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(COD System) Subject: Implementation Update - COD System Functionality for 2010-2011 Award Year

Posted Date:April 2, 2010

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

Subject: Implementation Update - COD System Functionality for 2010-2011 Award Year

During the period March 26-27, 2010, we implemented additional Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System functionality to support the processing of Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant), Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) awards for the 2010-2011 Award Year. After major system releases such as this one, we routinely inform the higher education community if post-implementation issues arise. While these issues are generally minor in impact and quickly resolved, we communicate the issues and our resolution plans as part of our commitment to serving our customers.

We explained all of the system changes in the following two March 19, 2010 Electronic Announcements posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site:

As we informed the community earlier this week, we experienced user availability issues with the new StudentLoans.gov Web site on Monday, March 29, 2010 and Tuesday, March 30, 2010. We determined that behind-the-scenes functionality related to special messages we can post on the home page had an unintended impact on users being able to access and complete actions on the site. We removed the problematic functionality, fully resolved user availability issues by 1:15 P.M. (ET) on Tuesday, March 30, 2010, and have not had further user availability issues. We regret any inconvenience to our StudentLoans.gov customers.

Note: In our communications on Monday and Tuesday, we provided information about an additional precautionary measure we took. This measure was to temporarily disable three new components of Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Web site searches used by schools. We plan to return these COD Web site search components to service early next week and will inform the community after we have done so.

In the remainder of this announcement, we provide post-implementation information that, in conjunction with our two earlier implementation announcements, provides complete information about the COD System implementation. This post-implementation information includes reminders, clarifications, and updates on the resolution of a few other issues we have identified.

Post-Implementation Information

1. As explained in our pre-release communications, we plan to implement new functionality to enhance Direct PLUS Loan processing in the very near future. We will inform the community of the availability of this functionality through an Electronic Announcement on the IFAP Web site. In the meantime, the COD System will continue to accept Direct PLUS Loan awards and process credit checks under current processing rules. Borrowers can complete the Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) via the new StudentLoans.gov Web site.

2. In the COD System Implementation announcement, we noted that beginning March 27, 2010 a school can submit up to 20 disbursements for Direct PLUS Loan awards. To clarify, the increased number of Direct PLUS Loan disbursements applies to all open award years.

3. Given recent legislation, it is necessary for us to re-evaluate the Pell Grant funding allocations for the 2010-2011 Award Year. We are completing our analysis now and will inform the community about the impact to previously provided guidance. Please monitor the IFAP Web site for these communications.

4. Some details about the new Direct Loan Entrance Counseling Acknowledgement are not included in the 2010-2011 COD Technical Reference. As noted in the Enhancements to Direct Loan Functionality announcement, the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling Acknowledgement will be returned to a school’s Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) mailbox via the message class CRECMYOP. In addition, the COD Common Record XML Schema Version 3.0c includes all information needed to code for the new acknowledgement. We will update the 2010-2011 COD Technical Reference in early April 2010. Please monitor the IFAP Web site for the updated posting.

5. We have identified a few other relatively minor post-implementation issues. As reflected below, these issues have either already been resolved or will be resolved by the end of this coming weekend’s routine maintenance period.

  • Resolved – All system-generated and web responses sent on Monday, March 29, 2010 were sent with an invalid value in the <Namespace> tag. The value included 2010 instead of 2009. On March 30, 2010, we corrected the issue. The COD School Relations Center is available to assist a school that is unable to import a March 29, 2010 system-generated or web response.
  • Resolution Planned for April 4, 2010 – Some Direct Loan Entrance Counseling Acknowledgements sent on Monday, March 29, 2010 were sent with an invalid value in the <Counseling Sequence Number> tag. The value contained alpha characters instead of numeric characters. This error only occurred when a borrower did not have a middle initial associated with his or her Federal Student Aid PIN. The COD School Relations Center is available to assist a school that is unable to import a March 29, 2010 Direct Loan Entrance Counseling Acknowledgement. A workaround has been in place since Tuesday, March 30, 2010 to ensure acknowledgements are sent with correct values. We plan to implement a permanent fix for this issue on Sunday, April 4, 2010.
  • Resolution Planned for April 4, 2010 – Once a borrower selects the Print MPN link from the Manage My Direct Loan menu on the StudentLoans.gov Web site, he or she must select the type of MPN to be printed. The MPN list currently includes a “Perkins” link. However, borrowers cannot complete MPNs for the Federal Perkins Loan Program via the StudentLoans.gov Web site. This link was designed to support proposed legislative changes to the Federal Perkins Loan Program. These proposed changes were not included in the recently enacted legislation, and we plan to remove the link on Sunday, April 4, 2010.

Contact Information

We appreciate the community’s support as we implemented COD System functionality for the 2010-2011 Award Year. If you have questions about the functionality or information in tt the functionality or information in ttionality or information in this announcement, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/474-7268 for Grants or 800/848-0978 for Diom">CODSupport@acs-inc.com.

Last Modified: 04/01/2010