Maintained for Historical Purposes

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

(General) Summary: Updated Minimum and Optimal System Configuration Recommendations

Posted Date:December 18, 2007

Author: William Leith, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid

Summary: Updated Minimum and Optimal System Configuration Recommendations

Under the Department of Education's (the Department's) regulations at 34 CFR 668.16(o), one of the requirements for a school in administering the Title IV Federal student aid programs is that it participate in certain designated electronic processes. To do so, a school must have, or have access to, a minimum computer hardware and software configuration. The most recent notice of designated electronic processes, including minimum and optimal system configurations, was published in the Federal Register on September 12, 2004 and is available on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site (

The purpose of this announcement is to update the recommended system configurations that were included in the September 12, 2004 notice. Schools that currently participate in the designated electronic processes using a desktop computing environment for all or part of their Title IV Federal student aid processing will find this updated information helpful in planning hardware and software refreshes. These schools include those that use our EDconnect software for sending and receiving data via the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) and/or one or more of our EDESuite software products (such as EDExpress).

The updated minimum and optimal system configurations are attached to this announcement in the document titled "Updated Minimum and Optimal System Configuration Recommendations." Also included in the attachment are answers to some frequently asked questions about the recommended system configurations. (If you are not reading this announcement on the IFAP Web site, please refer to the Electronic Announcement posted on the IFAP Web site at for the attachment.)

As in the past, we provide the updated recommended system configurations in terms of the minimum configuration and the optimal configuration. Although all of the designated electronic processes can be performed using the minimum configuration, we strongly recommend the optimal configuration, particularly if a school sends or receives 4,000 or more records in an Extensible Markup Language (XML) document (batch). This is because the XML file formats used by the EDExpress software and the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System are large and require increased storage and computing capabilities. For the same reason, we encourage schools to consider moving away from "dial-up" and instead use high-speed Internet connections. Doing so will significantly reduce both transmission time and transmission interruptions.

Note: At this time, we have not certified the Microsoft Corporation's Windows Vista as a supported operating system for EDExpress or the other EDESuite software products. This guidance also applies to the Local Area Network (LAN) or "server" version of Windows, known as Windows Server 2008, which we understand will be released by the Microsoft Corporation in 2008. We will communicate about additional supported operating systems after completion of our certification process.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in using technology to more efficiently administer the Federal student aid programs.

Last Modified: 12/17/2007