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The Monthly Memo Archive

The Monthly Memo

December 1, 1999

Dear Colleagues,

Please visit our web page. The site address is: heab.state.wi.us.

PLEASE NOTE: The HEAB website will be unavailable on Saturday, December 4, 1999 due to a state server consolidation project.

All state internet services will be shut down during the Year 2000 rollover on December 31st and January 1st. During this time, HEAB will be unable to send or receive e-mail, and the HEAB website will be unavailable.

Points of Interest:

  1. The last notification list and voucher request for December will run December 17th. Notification lists and voucher requests will NOT run December 18th through January 3rd. HEAB will use the last two weeks of December to implement the agency's contingency plan for the Y2K conversion. The next notification list and voucher request (after December 17th) will run January 4th.

  2. The Department of Administration has asked all State agencies to assist in getting authoritative Y2K information to all Wisconsin residents. Following this memo, I have included a document that offers factual Y2K information and sensible preparedness advice. For more information regarding this subject, visit: http://y2k.state.wi.us.

  3. The HEAB Policies and Procedures Manual is nearing completion. We are looking for volunteers to read a draft of the manual and give us comments and suggestions. If you are interested in helping us with the final stages of the manual, please contact Jim Buske by calling (608) 267.9865 or by sending e-mail to: james.buske@heab.state.wi.us by December 13th.

  4. The 1997-99 HEAB Biennial Report can now be viewed on HEAB's web site.

  5. All of us at HEAB again thank all of you who organized, hosted, and presented at the High School Counselor Workshops. They went very well and were very much appreciated!

  6. Once again, HEAB is holding one-day training programs for new and continuing financial aid admistrators. The training session covers all aspects of the programs administered by HEAB, including:

      How To Voucher
      How To Do File Maintenance
      An Overview of the Individual HEAB Programs
      A Review of HEAB Reports

    The program is being offered:

      March 16, 2000
      May 18, 2000
      (The January workshop is already full.)

    The program begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends no later than 3:00 p.m. It is held at the HEAB offices at 131 W. Wilson St, Suite 902, Madison, WI. We have room for up to 6 people at each session.

    If you want to register for a session or need more information, please call Jim Buske at (608) 267-9865 or send email to james.buske@heab.state.wi.us.

Points Related to Processing:

1999-2000

  1. 1999-2000 notification lists and other associated reports are scheduled to print 12/7/99 and 12/17/99. The last December notification list will run 12/17/99. After the 17th, the next list will run 1/4/00.

  2. Here are a few tips for bringing in your electronic Notification Files:

    1. set all margins to 0.25"
    2. set paper orientation to landscape
    3. set font to Courier (or Lucida Console if you have it)
    4. set point size to 9

    Also, if you encounter problems opening the file directly from email, try saving it to your server or hard drive using either Notepad or WordPad to open it. If this doesn't work, please give Barb Moermond a call at (608) 266-3091 and she will work with you to try to find a solution.

  3. We continue to run the 1999-2000 vouchering process on Tuesday and Friday nights of each week. The last December voucher job will run 12/17/99. After the 17th, the next job will run 1/4/00. Just a reminder that we cannot guarantee that your request can be loaded on the same day it has been received if the information arrives after 12NOON. Please keep in mind that it takes two to three business days after the vouchering process runs before checks are physically printed. So please plan accordingly. Please only voucher funds for students who are registered for coursework. Contact me if you have any questions.

  4. Please be aware that if you request a disbursement of less than $250 for a term or a semester or if the student has used nine semesters of eligibility, the voucher request is manually handled through a "special voucher" which is run on Wednesday nights.

  5. Also be aware that you cannot voucher funds for a student you just sent FAFSA changes for to the federal processor. Please voucher funds for students after they are reflected on the notification list. Our agency will calculate an award the Tuesday or Friday night after file maintenance is received or after the student is loaded from the federal record (which we draw down daily). However, the notification list which communicates the student award to you is run every other Tuesday. Please keep all of this in mind when you are making student record changes or vouchering funds. Please also keep in mind that we calculate awards on the most recent information that is received either through file maintenance or from the federal processor.

  6. Just another reminder that students can receive up to ten semesters of a combination of WHEG/WTG rather than ten semesters of each.

  7. 1999-2000 award commit for WHEG and WTG is as follows:

      UW WHEG Award Commit = 130.79% (last year at this time it was 124.43%)
      UW WHEG Award Spent = 43.01% (last year at this time it was 51.16%)
      WTC WHEG Award Commit = 142.72% (last year at this time it was 146.52%)
      WTC WHEG Award Spent = 43.02% (last year at this time it was 44.24%)
      WTG Award Commit = 111.34% (last year at this time it was 116.31%)
      WTG Award Spent = 40.42% (last year at this time it was 51.82%)

    NOTE: The 1999-2000 Spent figures have been calculated using the new appropriation figures that just passed.

I appreciate your feedback and thoughts! My phone number is 608.264.6181, FAX: 608.267.2808, EMAIL: jane.hojan-clark@heab.state.wi.us and SNAILMAIL: HEAB, P.O. Box 7885, Madison, WI 53707-7885.

 

Jane Hojan-Clark, Executive Secretary
Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board

The Facts About the Year 2000 for Wisconsin Families

Introduction

For decades, two digits were used as a shortcut to designate years in some computer programs with calendar functions (e.g., "99" instead of "1999"). A small percentage of microchips built into industrial and household devices also used this technique. In effect, computers and microchips that are not "Year 2000 compliant" may read "00" as 1900 instead of 2000. If left uncorrected, non-compliant computers and microchips could cause automated systems either to stop working or to generate inaccurate information.

In recent years, private businesses and governments have worked hard to identify and correct vulnerable systems, starting with those that have the greatest potential impact on their operations and customers. Here in Wisconsin, Governor Thompson created the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Year 2000 Preparedness to assess these preparations and to recommend additional steps that should be taken. The commission created nine subcommittees to examine key sectors of the state's economy in detail (e.g., utilities, finance, health care and government). Information has been gathered directly from government and industry in the state and from various national sources (such as federal government agencies and authoritative private groups).

This brochure reflects key Blue Ribbon Commission findings. The bottom-line is that few, if any, serious interruptions of electric power, telephone, fuel, food, water or other essential supplies and services are likely in Wisconsin. Business and technology experts at the national level anticipate similar outcomes for most other parts of the United States, although some scattered service interruptions of limited duration are likely to occur in some places. The most severe problems are likely to be felt by businesses that are unprepared and, therefore, could be at a serious competitive disadvantage. Internationally, some other countries are far behind in Y2K preparedness, resulting in potential hardships and supply chain problems.

In spite of these generally optimistic findings, the inherent complexity and pervasiveness of the Y2K challenge make it prudent for Wisconsin families to treat the matter seriously. A few Y2K-specific steps (such as updating personal computers) may be needed, but overall most experts compare preparing for the Year 2000 to preparing for a major winter storm. Ice storms, for example, can interrupt electric power and make a drive to the grocery store hazardous for hours or even days at a time in Wisconsin. Accordingly, most of the advice in this brochure applies to the Year 2000 and every other year.

Making Your Household Y2K Ready

Electric Power: Because Wisconsin utilities have made Y2K readiness a top priority, few, if any, power interruptions are expected in the state due to Year 2000 problems. In addition to extensive upgrading and testing already completed, utilities will have extra generation capacity (e.g., plants that are normally operated only during the peak demand months of summer) and technicians available on New Year's Eve and Day. Flashlights and fresh batteries are always a good idea, but electric generator systems are not recommended for most households (although they may make sense for dairy farmers and others with special needs). Generators can pose substantial fire, poisonous gas emission and electric shock hazards for family members and utility workers. If used, they should be installed, tested and operated in strict compliance with manufacturers' instructions and local codes.

Heat: While no unusual disruptions of natural gas, heating fuel or propane supplies are likely to occur as a result of Y2K, there are some simple, low-cost steps families can take as a precaution. These include filling propane and oil tanks prior to January 2000, keeping chimneys cleaned and, if feasible, keeping a week's supply of alternative fuel (e.g., wood) on hand. Use alternative heating systems only if installed, tested and operated properly. Some heating devices, especially grills intended for outdoor use, can pose fire and poisonous gas hazards if used indoors. Check with local government building inspectors and/or fire officials for guidelines. If a safe alternative heat source is not available to you, check with local government officials, friends, neighbors and others to prepare a contingency site that you and your family can safely go to if necessary.

Telephones: Regular and emergency telephone systems are expected to be fully ready for the new year (although some overseas calls may not go through). The only real threat to the system is the possibility that large numbers of people will attempt to test it on January 1. Obviously, if everyone in the state picks up the phone to check for dial-tone at 12:01 AM, the system will be overloaded and there will be no dial-tone. Likewise, lots of calls to 9-1-1 "just to make sure it's working" will crash the system and could block real emergency calls from getting through.

Household Finances: Wisconsin financial institutions, insurance companies and securities firms are implementing sound strategies to achieve Year 2000 readiness. In fact, 100% of Wisconsin's depository institutions have already met or exceeded the final benchmark for readiness. As an added precaution, keep paper copies of important financial documents, including your most current investment, payment, payroll, checking and savings account records. Social Security and other state and federal payment (and tax collection) systems are expected to be Y2K ready. Information about getting a paper record of your earnings history and an estimate of Social Security benefits you may be eligible for are available by calling 1-800-772-1213. Credit cards, debit cards and ATMs are expected to be Y2K ready and the federal government's protection of insured deposits will not be affected by Y2K. Excessive cash withdrawals are not recommended, but plan to have enough cash on hand to get you through a long weekend. Also, be on the alert for old consumer scams that may be dressed up in a new Y2K costume. No legitimate financial institution official or "examiner" will ever ask you to withdraw cash or move funds to another account to "test" a system for Y2K readiness.

Food & Water: No extraordinary food or water supplies are recommended for Y2K readiness. However, given Wisconsin's weather extremes, households should always have enough nutritious and easy-to-prepare food on hand to last for a few days to a week. These could include food for special diets, powdered milk, ready-to-eat canned goods, fruits and vegetables, soup, juices, cereals, crackers, potatoes (fresh or dried flakes), sugar, peanut butter, jelly, raisins, granola bars, trail mix, cooking oil, beans, white rice, dry pasta, or anything else your family eats regularly that stores well. You may also want to have a reasonable supply of "comfort foods" on hand, such as cookies, hard candy, instant coffee, tea bags, cocoa, chocolate bars, canned nuts, or other special treats. About one gallon of water per person, per day is recommended (half for drinking and half for food preparation and sanitation). Factsheets on safe food and water storage are available from your county extension agent and on the state's Y2K web site (http://y2k.state.wi.us).

Health Care & Prescriptions: While some concerns remain about the readiness of some health care business systems (e.g., billing and scheduling), patient care in Wisconsin is not likely to be significantly affected by Y2K. Families with special medical needs should review their plans with their health care provider. For example, it may be prudent to schedule elective dental and medical work prior to the first of the year. The pharmaceutical production and distribution system will be ready, but some groups are advising that patients stockpile prescription medications. If this advice is widely followed, it could cause shortages. Therefore, stockpiling of medications is not recommended. However, it obviously makes sense to routinely fill prescriptions you may need before January 2000.

Personal Computers: Most hardware and software manufacturers have web sites that offer information about their products. Diagnostic programs and patches are available at computer stores or can be downloaded on the Internet from several sources (the state's web site has information about this). Apple reports that its computers made since 1984 are fully Y2K compliant.

Consumer Devices With Microchips: While microchips can be found in everything from watches to heating systems, few are expected to pose significant Y2K hazards in homes. However, thermostats, security systems and other digital devices could be vulnerable. Check with manufacturers, suppliers or a qualified technician if you have questions. Many manufacturers of consumer electronic devices have Y2K information on their web sites. Automobiles have no known Y2K problems that could affect performance or safety.

Dependents: Schools and daycare centers are working to find and fix their own Y2K problems. But some schools may not open if they can't ensure a safe, warm environment - similar to what schools do now when severe winter weather strikes. You may want to make alternative child care plans and remember the needs of elderly and disabled relatives, friends and neighbors.

Other Supplies: Here are some other generic household emergency supplies you may want to have on hand. Remember that most experts suggest only a few day's worth of supplies for disruptions caused by Y2K or other situations and that storing gasoline or other fuels in a building can be extremely hazardous.

Community Preparedness: While Y2K has caused a lot of extra work and expense for government and business, it is also a timely reminder of how inter-dependent we are and how important it is to solve problems by communicating and cooperating. The underlying nature of the Year 2000 challenge has forced even the largest organizations to look outside themselves to promote readiness by business partners and customers. Across the state, community, religious, business and other groups are working together to ensure that January 1, 2000 is a day of family and community celebration throughout Wisconsin.

 

YEAR 2000 READINESS DISCLOSURE
The Facts About the Year 2000 for Wisconsin Families constitutes a "Year 2000 Readiness Disclosure" as that term is defined in the "Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act" (S. 2392, 105th Congress, 2nd Session)

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

The State of Wisconsin's Year 2000 Project Web Page:
http://y2k.state.wi.us

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Hotline
1-800-422-7128
TTY 608-224-5058
email: datcphotline@wheel.datcp.state.wi.us

Your county UW-Extension office

Wisconsin Emergency Management
(608) 242-3232

State of Wisconsin DOA-6707P (R 7/99)

 

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