11-16: COD School Testing for the 2013-2014 Award Year

Posted Date: November 16, 2012

Author:  William Leith, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid

Subject: COD School Testing for the 2013-2014 Award Year

The Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) School Relations Center will conduct Common Record Manual Verification and Structured Application Testing for the 2013-2014 Award Year from January 2, 2013 through November 1, 2013. Optional Unstructured Testing will be available April 1, 2013 through December 6, 2013.

The purpose of COD School Testing is to provide schools, third party servicers, and software vendors an opportunity to test Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH Grant), and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) business processes and system software with the COD System prior to the transmission and processing of actual production data using COD Common Record XML Schema Version 3.0e. It also allows schools, third party servicers, and software providers the opportunity to make corrections or enhancements to software applications and processes prior to sending data to the “live” production environment.

All entities that wish to participate in COD School Testing must submit the “COD School Testing 2013-2014 Sign-Up Document” to the COD School Relations Center. Schools, third party servicers, and software vendors can submit the sign-up document beginning Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

Complete testing information will be available in the COD School Testing Guide (Volume V of the 2013-2014 COD Technical Reference) posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site and the Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site. In this announcement, we provide useful high-level information about COD School Testing for the 2013-2014 Award Year in the following order:

  • Who Should Participate in COD School Testing for the 2013-2014 Award Year

  • School Testing Phases

  • COD School Testing Sign-Up Process

  • Contact Information

Who Should Participate in COD School Testing for the 2013-2014 Award Year  

Any school that will participate in the Pell Grant, TEACH Grant, or Direct Loan program for the first time in the 2013-2014 Award Year must complete school testing with the COD System before sending data into production. The only exception to this is new schools using software from software providers or third party servicers.

While other schools are not required to test with the COD System, all schools, software providers, and third party servicers may participate in testing. We encourage schools using a solution developed in-house (mainframe system, server, software, or other) to send and receive the COD Extensible Mark Up Language (XML) Common Record to test with the COD System.

Software providers and third party servicers may perform their own product testing on behalf of their customers. Schools should contact their software provider or third party servicer to discuss testing plans/concerns. The Department of Education (the Department) will test the EDExpress software before releasing it to schools.

School Testing Phases  

School testing is comprised of two phases—Phase I for Common Record Manual Verification and Phase II for Structured Application Testing. A school must complete Phase I testing before participating in Phase II testing. Following the completion of Phase I and Phase II testing, a school may participate in Unstructured Testing.

Note: The COD School Relations Center will supply the test student data that must be used during testing.

The testing phases will be available as follows:

Testing Phase 

Testing Phase Description 

Start Date 

End Date 

Phase I


 

Common Record Manual Verification Testing

01/02/13

10/04/13

Phase II


 

Structured Application Testing

03/28/13

11/01/13

Unstructured


 

Unstructured Testing

04/01/13

12/06/13

Phase I – Common Record Manual Verification 

The purpose of Common Record Manual Verification testing is to ensure that a school's COD XML Common Record is well formed and properly structured according to the rules of the COD XML Common Record Schema Version 3.0e.  

During this testing phase, the COD School Testing Support Team manually reviews a Common Record document that a school e-mails to the COD School Relations Center and assists the school in the identification of potential updates to its Common Record submissions. This testing phase will be available from January 2, 2013 through October 4, 2013.

Phase II – Structured Application Testing 

The purpose of Structured Application Testing is to ensure that a school can send, receive, and process batches of records using comprehensive input instructions with detailed expected results issued by the COD School Relations Center. The school uses a test Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) file supplied by the COD School Relations Center to create a test data set of students to use with the structured test cases.

During this phase, a school sends Common Record documents to the COD System and receives Receipt and Response documents back from the COD System. The school must verify that these files can be loaded and processed correctly in its system.

This testing phase will be available from March 28, 2013 through November 1, 2013. To participate in Phase II testing, a school must complete Phase I testing first. If a school completes Phase I testing before March 28, 2013, it must wait until the Phase II testing window opens.

Unstructured Testing 

The purpose of Unstructured Testing is to allow a school that has completed Phase I and Phase II testing to ensure that it can correctly create and submit all possible transactions needed for the future award year. The school uses the test ISIR file data and submits minor variations to test cases such as adjustments to the person information, award amounts, or disbursement amounts throughout the award year.

This optional testing phase will be available from April 1, 2013 through December 6, 2013.

COD School Testing Sign Up  

A school registers for testing by completing the “COD School Testing 2013-2014 Sign-up Document” attached to this announcement. The sign-up document is also posted on the COD Web site's Home page under the “Today’s Update” link.

As explained in the sign-up document, a school may register to participate in Phase I testing, in both Phase I and Phase II testing, or in Phase I, Phase II, and Unstructured testing. In any case, the school must sign up by August 30, 2013.

Once completed, a school should submit the sign-up document to the COD School Relations Center by faxing it to 877/623-5082 or e-mailing it to CODsupport@acs-inc.com with “School Testing Signup” in the subject line. After the sign-up document is received, the COD School Relations Center will contact the school via e-mail to obtain school-specific information and to schedule specific test dates with the school.

Note: Upon receipt of the sign-up document, the COD School Testing Support Team must complete a considerable setup process to establish the school in the COD test environment before testing can begin. Please allow 7-10 business days for completion of the sign-up and set-up processes. A school should take this timeframe into account before beginning to test and provide enough lead-time in its schedule. It is also important that the sign-up document is complete and includes accurate information.

Contact Information 

If you have any questions about COD School testing or signing up for testing, 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.

Attachments/Enclosures:

COD School Testing 2013-2014 Sign-up Document in Microsoft Word Format, 162KB, 2 Pages  

 

Publication Date: 11/19/2012

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