Federal Student Aid - IFAP
   

Publication Date: March 31, 2008

Author: William Leith, Acting General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid

Summary: Availability of EDExpress for Windows 2008-2009, Release 2.0

Posted on 03-31-2008

The U.S. Department of Education is pleased to announce the posting of EDExpress for Windows 2008-2009, Release 2.0, on the Department's Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site, located at http://fsadownload.ed.gov.

Release 2.0 adds Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant) Program and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program functionality for the 2008-2009 award cycle. The Pell Grant module includes 2008-2009 origination and disbursement functionality for the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant).

Release 2.0 also modifies the Package and Repackage processes in the Packaging module to accommodate the 2008-2009 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules.

In addition to the Release 2.0 software, the following EDExpress 2008-2009 documents are now available on the FSAdownload Web site:

  • The EDExpress for Windows 2008-2009, Release 2.0 Cover Letter
  • The EDExpress for Windows 2008-2009, Release 2.0 Desk Reference (covers Pell Grant and Direct Loan Program processing functionality) and Addendum (covers changes related to the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 [the HERA], Pub. L. 109-171, such as ACG and National SMART Grant processing)

These documents, along with the Installation Guide for EDExpress for Windows 2008-2009 (also available on the FSAdownload Web site), contain important information and guidance regarding EDExpress 2008-2009 functionality that you should review.

2008-2009 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules

As noted in an Electronic Announcement posted on December 27, 2007, the Federal Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations bill and the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (the CCRAA), Pub. L. 110-84, established the maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the 2008-2009 Award Year at $4,731, set the minimum Pell Grant award at $890, and set the maximum Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that a student can have to be eligible to receive a Pell Grant at 4041. These changes are documented in the 2008-2009 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules published in Dear Colleague Letter P-08-01 on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site, located at http://ifap.ed.gov.

We began processing new 2008-2009 application and correction records according to the updated Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules on January 13, 2008. We also reprocessed 2008-2009 Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) on January 28, 2008 for students who applied prior to January 13, 2008 and were impacted by the change in the maximum Pell Grant eligible EFC from 4110 to 4041. EDExpress 2008-2009 users should import all reprocessed ISIR transactions (File, Import, App Express, ISIR Data) sent by Federal Student Aid to ensure the most accurate and recent student data is loaded in your database. For more information, see the Electronic Announcement posted to the IFAP Web site on January 25, 2008.

The EDExpress 2008-2009 Release 2.0 Pell Grant module's Calculate Award Amount for Entire School Year? process calculates Pell Grant awards according to the 2008-2009 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules.

Release 2.0 Enhancements

The following software updates related to the 2008-2009 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules, listed by module, are available in EDExpress 2008-2009, Release 2.0:

EDExpress Global

  • We updated the Pell Regular Schedule tab (available under Tools, Browse, Global) to reflect the updated 2008-2009 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules. The Pell Alternative Schedule tab remains unchanged.

EDExpress Packaging

  • We updated the Package and Repackage processes to award Pell Grants (Packaging Aid Type = F) according to the 2008-2009 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules.

If you create Packaging records by importing ISIR data, you should re-import ISIR data for student records impacted by the January 28, 2008 ISIR reprocessing. This ensures the Pell Eligibility field on the Packaging record is set correctly. You must unpackage student records at a Packaging Status of P (Packaged), M (Manually Adjusted), or H (Hand Packaged) to import new ISIR transactions. You may want to print the Packaging Record for impacted students before unpackaging so you have a record of the funds you originally awarded to them (in case you want to recreate the awards).

After you import all reprocessed ISIR data into the Release 2.0 Packaging module, run the Package process for the impacted student records. If you did not receive reprocessed ISIR data, you should run the Repackage process for students with Pell Grant awards after upgrading to Release 2.0. This ensures your students' Pell Grant awards follow the updated 2008-2009 Pell Grant payment and disbursement schedules.

Upcoming EDExpress 2008-2009 Releases

EDExpress 2008-2009, Release 2.0, does not include functionality needed to support the processing of Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant awards for 2008-2009. The TEACH Grant was established by the CCRAA and is effective July 1, 2008. This release also does not include functionality needed to support regulatory changes related to late disbursements and maximum loan period/academic year length.

Shortly after a Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System implementation planned for June 28, 2008, we will update EDExpress 2008-2009 to add TEACH Grant origination and disbursement functionality and other features such as TEACH Grant reports, query, and multiple entry. The forthcoming release will also include functionality needed to support regulatory changes related to late disbursements and maximum loan period/academic year length.

Future EDExpress 2008-2009 enhancement releases will add functionality for importing TEACH Grant reports sent by the COD System.

We will communicate the details related to future EDExpress 2008-2009 releases, as well as all necessary operational implementation guidance, through Electronic Announcements on the IFAP Web site.

Before You Install Release 2.0

If you are upgrading from Release 1.0 to Release 2.0, ensure you have a valid, reliable backup copy of your current EDExpress 2008-2009 production database (expres89.mdb).

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, Utilities, 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, Global, 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.

After clearing any record locks and logging out any user IDs, run the Compact and Repair Database and Verify Database utilities by selecting Tools, Utilities from the menu bar before installing Release 2.0. You should run Compact and Repair Database first, then Verify Database, and lastly run Compact and Repair Database again.

Release 2.0 Download/Installation Process

Release 2.0 is available on the FSAdownload Web site in two formats. You can download the entire software in one file, called express89r2.exe, or you can download the software in separate "disk" installment files, which can be copied to a Local Area Network (LAN) drive or CDs. Review the download and installation instructions in the Installation Guide for further information.

You are required to have Windows 2000 or Windows XP as your PC workstation operating system to run Release 2.0.

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.

Check the IFAP Web site for the most recent guidance concerning minimum and optimal system configuration recommendations.

Important Installation Note: You must be an Administrator on your workstation to install EDExpress 2008-2009 in the Windows 2000 or Windows XP operating systems. If you are not an Administrator, you will receive a warning when you try to install EDExpress. After an Administrator has installed EDExpress, you can run it 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. There are no workarounds for these Windows rights issues. Consult with your school's technical department if you receive a warning that an Administrator must install the EDExpress software.

Release 2.0 can be installed as an upgrade to Release 1.0. You must have Release 1.0 installed in order to run an upgrade (or "Custom") installation of Release 2.0.

To upgrade to Release 2.0, select either the Stand Alone Custom or Workstation Custom option during installation, depending on your EDExpress operating environment. Do NOT mark the "Database" checkbox unless you are performing a first-time installation or want to overwrite your EDExpress 2008-2009 database. If you choose to overwrite your database, all data previously entered will be lost.

Note: If you have not installed EDExpress 2008-2009 on your system, you can proceed directly to a Stand Alone Full or Network Server/Workstation Full installation of Release 2.0. Remember, a Stand Alone Full or Network Server/Workstation Full installation will load a completely new, blank 2008-2009 EDExpress database to your system. If a database already exists for 2008-2009 on your system, a full installation of Release 2.0 will overwrite it and all data previously entered will be lost.

If you receive any prompts during the Release 2.0 installation indicating an existing file was found and asking if you want to overwrite it, click Yes.

After you upgrade from Release 1.0 to Release 2.0, reboot your PC, then log on to EDExpress 2008-2009 to allow the software to perform a one-time only database update. This update loads important changes to your database structure.

If You Have Questions

If you have any questions regarding downloading, installing, or using EDExpress 2008-2009, Release 2.0, 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 about FSATECH, including how to subscribe, go to http://fsa4schools.ed.gov, click "Listserves/Mailing Lists" on the left menu, and click the "FSATech listserv" link.

If you have any questions about the COD System, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/474-7268 for Grants or 800/848-0978 for Direct Loans. You may also e-mail CODSupport@acs-inc.com.