Federal Student Aid - IFAP
   

Publication Date: December 15, 2006

Author: G. Kay Jacks, General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid

Summary: HERA Operational Implementation Guidance (CPS, COD System, EDExpress Suite) – Availability of EDExpress for Windows 2006-2007, Release 4.0

Posted on 12-15-2006

Federal Student Aid is pleased to announce the availability of EDExpress for Windows 2006-2007, Release 4.0 on the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site (located at http://fsadownload.ed.gov/). Release 4.0 is the second of three planned EDExpress 2006-2007 enhancement releases that implement provisions of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (the HERA), Pub. L. 109-171.

In addition to other changes, the HERA implements two new Title IV grant programs—the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant). The HERA also extends Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Direct PLUS) eligibility to graduate or professional students.

Note: The HERA provides for eligible graduate or professional students to receive Direct PLUS Loans on or after July 1, 2006. The HERA provision does not create a new loan program; instead, the HERA enables a new type of borrower—an eligible graduate or professional student—to borrow under the existing Direct PLUS Loan Program. In EDExpress 2006-2007, Release 3.0 and forward, a Direct PLUS loan for a graduate or professional student is referred to as a “Grad PLUS” loan.

EDExpress 2006-2007, Release 4.0, enables you to export ACG and National SMART Grant origination and disbursement data for transmission to the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System and import responses for ACG and National SMART Grant data sent by the COD System. The COD System begins accepting ACG and National SMART Grant origination and disbursement data on December 16, 2006.

Release 4.0 also resolves several EDExpress software issues present in Release 3.0 and prior versions. See “Software Issues Resolved in Release 4.0” below for further information.

In addition to the Release 4.0 software, the EDExpress for Windows 2006-2007, Release 4.0 Cover Letter is available on the FSAdownload Web site. The cover letter includes an overview of Release 4.0 enhancements related to the HERA, a list of software issues resolved in Release 4.0, and a preview of enhancements related to the HERA that will be implemented in EDExpress 2006-2007, Release 5.0 (available April 2007).

The HERA addenda to the EDExpress for Windows 2006-2007, Release 1.0 Desk Reference and the EDExpress for Windows 2006-2007, Release 2.0 Desk Reference, also available on the FSAdownload Web site, contain additional information and guidance regarding EDExpress 2006-2007 enhancements related to the HERA.

Note: Federal Student Aid always encourages EDExpress software users to upgrade to the latest release available for a specific cycle. However, if you do not award ACG or National SMART Grant funds to your students, or you are not impacted by the software issues being resolved in Release 4.0 (as outlined below), you are not required to install Release 4.0.

Software Issues Resolved In Release 4.0

In addition to implementing import and export functionality for the ACG and National SMART Grant, the following software issues, listed by module, are resolved in Release 4.0:

Application Processing

· Due to an address change for the U.S. Department of Education’s Collections unit, we updated the text for SAR Comment Codes 041 to 043, 065 to 067, 100 to 102, and 251 to 253.

Pell

· Pell Multiple Entry no longer generates a “No changes to save” error message when you attempt to modify previously entered data for a field using the Select Records option under Selection Criteria.

Note: This issue only impacts multiple entry fields using a combo box (for example a drop-down arrow enabling you to select from multiple valid values) on the final grid displayed during the multiple entry process. Verification Status is an example of a common entry field that uses combo box functionality in Pell Multiple Entry.

Direct Loan

· Custom MPN Printer templates you have established for PLUS loans in Tools, Setup, COD, MPN Printer are now available for selection when printing Grad PLUS MPNs (by selecting File, Print, Direct Loan, MPN-Grad PLUS).

· EDExpress no longer clears most of the data you have entered on the PLUS Info tab on the Direct Loan Origination tab if the origination process fails due to missing/invalid information or other origination data edits.

· The Direct Loan Origination tab now correctly updates the Loan Period and Academic Year dates associated with a disbursement profile if you change the disbursement profile code on a record immediately following a failed attempt to originate the loan (using Process, Originate).

· If you create a Grad PLUS loan record for a student by importing ISIR data (File, Import, Direct Loan, Loan Data-ISIR) and then delete the Grad PLUS record using File, Delete, Direct Loan (outside the student record), you can now create a new Grad PLUS loan record for the same student using the same ISIR import option. In Release 3.0, a database field was not reset following Global deletion of a Grad PLUS loan record; this prevented a subsequent ISIR import for the same student and loan type unless you selected “Prompt for Duplicates” on the import and allowed the new record to be created when prompted.

· EDExpress now correctly updates the Credit Decision field on Grad PLUS loan records when you import a Credit Decision Override Response (message class CRCO07OP) sent by the COD System.

· The Direct Loan export process for PLUS and Grad PLUS records now exports the value entered for the Student’s Loan Default/Grant Overpayment field to the COD System. Previously, EDExpress exported the value for the Borrower’s Loan Default/Grant Overpayment field for both the student and the borrower in COD Common Record files.

· When you clear the checkbox for the Direct Loan Origination tab field “Additional Unsub Eligibility for Health Profession Programs?” on an accepted origination record that had this checkbox selected, EDExpress will now export this modified data to the COD System. Previously, schools had to use the COD Web site to clear the value for the “Additional Unsub Eligibility for Health Profession Programs?” field on an origination record if the field was selected and exported using EDExpress and accepted by the COD System.

· We updated the Direct Loan Disburse tab to enable the Export to External checkbox for anticipated disbursement records (Disbursement Release Indicator = False, or cleared). This change enables you to re-export an anticipated disbursement record you have updated to an external system after including the record in a previous Direct Loan External Export (File, Export, Direct Loan, External Loan Data).

· The EDExpress Direct Loan Disburse tab no longer generates a software error message when you set the Disbursement Release Indicator (DRI) to True (or selected) for the first disbursement, save the record, then click the Add Disbursement button.

· EDExpress now enables you to print a Grad PLUS MPN before or after originating the loan record without adversely affecting the MPN Status field or Signed MPN Received date information you have entered.

· When printing a Disclosure Statement (File, Print, Direct Loan, Disclosure Statement – Sub/Unsub) for a student record with both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, EDExpress now correctly identifies the Loan Type for each loan on the report and always prints the subsidized loan information first.

Before You Install Release 4.0

Before upgrading from Release 1.0, Release 2.0, or Release 3.0 to Release 4.0, ensure you have a valid, reliable backup copy of your current production EDExpress 2006-2007 database (expres67.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 the checkbox selected 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.

3) 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 4.0. You should run Compact and Repair Database first, then Verify Database, and lastly run Compact and Repair Database again.

Release 4.0 Download/Installation Process

Release 4.0 is available on the FSAdownload Web site in two formats. You can download the software in one file, called Express67r4.exe, or you can download the software in twelve separate “disk” installment files which can be copied to a local area network (LAN) drive or CD-ROM.

You are required to have Windows 2000 or Windows XP as your PC workstation operating system to run Release 4.0. You must also meet the minimum hardware and software configuration requirements outlined in the September 2004 Federal Register Notice, available on the IFAP Web site at http://ifap.ed.gov/fregisters/FR09142004.html. Additional details and frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the hardware and software requirements are available on IFAP at ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN0408.html. Other hardware, software, and LAN requirements are outlined in the 2006-2007 Installation Guide for EDExpress for Windows.

Important Installation Note: You must be an Administrator on your workstation to install EDExpress 2006-2007, Release 4.0 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 Release 4.0. After an Administrator has installed Release 4.0, 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. 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 EDExpress software.

EDExpress for Windows 2006-2007, Release 4.0 can be installed as an upgrade to Release 1.0, Release 2.0, or Release 3.0. You must have Release 1.0, Release 2.0, or Release 3.0 installed to run an upgrade (or “custom”) installation.

To upgrade to Release 4.0, 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 Release 1.0, Release 2.0, or Release 3.0 database. If you choose to overwrite your database, all data previously entered will be lost.

Note: If you have not installed Release 1.0, Release 2.0, or Release 3.0 on your system, you can proceed directly to a Stand Alone Full or Network Server/Workstation Full installation of Release 4.0.

Note: A Stand Alone Full or Network Server/Workstation Full installation will load a completely new, blank 2006-2007 EDExpress database to your system. If a database already exists for 2006-2007 on your system, a full installation of Release 4.0 will overwrite it and all data previously entered will be lost.

If you receive any prompts during the Release 4.0 installation indicating an existing file was found and asking if you want to overwrite it, click Yes.

After you upgrade your standalone or LAN workstation(s) to Release 4.0, reboot the PC, then log on to EDExpress 2006-2007 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 2006-2007, Release 4.0, contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support at 800/330-5947 (TDD/TTY 800/511-5806) or by e-mail at CPSSAIG@ed.gov.

If you have questions regarding the COD System, contact the COD School Relations Center at 800/4PGRANT (800/474-7268) for ACG, National SMART Grant, and Pell Grant or 800/848-0978 for Direct Loan. You may also e-mail CODSupport@acs-inc.com.

If you have policy-related questions regarding the HERA, contact Federal Student Aid’s Research and Customer Care Center (RCCC) at 800/433-7327 or by fax at 202/275-5532. You can also e-mail the RCCC at fsa.customer.support@ed.gov. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.