A U.S. Federal Government Agency Relies on bTrade’s MFT Solutions to Secure Financial Aid Payments and Documents Sent to U.S. Universities/Colleges and Other Outside Organizations
U.S. Federal Government, Education
At a glance:
The agency is responsible for managing the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. These programs provide about $150 billion a year in grants, loans and work-study funds to more than 15 million students attending college or career school.
The agency needed a solution to leverage the Internet for the secure exchange of data with students and their families, as well as the numerous outside organizations with which it transacts business. Some of the specific challenges included:
- processing approximately 22 million Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) submissions each year;
- accurately disbursing, reconciling, and accounting for all federal student aid funds that are delivered to students each year through more than 6,200 colleges and career schools;
- managing the outstanding federal student loan portfolio and securing repayment from federal student loan borrowers;
- offering free assistance to students, parents, and borrowers throughout the entire financial aid process; and
- providing oversight and monitoring of all program participants—schools, financial entities, and students—to ensure compliance with the laws, regulations, and policies governing the federal student aid programs.
To address these challenges, the agency created an online portal called the Student Aid Internet Gateway (“SAIG”). Through SAIG, users can send, receive and manage student aid information electronically. SAIG is powered by bTrade technology that allows the agency to securely exchange batch data with Federal Student Aid Application Systems, and manage the thousands of trading partners.
SAIG utilizes the following bTrade solutions: TDNgine, TDAccess and TDCommunity Manager.
TDNgine (now called TDXchange) is an open architecture gateway solution that is used as the “mailbox” application for sending, storing and retrieving data pertaining to the Title IV applications and user organizations that utilize the SAIG portal.
TDAccess acts as the “client” piece and is used to send and receive batch FTP data transmissions securely over the Internet using SSL 3.0 and the Diffie-Hellman Dynamic Key Exchange algorithm. It also offers users a simple integration into existing systems.
TDCommunity Manager is used to manage the Title IV user mailboxes and data. It runs as a thin client and is accessed via the Web. Users can employ this aspect of the system to manage their mailboxes and to view network traffic via the Web.
Why The Agency Chose bTrade:
The agency chose bTrade based on MFT market research performed by an industry analyst. bTrade’s MFT solutions possessed the needed features/functionality for an enterprise gateway solution like SAIG, including:
Multi-platform support: Works with a diverse set of operating systems (e.g., Windows, Linux, UNIX, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX, iSeries, zSeries).
Secure file transfers: Every transfer can be compressed, encrypted and signed. bTrade solutions have also met the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 certification, a set of strict standards on which cryptographic-based (encryption) security systems must comply when protecting sensitive data in U.S. government agencies and departments.
Flexible deployment: Users can download the software and install quickly.
Scalable: The solution will grow with the agency’s needs while keeping the same user experience, flexibility and level of security.
Easy-to-use: Includes a modern web-based user interface which makes it easy for users.
Compliance/governance: Capable of transmitting, receiving, processing, forwarding, and storing digital information across system boundaries utilizing system packets that are formatted in accordance with commercial standards of Internet protocol (IP) version 6 (IPv6) as set forth in Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 2460 and associated IPv6-related IETF RFC standards. In addition, the bTrade software maintains interoperability with IPv4 systems and provides at least the same level of performance and reliability capabilities of IPv4 products.
Going beyond data encryption and security, bTrade offered a unified solution for SAIG. By providing visibility, security and control over transaction flows, bTrade helped the agency to streamline operations and processes for exchanging financial information and documents electronically.