2004 Status Report to OMB on the Implementation of the E-Government Act
March 1, 2005
Archived Information

1. Implementation Status Overview

Describe how sample initiatives are transforming agency operations

As reported last year, the Department launched the Performance-Based Data Management Initiative (PBDMI) that provides a central data repository of performance information for Federal grant programs. The Department is now collecting information from the state and local education agency partners via an integrated web-based system that reports timely data on student achievement and educational outcomes. Next year, the Department will report on the results of performance data collected, and the reduced reporting burden to our partners. By improved analysis of educational results data, all concerned are better able to identify performance trends that impact budget and policy decisions. Implementation of this system reinforced the commitment by the Department to shift emphasis from compliance with procedural requirements to a focus on actual student achievement. Additionally, the PBDMI will promote the redirection of state and local resources from responding to collection requests to addressing core mission objectives.

The Department continues to offer and enhance FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on the Web, which offers electronic financial aid applications to the public. This benefits both students and schools and enables the government to lower processing costs. Students receive a response in four days, instead of three to four weeks when the same application is filed manually. Applicants have to make fewer corrections because the FAFSA on the Web application has built-in error checks, which helps students "apply right" the first time and reduces data duplication. By using on-line edits, we have been able to reduce resubmits and on-line exceptions from an average of eight percent of all applicants to less than one-half of one percent. We calculate the student aid report (SAR) and determine the student's expected family contribution. We send those reports electronically to schools and they bundle a total aid package from all their resources to custom fit each student. Applicants can apply for a pin to use in electronic identification. We currently mail this pin to their mailing address to meet privacy considerations. We look forward to the opportunity to send the pin to the applicant electronically when federal privacy and security practices permit.

Explain how your agency maintains an ongoing dialogue with interested parties to find innovative ways to use IT

The Department has had an on-line customer satisfaction survey available on ED.gov since November 1996. Among other things, customers have an opportunity to tell us what kinds of new services they would like ED to offer. Over the years, ED has implemented many of the suggestions, including a new on-line tour of the site to help users navigate the site and an eService Center, which provides enhanced customer service to the public for frequently asked questions (FAQ) while increasing the efficiency of responding to customer inquiries.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) continues to annually host thousands of financial aid professionals from across the nation at conferences and events designed to promote dialogue on IT updates, industry best practices, recent developments and process improvements. Additionally, FSA constituencies can access any one of several websites developed and maintained by FSA to receive real-time information on issues impacting student aid.

Identify other agency partners who collaborate on the initiative

Partners with the PBDM Initiative involve the state and local education agencies, and FSA expands that partnership to include colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions. The Department continues to focus on-line services to customers, expanding public access to grants, loans, and research information through improvements in electronic transactions.

Identify improved performance by tracking performance measures support agency objectives, strategic goals and statutory mandates

As part of our strategic objectives, we track burden hours associated with our information collections. Through the use of consolidated PBDMI collection process, we will continue to reduce burden hours, therefore meeting our annual performance objectives as required by the Government Performance and Results Act.

Quantify the cost savings and cost avoidance created by implementing the initiative (e.g. reduction and elimination of investments), and describe the methodology used to determine savings

Cost savings resulting from the PBDMI is with the states because they can redirect their resources more efficiently. For example, the PBDMI reduces amount of time spent on gathering and reporting duplicative data and preparing collections.

100% of the Department's Title IV loan programs provide online capability. In addition to the fact that the eligibility application (FAFSA) is available online, students and parents can also complete and sign loan applications/promissory notes online.

Explain how your agency ensures availability of government information and services is not diminished by those without access to the Internet

The Information Resource Center (IRC) is the home of 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327), the telephone number for information on the Department of Education's major education improvement priorities (e.g., reading, family involvement, technology). Services provided by the IRC include not only information about the Department's programs and agenda, but also the ability to register for satellite events and directory assistance for the Department. The IRC provides referrals to department specialists or other experts, and answers frequently asked questions. The local number in Washington, DC is 202-401-2000, and Spanish speakers are available on TTY: 1-800-437-0833.

Another popular phone contact is 1-800-4FED-AID (both English and Spanish lines).

The Education Publications Center (ED Pubs) is the Departments' one-stop center for access to ED Information products, including publications, videos, brochures, posters, and other mailings. Use the ED Pubs online or call 1-877-4ED PUBS (English and Spanish)

In addition to phone and publication media, the Department has entered into a pilot with HUD. ED recently executed an interagency agreement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to participate in their successful Kiosk Project. HUD has placed 106 kiosks in grocery stores, malls, shopping centers, libraries and city halls in areas serving low-income, minority audiences that do not have Internet access. ED content will provide users with information on how to get free publications and answers to questions about other ED programs. All information will have Spanish versions and all phone numbers have Spanish-speaking staff to assist. The new information is expected to be available in January 2005.

2. Summary of implementation of specific privacy provisions of Section 2008

a. The reporting of each instance where persistent tracking technology is used, to include need for persistent tracking technology, safeguards for information collected, and contact/privacy policy notification.

ED.gov is the primary entry point for the Department's internet services and products, and does not use persistent cookies. (Federal Student Aid, EDCAPS and National Center for Education Statistics represent separate business functions, and may use persistent tracking technology.)

ED Principal Offices (as cited above) may choose to use persistent tracking technology in cases where it can increase the agency's ability to deliver its services, primarily by increasing convenience for institutional partners in mission delivery, by increasing family awareness of financing for college, or by enabling electronic filing for college student aid. The first two instances involve web sites that are personally customizable by public users on a voluntary basis; i.e., information is available whether or not the user signs up. The third instance requires persistent tracking in the same way that filing a tax return online does; persistent tracking is necessary if the person wants to file online (a paper option exists for the person who does not want to be tracked electronically).

All ED web sites are protected in accordance with FISMA, and the data that are collected are protected in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the E-Government Act of 2002, and OMB privacy guidance.

ED has no information that says the Principal Offices are not complying with OMB guidance on persistent tracking. The Office of the Chief Information Officer is planning to validate that persistent tracking and machine-readable privacy policies have been implemented in 2005.

b. A readable agency privacy policy machine or an explanation of why it is not readable.

In February, 2004, the CIO's web development services team implemented P3P on ED.gov and related servers and notified Federal Student Aid, Office of the CFO, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of this requirement for servers and web sites that they maintain. NCES has implemented P3P on its website, but it is not known whether the other two offices have completed implementation. The upcoming validation will gather this information.

c. The contact information of individuals appointed by the head of the Executive Department to serve as the agency's principal contact for information technology/web matters and the individual primarily responsible for privacy.

William Leidinger,
Assistant Secretary for Management and Chief Information Officer

Technology/web matters:
Robert Leach
Director, IT Operations and Maintenance Services

Privacy:Jeanne Van Vlandren
Director, Regulatory Information Management Services

3. Summary of agency’s progress to implement your information technology human resources strategy as described in Section 209.

Identify any specialized job activities necessary to perform the agency mission that have changed since last year's report

Last year's report identified a number of IT-related skills, briefly touching on the skill sets found in the IT Specialist job series. The IT Specialist series, modeled after to a great extent, skill sets identified in the Clinger-Cohen Competencies document. Recognizing that the federal government needs to approach the work differently and more efficiently, the Department believes that Project Management professionals must direct all IT-related projects. To that end, the Department launched in December 2004, its first IT Project Management Certification Program. The first session targets those individuals already managing large IT projects for the Department. The second session will include not only a repeat of the full curriculum, but also the course for project managers to complete the annual re-certification requirement.

Of equal importance with ensuring that highly qualified individuals lead IT related projects, focus is directed to identify skill sets related to enterprise architecture and broad-spectrum security expertise.

Explain how your IT training plan integrates into the overall agency training plan

As reported last year, the Department launched a self-assessment tool—Employee Skills Inventory System (ESIS) to aid in identifying individual competency development needs in the current workforce. The Department's Training and Development staff continually develop strategies designed to aid in closing existing competency gaps—on-line learning opportunities (GOLEARN at www.golearn.gov) as well as working with IT components to meet individual training needs (as with the development of the IT Project Management Certification Program).

Discuss how you have used the results of OPM's Training Report to successfully implement training programs to fulfill gaps in your IT workforce

The report provided a comprehensive summary of IT training programs available, as well as updates to the Clinger-Cohen Act core competencies. The report confirms the direction the Department took in the development of our on-site IT Project Management Certification Program.

4. Briefly describe the process your agency established for determining which information will be made available on the internet as described in Section 207.

Description of process ED established to determine which information will be made available on the Internet

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) developed this inventory of website content as required by Section 207(f)(2) of the E-Government Act of 2002. This inventory is intended to be comprehensive, and to represent website content from ED and all its offices.

Provide the priorities and schedules for making Government information available and accessible

In preparing this inventory, ED has reviewed information collected as part of the redesign process for ED.gov, including citizen comments via e-mail, a customer survey, and usability tests; current website statistics indicating usage of existing content; and related information developed through the Information Quality Guidelines process (per Section 515 of Public Law 106-554, known as the Data Quality Act).

Explain how these priorities and schedules were available for public comment The draft inventory was posted on the ED.gov website on 12/3/2004 and the Department will receive comments through 12/15/04. A final inventory will be prepared and communicated to OMB on 12/17/04, as required by the E-Gov Act.

Identify the link where the priorities and schedules can be found on the Internet


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Last Modified: 03/13/2014