we will provide those funds to the school prior to the shutdown period and in advance of receiving the formal reimbursement requests. To ensure that funds are available to the school when needed, the school must notify its Payment Analyst no later than Friday, September 8, 2006.

In addition, prior to the shutdown period, we will advance to a school Federal Student Aid program funds related to pending reimbursement requests.

8:00 P.M. (ET) on Saturday, September 30, 2006 through 8:00 A.M. (ET) on Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The GAPS e-Payments system (the GAPS Web site) will not be available. Schools will not be able to draw down Campus-Based, ACG, National SMART Grant, Pell Grant, or Direct Loan funds during this period.

Note: In some cases, a school will be unable to operationally comply with returning cash to the Department within the timeframes specified in the Cash Management regulations at 34 CFR 668.166. We will consider the school to be in compliance with the excess cash requirements provided that the school disburses such funds to eligible students (or parents) by the end of the shutdown period and/or promptly returns such funds to the Department when EDCAPS/GAPS resumes processing on October 10, 2006.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about this announcement, contact one of the following help desks:

  • For questions related to the GAPS, contact the GAPS hotline at 888/336-8930 or go to the e-Payments Web site.
  • For questions related to the Campus-Based programs, contact the Campus-Based Call Center at 877/801-7168. You may also e-mail CBFOB@ed.gov.
  • For questions related to the COD System, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/4PGRANT for ACG, National SMART Grant, and Pell Grant or 800/848-0978 for Direct Loan. You may also e-mail CODSupport@acs-inc.com.

Last Modified: 08/22/2006