Team Up for 2000 Y2K Panel
The interdependent environment and open communication of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) make it necessary and possible for the student loan community to work together to address the Y2K issue. Continuing to facilitate those cooperative efforts, Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TG) recently hosted a Panel Discussion on Y2K Contingency Planning at TG's Annual Conference, "Team Up for 2000."
The discussion provided another opportunity for industry representatives to come together to discuss their efforts to minimize the effect of potential Y2K failures through contingency planning. Representing the FFELP's various sectors, panel participants included Mary Haldane, Department of Education (ED); Lance Teinert, LoanSTAR Group; Mark Voegele, UNIPAC; and Charles Lee, TG Information Technology.
Outreach, assessment, and awareness were Mary Haldane's focus points. Ms. Haldane encouraged schools, lenders, and guarantors to establish a detailed procedures manual to outline responsibilities in case of a Y2K failure. She also advised that ED would continue to participate in focus groups and conferences in order to share ideas on Year 2000 preparedness. More details about ED's Y2K efforts, including ED's Business Continuity and Contingency Planning for Year 2000, can be found at www.ed.gov.
Lance Teinert focused on ways to mitigate risk and provide alternative processes. Mr. Teinert suggested several ways to reduce the likelihood of risk from the Y2K challenge:
- Incorporate a Y2K contingency plan into the organization's master recovery plan;
- Create procedures for manual backup of automated processes;
- Exchange data and money, if necessary, prior to any potential date failures (i.e., before January 1, 2000); and
- Test sufficiently.
Questions that helped the LoanSTAR Group identify alternative processes were:
- What if loan guarantee systems or components are down?
- What if Lender Manifest cannot produce electronic reporting?
- What if ED cannot accept the 799?
"It is not an option to not have options," said Mark Voegele during his presentation. He stressed, though, that solutions might not exist for every problem. Some things will be out of everyone's hands. The key is to have plans in place for what can be controlled.
Charles Lee presented an overview of TG's contingency planning efforts. TG is focusing on its mission-critical business processes, including Loan Guarantee Processing, National Student Loan Data System, Default Prevention, Claims, and Collections.
The planning involves four phases:
- Risk Assessment,
- Contingency Plan Development, and
This Y2K panel discussion was yet another example of the efforts of TG and its student loan community business partners to work together toward Y2K readiness. More information about TG's testing plan can be found on TG Online at www.tgslc.org/tgslc/sdp/sdp_main_new.htm.
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