October 09, 2007
Section 1 - Implementation of Electronic Government Initiatives
|A. Describe how the initiative is transforming agency operations.|
The Federal Student Aid Integrated Partner Management (IPM) project was initiated to integrate common functions within the partner management business systems to provide a streamlined and consolidated solution to managing partner interactions and support the delivery of Title IV funds to students. The IPM solution will improve the enrollment, eligibility and oversight functions, and also strengthen internal financial management and controls. The IPM solution will help support and facilitate the institutions, financial institutions, and servicers with their enrollment and Title IV compliance activities.
The technology modernization implemented in IPM through the portal and participation in the enterprise-wide security architecture, will provide the partners with a simplified sign-on, a consistent user experience, and an easy method for maintaining Title IV eligibility and submitting accurate and timely information to Federal Student Aid.
|B. Explain how your agency maintains an ongoing dialogue with interested parties to find innovative ways to use information technology for the initiative.|
|Project staff meets regularly with schools, lenders, and Department Program Offices.|
|C. Identify external partners (e.g., Federal, State or local agencies, industry) who collaborate with your agency on the initiative.|
The IPM initiative, through process reengineering and process automation, will provide, in one solution, improved eligibility, enrollment, and oversight processes used to manage partner entities (i.e., schools, school servicers, lenders, lender servicers, guarantee agencies, private collection agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, accrediting agencies, auditors, and owners) as they administer Title IV Financial Aid for Students. Today, many Federal Student Aid systems manage these processes. Schools, lenders, guarantors and other partners are located throughout the world. Federal Student Aid's monitoring and oversight staff are located at Federal Student Aid headquarters and throughout the U.S. in ten regional offices.
|D. Identify improved performance (e.g., outcome measures) by tracking performance measures supporting agency objectives and strategic goals.|
The access and enrollment management capability in IPM will provide the partners with a user-friendly method for controlling the roles and access for personnel doing work on the partner's behalf, provide Federal Student Aid with the ability to track and log access, and improve data entry accuracy because the enrollment of services and systems will be maintained in one system.
IPM will provide the partners a streamlined and simplified process for communicating with Federal Student Aid through the automation of notifications and eSignature capability. IPM will deploy the enterprise generation, dissemination, and maintenance of Routing ID (RID), which will enable Federal Student Aid to maintain accurate entity relationships.In addition to the partner benefits, the IPM solution will result in significant business improvement and increased accountability. The effective use of technology will provide comprehensive institutional monitoring data to strengthen oversight and allow for more effective compliance decisions. IPM will provide faster access and increased availability to monitoring data, and improve data quality and accuracy. The development of a risk model will proactively identify and prioritize potential risks. The enhancement of the document management system will provide easy access to all historical monitoring data. Some of the benefits IPM will achieve are: Improved decision-making; Increased data availability to school and financial partner oversight staff; A single identifier (RID) at the enterprise level to manage partner activities; Improved customer service; Reduced Case Management business process cycle times through the implementation of work-flow technology; Reduced manual data entry; Automated risk triggers.
|E. Quantify the cost savings and cost avoidance achieved through implementing the initiative (e.g., by reducing or eliminating other investments in information technology).|
We expect to achieve tighter integration of partner-level data and enhance its utility for monitoring, service, technical assistance, and risk management. In addition, we will improve controls through a single point of enrollment and access for partners to our systems.
The IPM project was initiated to address some of the deficiencies in Federal Student Aid's current stove-piped system architecture, characterized by multiple partner entry points to Federal Student Aid's services, redundant data edits, redundant data storage, excessive file exchange activities, and the inability to view data about a partner's activities and needs. These deficiencies result in barriers to performing adequate monitoring and oversight, limit Federal Student Aid's ability to provide customer service to partners, and create frustration among Federal Student Aid's customers who must deal with multiple Federal Student Aid systems to perform a single business function.
IPM will significantly improve Federal Student Aid's business operations, including the critical monitoring and oversight functions, by creating the ability to track customer activities through the full life-cycle of a partner's functions within Federal Student Aid's systems. IPM will also increase customer satisfaction by leveraging single (reduced) sign-on for partners.
IPM supports Federal Student Aid's modernization efforts to integrate and streamline core systems. The primary systems to be consolidated are: Application for Approval to Participate in Federal Student Financial Aid Programs (eAPP), eZ-Audit, Electronic Records Management (ERM) and the Postsecondary Education Participants System (PEPS). Additionally, the Participation Management (PM) functionality of the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) will be incorporated into this effort. Federal Student Aid intends to use a combination of commercial off the shelf (COTS) and custom software for this solution.
|F. Explain how this initiative ensures the availability of Government information and services for those without access to the Internet and for those with disabilities.|
|A contract clause was included in the contract making 508 compliance a requirement. Particular performance measures are required to demonstrate that the compliance is adhered to and 508 compliance testing from an independent group will be performed prior to each implementation.|
|G. Explain how the project applies effective capital planning and investment control procedures.|
|IPM was selected by the Department’s Investment Review Board to be part of the information technology portfolio, because IPM efficiently and effectively supports the strategic goal of achieving budget and performance integration to link funding decisions to results. IPM employs performance-based acquisition management, which involves the integration of program scope, schedule, and cost objectives. Earned value is reported monthly. Other performance measures are tracked weekly, monthly, and quarterly. IPM also uses validated/certified project managers and employs independent verification and validation services.|
Section 2 – Agency Information Management Activities
|A. Your agency's Information Resources Management (IRM) Strategic Plan|
|B. Final determinations, priorities, and schedules. Also include your agency's information dissemination product catalogs, directories, inventories, and any other management tools used to improve the dissemination of and access to your agency's information by the public;|
|ED is committed to providing its full range of information to the public. A primary vehicle for doing so is the Department's main website, ED.gov. ED.gov offers regularly updated information on the administration's priorities as well as ED grants and contracts, federal student financial aid, education research and statistics, ED policy, and ED programs (please see www.ed.gov). The U.S. Department of Education (ED) developed an inventory of website content, http://www.ed.gov/notices/egovinventory.html, as required by Section 207(f)(2) of the E-Government Act of 2002. ED also offers a one-stop system for ordering ED publications (http://edpubs.ed.gov/webstore/Content/search.asp), an array of e-newsletters (http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/index.html), and an RSS feed (http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/rssnewsfeed.html).|
|C. Your agency's FOIA handbook, the link of your agency's primary FOIA website, and the website link where frequent requests for records are made available to the public;|
The Department's primary FOIA website is
The Department provides a link from its primary FOIA website to the DOJ FOIA
The Department provides information to assist requesters to "make a FOIA
request." The web address for "How to Make a Request" is:
The Department's "frequently requested records" web page is:
|D. A list of your agency's public websites disseminating research and development (R&D) information to the public, describing for each whether the website provides the public information about federally funded R&D activities and/or provides the results of Federal research;|
The Department's primary website, ED.gov, hosts a portal page that serves as the starting point to ED research and statistics information (please see http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/landing.jhtml). The main ED organization that supports ED research and statistics is the Institute of Education Sciences (please see http://ies.ed.gov/).
|E. An inventory describing formal agency agreements (e.g., contracts, memorandum of understanding) with external entities (e.g., partnerships with State and local governments, public libraries, industry and commercial search engines) complementing your agency's information dissemination program, briefly explaining how each agreement improves the access to and dissemination of government information to the public;|
Besides http://www.ed.gov, http://ies.ed.gov, http://studentaid.ed.gov/, our main sources of information for the public, we have agreements with three contractors to complement information dissemination program:
EDpubs, http://edpubs.ed.gov/webstore/Content/search.asp, is intended to help customers identify and order U.S. Department of Education products. All publications are provided at no cost to the general public by the U.S. Department of Education.
Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), http://eric.ed.gov/, provides free access to more than 1.2 million bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials and, if available, includes links to full text.
What Works Clearinghouse, http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/, provides educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public with a central and trusted source of scientific evidence of what works in education.
ED has two cooperative agreements:
Students.gov, http://www.students.gov/STUGOVWebApp/Public, is an official U.S. government web site designed for college students and their families. Our mission is to provide you with easy access to information and resources from the U.S. government – all the info you need, in one place, from all parts of the government.
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE), http://free.ed.gov, makes it easier to find teaching and learning resources from the federal government. More than 1,500 federally supported teaching and learning resources are included from dozens of federal agencies. New sites are added regularly.
|F. An inventory that describes your agency's NARA-approved records schedules(s) or the link to the publicly-posted records schedules(s), and a brief explanation of your agency's progress to implement NARA Bulletin 2006-02. For the brief explanation, please report the number of systems for which a record schedule was submitted to NARA in FY 2007 and the number of systems still requiring records schedules.|
The Department's Comprehensive Records Disposition Schedule is available
ED is making steady progress in meeting the requirements of NARA Bulletin 2006-02. ED is in the process of completely overhauling its existing records disposition schedules. We have obtained NARA approval to make the new ED comprehensive records retention schedules, broader in scope, media-neutral and applicable to records in all formats. ED will submit approximately 100 new records retention schedules to NARA for final approval in FY08. A majority of our electronic information systems will be covered by these new schedules. Remaining systems will be scheduled individually. All of ED's electronic information systems will be covered by applicable records retention schedules by the September 30, 2009 deadline.
NARA Bulletin 2006-02 also requires agencies to incorporate records management functions into the design, development, and implementation of information. ED has started the process of modifying its Life Cycle Management process to incorporate records management requirements. This will ensure that records management considerations are taken into account during the system initiation and concept phases and records management requirements are defined and incorporated into system design, functionality, and operation.