Publication Date: April 24, 2008
Author: William Leith, Acting General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid
Summary: CCRAA Operational Implementation Guidance (CPS, COD System, and EDESuite) - COD CCRAA School Testing for 2008-2009 Award Year
Posted on 04-24-2008
As schools, third party servicers, and software providers are aware, during the period June 27-28, 2008, we plan to implement Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System functionality that will support the processing of Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program awards for the 2008-2009 and subsequent award years. As explained in Dear Colleague Letter GEN-08-01 posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site , the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (the CCRAA), Pub. L. 110-84, authorized the TEACH Grant Program for implementation beginning with the 2008-2009 Award Year. For a high-level overview of our operational implementation of Teach Grant processing, refer to the April 9, 2008 Electronic Announcement posted on the IFAP Web site.
Implementation of TEACH Grant processing requires changes to the COD Common Record Extensible Markup Language (XML) schema. For this reason, it is important to us that we offer and conduct testing for participants before they send data to the “live” production environment.
The purposes of this announcement are as follows:
We cover information in the following order:
Changes to COD School Testing for 2008-2009 Award Year
As provided in a December 13, 2007 Electronic Announcement posted on the IFAP Web site and in the 2008-2009 COD Technical Reference , Phase II – Structured Application Testing and Unstructured Testing for the 2008-2009 Award Year were scheduled for the periods April 7, 2008 through June 27, 2008 and June 2, 2008 through September 30, 2008, respectively. To accommodate CCRAA School Testing, we must change the COD School Testing schedule as follows:
In February 2008, we revised the 2008-2009 COD Technical Reference to reflect the COD School Testing schedule changes outlined above. We apologize for any inconvenience these schedule changes cause schools, third party servicers, and software providers.
CCRAA School Testing for 2008-2009 Award Year: May 5, 2008 – September 26, 2008
In conjunction with the June 28, 2008 implementation of COD functionality that will support the processing of TEACH Grant awards, the COD School Relations Center will conduct CCRAA School Testing for the 2008-2009 Award Year from May 5, 2008 through September 26, 2008.
The purpose of CCRAA School Testing is to provide schools, third party servicers, and software providers an opportunity to test Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant), Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant), TEACH Grant, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) business processes and system software with the COD System prior to the transmission and processing of actual production data using COD Common Record XML Schema Version 3.0a . It also allows schools, third party servicers, and software providers the opportunity to make corrections or enhancements to software applications and processes prior to sending data to the “live” production environment.
All entities that wish to participate in CCRAA School Testing must submit the “CCRAA School Testing 2008-2009 Sign-Up Document” to the COD School Relations Center. The sign-up document is located in the CCRAA School Testing Guide, Volume V, Section 3 of the 2008-2009 COD Technical Reference and is also available on the COD Web site by clicking on the “Click here if you are looking for more information on Common Origination and Disbursement.” link or the “Today’s Update” link.
The following questions and answers provide high-level information about CCRAA School Testing for the 2008-2009 Award Year. References to “school” and “schools” are intended to encompass all entities that participate in COD processing – schools, third party servicers, and software providers.
Q1: Who should participate in CCRAA School Testing for the 2008-2009 Award Year?
A1: CCRAA School Testing is available to all entities that participate in COD processing. Schools are not required to test CCRAA changes with the COD System, but are encouraged to participate in Phase I – Common Record Manual Verification testing (see Q&A #2).
Software providers and third party servicers may perform their own product testing on behalf of their customers. For example, the Department of Education will test the EDExpress software before releasing it to schools. Schools should contact their software provider or third party servicer to discuss testing plans/concerns.
Q2: What are the CCRAA School Testing phases?
A2: CCRAA School testing is comprised of two phases—Phase I for Common Record Manual Verification and Phase II for Structured Application Testing. Schools must complete Phase I testing before participating in Phase II testing. There will be no optional Unstructured Testing.
The two testing phases will be available as follows:
Phase I - Common Record Manual Verification
The purpose of Common Record Manual Verification testing is to ensure that the school's COD Common Record is well formed and properly structured according to the rules of the COD Common Record XML Schema Version 3.0a.
During this testing phase, the COD School Testing Support Team manually reviews a Common Record document that the school e-mails to the COD School Relations Center and assists the school in the identification of potential updates to its Common Record submissions. This testing phase will be available from May 5, 2008 through August 1, 2008.
Phase II - Structured Application Testing
The purpose of Structured Application Testing is to ensure that a school can send, receive, and process batches of records using comprehensive input instructions with detailed expected results issued by the COD School Relations Center. The school uses a test Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) file supplied by the COD School Relations Center that creates a test data set of students to use with the structured test cases.
During this phase, a school sends Common Record documents to the COD System and receives Receipt and Response documents back from the COD System. The school must verify that these files can be loaded and processed correctly in its system.
This testing phase will be available from July 7, 2008 through September 26, 2008. To participate in Phase II testing, a school must complete Phase I testing first. If a school completes Phase I testing before July 7, 2008, it must wait until the Phase II testing window opens.
Q3: How does a school sign up for CCRAA School Testing?
A3: A school registers for CCRAA School Testing by completing the “CCRAA School Testing 2008-2009 Sign-Up Document” located in the CCRAA School Testing Guide, Volume V, Section 3 of the 2008-2009 COD Technical Reference and also available on the COD Web site by clicking on the “Click here if you are looking for more information on Common Origination and Disbursement.” link or the “Today’s Update” link.
As explained in the sign-up document, the school may register to participate in Phase I testing or in both Phase I and Phase II testing. In either case, the school must sign up by July 18, 2008.
Once completed, a school should submit the sign-up document to the COD School Relations Center by faxing it to 877/623-5082 or e-mailing it to CODsupport@acs-inc.com with “CCRAA School Testing Sign-up” in the subject line. After the sign-up document is received, the COD School Relations Center will contact the school via e-mail to obtain school-specific information and to schedule specific test dates with the school.
Note: Upon receipt of the sign-up document, the COD School Testing Support Team must complete a considerable setup process to establish the school in the COD test environment before testing can begin. This process may take several weeks to complete. A school should take this setup process into account when planning to participate in CCRAA School Testing and provide enough lead-time in its schedule.
If you have any questions about this announcement, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/474-7268 for Grants or 800/848-0978 for Direct Loans and ask for COD School Testing Support. You may also e-mail CODsupport@acs-inc.com with “COD School Testing Support” in the subject line.