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(Direct Loans) Subject: Loan Servicing Information - Transition to New Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) System and Web Sites Planned for October 10, 2011 (Update #5)

Posted Date:September 23, 2011

Author: Jana Hernandes, Service Director, Operations, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Loan Servicing Information - Transition to New Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) System and Web Sites Planned for October 10, 2011 (Update #5)

Since June 2011, we have communicated that the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS), one of the Department of Education’s six federal loan servicers, plans to transition to a new loan servicing system. In addition to the new system, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will launch new Web sites for schools as well as William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) borrowers and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant recipients. The implementation of the new system and Web sites is scheduled for October 10, 2011.

Through a series of announcements, we have informed the community of transition-related activities, preparations, and impacts. To date, we have posted five electronic announcements on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site (June 10, 2011, June 24, 2011, July 14, 2011, August 26, 2011, and September 1, 2011).

In conjunction with our announcements, Questions and Answers (Q&As) about the transition have been and remain available for school customers in the News and Updates section of the current Direct Loan Servicing Online Schools Web Site. In addition, Q&As for Direct Loan borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients have been and remain available in the Direct Loan Servicing News section of the current Direct Loan Servicing Online Web site. Some of these Q&As have been updated and are identified by the date September 23, 2011.

In this announcement, we provide a final reminder of key transition-related information. We understand that the transition impacts will cause some inconvenience to customers. We apologize for these inconveniences and appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) completes this important work.

We present the information in this announcement as follows:

    • Outage Periods and Impacts
    • School Information and Impacts
    • Borrower Information and Impacts
    • Contact Information

Outage Periods and Impacts

To bring the new system and Web sites into production, it will be necessary for the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) to shut down system and Web site access for a period of time. In support of this work, it is also necessary for us to temporarily suspend certain aspects of Direct Consolidation Loan and Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System processing. The associated outages—Direct Consolidation Loan Processing Outage, COD System Processing Outage, Web Payment Outage, and System and Web Site Outage—are presented in chronological order below.

Direct Consolidation Loan Processing Outage

The funding and booking of Direct Consolidation Loans is currently on hold. We began this hold on September 14, 2011, and it will continue until Monday, October 10, 2011. During this period, borrowers may continue to complete and submit applications and supporting documentation to us via the Direct Loan Consolidation Center and/or the Direct Consolidation Loans Web site.

Note: It is important that borrowers continue to make required payments on underlying loans they wish to consolidate or, if needed, contact their current loan holders or servicers to make arrangements to suspend payments until the consolidation has been completed.

COD System Processing Outage

There is minimal impact to COD System processing, but some processes will be suspended as follows:

    • Direct Loans will continue to be booked and assigned to federal loan servicers. However, loans assigned to the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will not be sent until the new system is available beginning October 10, 2011. As a result, schools will continue to receive the appropriate responses from the COD System, but borrower communications from the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) for those loans will be on hold.
    • Direct Loan discharge information and Payment to Servicing transactions sent from the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) to the COD System will be on hold Wednesday, September 28, 2011 through Monday, October 10, 2011.
    • The COD Web site will be unavailable for a brief period from 8:00 P.M. (ET) to 10:00 P.M. (ET) on Friday, September 30, 2011.

Web Payment Outage

From 4:00 P.M. (ET) on Thursday, September 29, 2011 until 8:00 A.M. (ET) on Monday, October 10, 2011, Web payments via the Direct Loan Servicing Online Web site will be unavailable. During this outage period, borrowers will be able to mail their payments to the following address:

United States Department of Education
PO Box 530260
Atlanta, GA 30353-0260

Note: Borrowers who scheduled Web payments for debit after September 30, 2011 have been notified that their previously scheduled Web payments have been cancelled due to the transition. Borrowers will be responsible for making these payments and have the option to mail their payments to the above address or reschedule the payments via the new borrower Web site once it is available.

All borrowers who use the Web to make payments will need to reenter their bank account information the first time they make or schedule a payment via the new borrower Web site.

System and Web Site Outage

From 8:30 P.M. (ET) on Friday, September 30, 2011 until 8:00 A.M. (ET) on Monday, October 10, 2011,the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) system and Web sites will be unavailable.

    • Schools will not be able to access the Direct Loan Servicing Online School Web site or its related functions.
    • Direct Loan borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients will not be able to access their account information via the Direct Loan Servicing Online Web site.
    • Direct Loan borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients will not be able to access their account information via the Direct Loan Servicing Center’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.
    • Schools, Direct Loan borrowers, and TEACH Grant recipients will be able to talk with customer service representatives at the Direct Loan Servicing Center during the normal hours of operation, Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 8:30 P.M. (ET). However, due to the system and Web site outage, customer service representatives will be able to provide general program information only.

Customer service representatives will assist as best they can at the time of contact. Customers will be instructed to access the new Web site or place a follow up call to the Direct Loan Servicing Center after the outage period ends.

School Information and Impacts

The activities and associated impacts for schools are as follows:

New School Web Site and Access

At the end of the outage period on Monday, October 10, 2011, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will launch a new school Web site, www.myedaccount.com/schools.

Consistent with the Web site URLs for all of our federal loan servicers, the new URL contains a “.com” domain. Once the transition is complete, financial aid professionals who access the current Web site’s home page will be redirected to the new Web site.

Within the new Web site, financial aid professionals will access school and borrower specific reporting information through Nsight, a Web-based delinquency reporting tool that will be used by both the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) and Nelnet (two separate and independent federal loan servicers). Financial aid professionals will no longer use their existing COD Web site user name and password to access the school Web site. Instead, they will use a different Nsight user name and password to access the new school Web site.

    • If financial aid professionals currently have access to Nsight to view federally-owned loans serviced by Nelnet, they will use their existing credentials to access the new school Web site.
    • If financial aid professionals do not currently have access to Nsight, they will need to establish a profile that includes the creation of a user name and password.

Registration for access to the new school Web site can be completed prior to transition by contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) School Services Team. Early registration is encouraged, to prevent interruption in accessing Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) information following implementation of the new school Web site.

Note: To ensure that all schools that need to register receive the message to do so prior to the transition, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) launched a communication campaign on September 6, 2011. This campaign delivers a virtual phone message to key personnel at schools that need to establish Nsight access and have not yet done so. The virtual phone message campaign will continue through Friday, September 30, 2011.

School Entrance and Exit Counseling Reports Available Until September 28, 2011

As explained in a June 3, 2011 announcement , Direct Loan Entrance and Exit Counseling and TEACH Grant Exit Counseling were retired from the Direct Loan Servicing Online Borrower Web site in late July 2011. In addition to the retirement of the online borrower counseling products, school entrance and exit counseling reports are no longer available via the current school Web site. Financial aid professionals who require past counseling reports must contact the Direct Loan Servicing School Services Team by 8:30 P.M. (ET) on Wednesday, September 28, 2011. After September 28th, past counseling reports will no longer be available to schools.

NSLDS Reporting

The Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) has temporarily stopped reporting the Direct Loans it services to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).Depending on individual situations, schools may be impacted as outlined in our September 1, 2011 announcement. We anticipate that regular weekly reporting will resume in mid-October 2011.

Borrower Information and Impacts

The activities and associated impacts for Direct Loan borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients are as follows:

New Borrower Web Site and Acces

At the end of the outage period on Monday, October 10, 2011, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will launch a new borrower Web site, www.myedaccount.com.

Consistent with the Web site URLs for all of our federal loan servicers, the new URL contains a “.com” domain. Once the transition is complete, Direct Loan borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients who access the current Web site’s home page will be redirected to the new Web site.

Within the new Web site, Direct Loan borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients will access content similar to the content they access today; it will just have a different look and feel. Borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients will no longer use their Federal Student Aid PINs to access the Web site. They will be asked to establish a profile that includes the real-time creation of a user name and password. This registration will be required once the transition has been completed and the new Web site is available.

NSLDS Reporting

The Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) has temporarily stopped reporting Direct Loans it services to the NSLDS.Depending on individual situations, Direct Loan borrowers may experience a delayed reflection of their Direct Loan disbursements and adjustments in the NSLDS and accessed via the NSLDS Student Access Web site. We anticipate that regular weekly reporting to NSLDS will resume in mid-October 2011.

Contact Information

We appreciate the community’s patience and assistance as the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) transitions to its new system and Web sites. We will inform the community after the new system and Web sites have been implemented. Please monitor the IFAP Web site for this announcement.

If you have questions about transition-related outages and impacts, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) School Services Team by phone at 888/877-7658. You may also contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) School Services Team via the Web by visiting the current Web site at http://www.dl.ed.gov/schools.

Last Modified: 09/22/2011