Posted Date: July 8, 2009
Author: William Leith, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid
Subject: Availability of Direct Loan (DL) Tools for Windows, Release 9.0
We are pleased to announce the availability of William D. Ford Direct Loan (DL) Tools for Windows, Release 9.0, a supplemental software product for Direct Loan participants. DL Tools is available for download on our Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site, located at https://www.fsadownload.ed.gov.
In addition to the software, the following DL Tools, Release 9.0 user documentation is now available on the FSAdownload Web site:
- DL Tools, Release 9.0 Cover Letter
- DL Tools, Release 9.0 Installation Guide
These documents contain important information regarding DL Tools functionality, enhancements, and installation that you should review.
Volume IV (DL Tools) of the 2009-2010 Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Technical Reference, which includes external import record layouts and other information for system administrators, is also available on the FSAdownload Web site.
What is DL Tools?
DL Tools is a multi-year Windows-based application designed to provide the following functionality related to all Direct Loan schools' software:
- Compare the School Account Statement (SAS) to loans and actual disbursements recorded in EDExpress or an external file, and/or compare the SAS to the DL Tools Cash database.
- Print the SAS in a readable format.
- Track Cash Receipts (drawdowns) and Refunds of Cash.
- Rebuild your Direct Loan origination and disbursement records in EDExpress for Windows using an automated process.
- Run the Disbursement Measurement Tool Report to help monitor Direct Loan records in your EDExpress database.
DL Tools was developed to process data for multiple program years. Release 9.0 contains functionality for the 2007-2008, 2008-2009, and 2009-2010 cycles. All functionality related to the 2006-2007 cycle has been removed.
All Direct Loan schools can use the Compare and Cash Management functionality. The Rebuild function is used by schools to rebuild accepted Direct Loan records in EDExpress databases. However, non-EDExpress users can export data from a rebuilt EDExpress database to recreate non-EDExpress loans or databases. For information on creating file formats and exporting data from EDExpress to an external system, see Volume III of the 2009-2010 COD Technical Reference.
The Disbursement Measurement Tool Report (available in DL Tools if connected to EDExpress) and certain Direct Loan lists with tolerances (available in EDExpress) assist schools with monitoring current operations, procedures, and program status, and can also help meet the Quality Assurance requirement in the Direct Loan program. Tolerances can be applied when running these reports. Tolerances are guidelines you set for evaluating the effectiveness of your school's Direct Loan processes and procedures. Your school decides which reports to use, when to run them, and what action to take as a result. You can use them to review progress as part of a continuous improvement plan.
If you do not use EDExpress, you can still use DL Tools to assist in reconciling Direct Loans. You can import cash, loan, or disbursement data from your external Direct Loan system into DL Tools and compare your data to the SAS. Fixed-length record layouts for each of these file types are included in Volume IV, Section 3 of the 2009-2010 COD Technical Reference.
Important DL Tools Comparison Reports Note: DL Tools Loan and Disbursement Comparison Reports are designed to be run using the SAS with YTD detail, not monthly detail. See Direct Loan Bulletin (DLB) 02-36, located on our Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site at http://ifap.ed.gov/dlbulletins/dlb0236.html, for information about default settings and SAS option selections. You can change your SAS options (YTD detail, for example) by accessing the COD Web site at https://cod.ed.gov.
Before You Install Release 9.0
You cannot access 2006-2007 data in your DL Tools database after you upgrade from Release 8.0 to Release 9.0. We strongly recommend you create a backup copy of your Release 8.0 database (DLT.mdb) before upgrading to Release 9.0 in the event that you need to access your 2006-2007 data using an earlier version of DL Tools on another PC.
You must also make sure there are no record locks on the database and that no user IDs are logged in by following the steps listed below:
1) To check for record locks, select Tools, Clear Locks from the menu bar. If you receive the message "No records selected," there are no record locks. If the Clear Locks dialog box appears, click Select All, then OK to clear any record locks.
2) To check for logged-in user IDs, select Tools, Setup, Security Users from the menu bar, and then click Retrieve. The user ID you are currently using should be the only ID with a "Y" displayed in the Logged In column (you can disregard the Locked column). Select any user ID displayed as logged in and click OK. Clear the Logged In? checkbox and click OK. Repeat the process for each logged-in user ID except the one you are using.
Release 9.0 Download/Installation Process
DL Tools, Release 9.0 is available for download from the FSAdownload Web site located at fsadownload.ed.gov in two formats. You can download the entire software in one file, called DLTool90.exe, or you can download the software in separate "disk" installment files, which can be copied to a network drive (LAN), CD, or other portable storage format. Review the download instructions in the "Downloading DL Tools from the FSAdownload Web Site" section of the Installation Guide for further information.
You are required to have Windows 2000 or Windows XP as your PC workstation operating system to run DL Tools, Release 9.0.
Note: We tested Microsoft Windows Vista as an operating system for our EDESuite PC products in 2008. For information on our Vista testing results, issues we discovered, and steps schools need to take in order to run DL Tools on Vista operating systems, see the September 18, 2008 electronic announcement posted on the IFAP Web site, located at ifap.ed.gov.
Important Installation Alert: You must be an Administrator on your workstation to install DL Tools, Release 9.0 in the Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista operating systems. If you are not an Administrator, you will receive a warning when you try to install DL Tools. After an Administrator has installed DL Tools, you can run DL Tools as a member of the Power Users group. If your database is on a network server, you must be a Power User or higher on the network (or "domain") as well as on your workstation. No workarounds exist for these Windows rights issues. Consult with your school's technical department if you receive a warning that an Administrator must install the DL Tools software.
DL Tools, Release 9.0 can be installed as an upgrade to DL Tools Release 8.0 in order to carry existing 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 DL Tools data forward. To upgrade DL Tools from Release 8.0 to Release 9.0, run the Stand Alone Custom installation option (for standalone PC environments) or Workstation installation option (for network environments). The Workstation installation option should be run on all PCs in your office that currently access the DL Tools Release 8.0 database on your network.
The DL Tools database is updated with Release 9.0 changes the first time you access the software following completion of your Stand Alone Custom or Workstation installation(s). You will no longer be able to access DL Tools, Release 8.0 after this update is completed.
Users installing DL Tools for the first time should perform either the Stand Alone Full installation option (for standalone PC environments) or the Network Server and Workstation installations (for network environments) of Release 9.0. New DL Tools users are not required to have Release 8.0 installed prior to installing Release 9.0.
If you receive any prompt while installing DL Tools indicating an existing file was found and asking if you want to overwrite it, click "Yes."
If You Have Questions
If you need assistance connecting to the FSAdownload site, downloading DL Tools in single or multiple file format, or with the installation or use of DL Tools, contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support at 800/330-5947 (TDD/TTY 800/511-5806) or by e-mail at CPSSAIG@ed.gov.
You can also post questions regarding EDExpress on FSATECH. FSATECH is an electronic mailing list for technical questions about Federal Student Aid systems, software, and mainframe products. For more information on subscribing to FSATECH, go to ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/services/fsatechsubscribe.html.