06-10: Transition to New Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) System and Websites Planned for Fall 2011

Posted Date: June 10, 2011

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

Subject:  Loan Servicing Information - Transition to New Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) System and Websites Planned for Fall 2011

We are pleased to announce that the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS), one of the Department of Education’s five federal loan servicers, plans to transition to a new loan servicing system in fall 2011.  In addition to the new system, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will launch new websites 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 servicer will continue to be identified by its recently implemented National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) ED Servicer code, 583, after the transition.

This is the first in a series of announcements through which we will inform the community of the transition.  In conjunction with the announcements we post, Questions and Answers (Q&As) about the transition to the new system and websites for the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) are available in the News and Updates section of the current Direct Loan Servicing Online for Schools website. The Q&As will be updated as transition-related work progresses over the next few months.  To ensure the transition message reaches all schools, over the course of this month, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will also communicate this message via e-mail to school financial aid administrators and Direct Loan contacts. 

We appreciate the assistance schools will provide as the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) and Federal Student Aid complete the transition to the new system and websites.  We know that schools will field many questions from Direct Loan borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients on our behalf.  For this reason, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will not begin borrower-specific communications about the transition until it completes school notification.  We will inform schools before the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) launches its borrower e-mail campaign and posts Q&As to the borrower website. 

In this announcement, we provide a high-level overview of the transition as follows:

  • New School Website and Transition Information
  • New Borrower Website and Transition Information
  • Entrance and Exit Counseling Retirement
  • Forthcoming Communications
  • Contact Information

New School Website and Transition Information

The new school website will enable financial aid professionals to access content similar to the content they access today; it will just have a different look and feel.  Within the new website, financial aid professionals will have access to school and borrower specific reporting information through Nsight.  This is a web-based delinquency reporting tool that financial aid and default prevention professionals will use to view real-time account information for students and borrowers.  The Nsight reporting tool, which will be used by both the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) and Nelnet (two separate and independent federal loan servicers) is designed to provide enhanced reporting capability and diverse information to cover a school’s needs.  Schools with loans in both portfolios will be able to easily access borrower information.

  • Financial aid professionals will no longer use their existing Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) website user name and password to access the school website.   Instead, they will use a different Nsight user name and password to access the new school website.  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 website. 
  • 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 website can be completed prior to transition by contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) School Services Team.  The process will take just a few minutes, and schools are encouraged to register early to prevent interruption in accessing their Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) information following implementation of the new website.

New Borrower Website and Transition Information 

The new borrower website will enable Direct Loan borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients to 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 website.  They will be asked to establish a profile that includes the creation of a user name and password.  This registration will be required once the transition has been completed and the new website is available.  This process will take just a few minutes, and once established, borrowers will have immediate access to their account information.

In preparation for the new system, borrowers in repayment will experience a few relatively minor payment-related changes.  These changes will be highlighted in borrower communications and are as follows:

  • Borrowers who have been receiving semi-annual billing coupons will instead receive monthly billing statements.  This change will be implemented beginning with payments due at the end of July 2011 and continue going forward.
  • Borrowers who make one-time payments online will not be able to make such payments for a short period of time prior to implementation of the new system and websites.  We will announce the dates of this period to borrowers, schools, and the community once the system implementation dates are confirmed.  During this period, borrowers will be able to mail their payments to the payment center address.
  • Borrowers who schedule online payments beyond the implementation of the new system and websites will need to reschedule these payments on the new website once the implementation has been completed.  The Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will notify impacted borrowers through e-mail or via phone call prior to the confirmed system implementation dates.

As we move forward, borrowers should be encouraged to monitor the Direct Loan Servicing Online website for updates regarding the transition to the new system and websites.  As explained above, the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) will post Q&As to the borrower website and conduct borrower e-mail campaigns.

Entrance and Exit Counseling Retirement 

As explained in our June 3, 2011 Electronic Announcement posted on the IFAP website, Direct Loan Entrance and Exit Counseling and TEACH Grant Exit Counseling modules will be retired from the Direct Loan Servicing Online website.  The retirement of the counseling modules will precede the transition to the new system and websites. 

For complete details about the planned July 23-24, 2011 retirement of the counseling modules on the Direct Loan Servicing Online website and the cessation of corresponding school reports, refer to the June 3rd announcement.  Schools will need to transition to Federal Student Aid’s other online counseling options by July 22, 2011, if they choose to have their student borrowers complete entrance and exit counseling through Federal Student Aid. 

Note: The use of Federal Student Aid’s counseling tools is not mandatory. Schools may continue to choose from a variety of methods to ensure their student borrowers satisfy counseling requirements.

Forthcoming Communications

Through forthcoming Electronic Announcements, we will continue to inform the community about the transition to the new system and websites for the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS).  Please monitor the IFAP website for these announcements as well as the Direct Loan Servicing Online for Schools website for ongoing updates to the posted Q&As.

Contact Information

We appreciate the community’s patience and assistance as the Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS) transitions to its new system and websites.  

If you have questions about the transition, 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 School (ACS) Services Team via the web by visiting the current website at http://www.dl.ed.gov/schools.

 

Publication Date: 6/13/2011

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