Summary: ED Received an A Grade for Our Year 2000 Progress
I am pleased to announce that the Departments systems that support the delivery of student financial aid have been renovated, validated, and implemented for Year 2000 compliance. Based on our last report to the Office of Management and Budget, Congressman Stephen Horn, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, gave the Department of Education an A grade for our Year 2000 progress.
While our systems are Y2K compliant, the successful delivery of financial aid funds and services to our students depend on the Y2K compliance of all partners. Secretary Richard Riley is sending a letter to all postsecondary education institution presidents shortly. He will urge them to give priority to making your institution Y2K compliant, testing data exchanges with the Department, and developing contingency plans.
Year 2000 Testing the Department
I am worried because very few schools have tested or signed up to test data exchanges with us. I strongly urge you to participate in data exchange testing with our student financial aid systems. Although the Departments systems and data exchange interfaces have been tested internally, we all need the reassurance that can only be provided by a live testing of the data exchange with our partners. All schools, including those who use our software products, need to test to reduce risk. Our testing schedule, plans, and instructions are on our web site (www. ed.gov).
As an additional measure of insurance, we completed contingency plans for our critical business processes. We posted the plans on our Y2K web side (www.ed.gov/offices/OCIO/year/reports.html). I invite you to review these plans and provide comments. I also urge you to develop contingency plans for your critical business processes to insure uninterrupted services to your students. For assistance, see our web site for:
· the GAO report on contingency planning,
· the Y2K Readiness Kit developed with the assistance of your professional associations, and
· summaries of focus groups held with institutions on Y2K compliance and contingency planning.
You may also want to attend the session on contingency planning Preparing for the Worst: Year 2000 Contingency Planning at NASFAAs Annual Conference. I invite you to stop by our booth in the exhibit area for more information or to talk with Department representatives.
I urge your action on the above items to insure that financial aid, especially aid disbursements, continues uninterrupted. If we can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact us via the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief Operating Officer
Office of Student Financial Assistance