Government Innovators Awarded

The Education Department's effort to simplify its student loan process through online services has won a Digital Government Award recognizing best practices in government and higher education.

The award, sponsored by Accenture Ltd. of Reston, Va., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Planning, recognized the achievements of the Education Department and other government organizations at the Second annual Digital Government Awards, July 12, at the E-Gov Conference in Washington.

The Direct Loan Servicing Web site within the Education Department's Office of Student Financial Assistance provides a self-service channel for borrowers, schools and government officials to access to student loan information and self-service transactions.

Other award recipients were:

*The New Jersey Department of Human Services, for One EASE E-Link. The EASE E-Link integrates social, health and employment services from various state, county, private and nonprofit human services.

*The City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency, for its one-stop Web site of government information and services. This site offers users a wide variety of services, from showing city council meeting broadcasts to local trash collection information.

*The University of Wisconsin at Madison, for My UW-Madison, a personalized Web portal for students. My UW-Madison provides a central destination for important campus information, including news, faculty contact information, course schedules and financial aid accounts.

*The Simplified Tax and Wage Reporting System, a joint partnership among some federal agencies, multiple states and private organizations, for developing an Internet-based system allowing individuals to apply for employer identification numbers online. The agencies involved were the departments of Labor, Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Social Security Administration.

Digital Government Award recipients were chosen from approximately 100 nominations in the federal, higher education and state and local government categories. Nominations were judged by a panel of leaders in academia, government and other organizations.

"This year's nominees have demonstrated that government's and education's use of the Internet has matured far beyond simply publishing on the Web, or even conducting single or isolated transactions," said Daniel Greenwood, director of the MIT eCommerce Architecture project, an initiative to explore the legal, business and technical aspects of information architecture.

"Leading-edge organizations are now integrating their online services to provide a single point of interaction for constituents, breaking down the silos within which agencies traditionally have operated," he said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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