Student Financial Aid:

Use of Middleware for Systems Integration Holds Promise

GAO-02-7: Published: Nov 30, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 2001.

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Although the Department of Education spent millions of dollars to modernize and integrate its nonintegrated financial aid systems during the past 10 years, these efforts have met with limited success. Recently, Education's Office of Student Financial Assistance (SFA) began using a software approach known as middleware to provide users with a more complete and integrated view of information in its many databases. In selecting middleware, SFA has adopted a viable, industry-accepted means for integrating and utilizing its existing data on student loans and grants. To meet its human capital needs, SFA has solicited the help of a private sector "modernization partner" with experience in implementing and managing middleware solutions--particularly in the financial industry--and has also chosen to use a leading middleware software product.

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