Department of Education
Agency Plan Excerpts
The overall Recovery goals are to stimulate the economy in the short-term and invest wisely, using these funds to improve schools, raise achievement, drive reforms and produce better results for children and young people for the long-term health of our nation.
Competition on Contracts
Most of the Recovery funds received by the Department will be used for grants, with the exception of Student Aid Administration, which will use Recovery funds to award contracts to service the outstanding student loan portfolio. Contract competitions will be done using commercial items procedures with the actions posted in Fedbizopps as required. In fiscal year 2008, 84% of the Department’s contract dollars were competed. The Department expects to meet or exceed this rate. To the maximum extent possible, competitive procedures will be used. Regardless of the dollar value, contracts that are not competed will require a Determination and Findings (D&F) that includes the rationale for using other than competitive procedures. The D&F shall be submitted to both the Head of Contracting Activity and the Competition Advocate for review and approval. The Department’s Contract Review Board must review all Recovery contract actions exceeding $25,000 prior to solicitation and award.
Fixed-priced contracts are the preferred contract type. A justification is required for non-fixed priced contracts. Based on fiscal year 2008 data, 62% of contract dollars were awarded to fixed-price contracts. The Department expects to meet or exceed this rate. The Department’s Contract Review Board must review all Recovery contract actions exceeding $25,000 prior to solicitation and award. Regardless of dollar value, contracts that are not fixed-price require a Determination and Findings (D&F) that includes the rationale for using other than a fixed-price contract type. The D&F shall be submitted to both the HCA and the Competition Advocate for review and approval.
The Secretary has established a structure of cross-organizational teams to ensure ED successfully implements the programs, reporting requirements, and accountability provisions of ARRA. Teams are coordinating guidance to the recipient agencies and establishing plans and metrics to monitor the programs’ impact.
Each ARRA program is the responsibility of one of ED’s program offices. Each program office establishes Organizational Assessment goals to measure its performance for the year, and ARRA programs have been added to goals. The individual performance agreements of senior officers are aligned with the Organizational Assessment for their offices.
ED will hold ARRA fund recipients accountable through reporting and monitoring. ED will monitor recipients’ obligation and expenditure of ARRA funds using the government-wide ARRA reporting process. ED has successfully implemented all government-wide reporting requirements that have been launched to date. ED plans to adopt the government-wide reporting form and methods for the quarterly ARRA reports, which OMB expects to launch in October 2009. ED will provide guidance and technical assistance to help the recipients meet the reporting requirements once the FederalReporting.gov system is established and to help ensure the quality of the data made available to the public on ED.gov/Recovery and Recovery.gov.
To assess recipients’ compliance with ARRA’s requirements and their performance on the strategic goals, ED will monitor and analyze the impact of ARRA using annual performance reports. Each ARRA-supplemented program has an annual report process that will now include the activities and accomplishments under ARRA. ED is currently developing the SFSF program report, consistent with the parameters established for that report in ARRA Section 14008. The ARRA Program Plans describe the performance measures and method of monitoring for each ARRA-funded program at ED.
ED’s accountability strategy is based in risk management. ED has begun a continuous risk assessment of the ARRA programs. The concentrations of risk identified through this analysis will inform the targeting of ED’s technical assistance and oversight. Some of the risk factors include the size of the program, the complexity of the rules governing the program, and audit findings that show past compliance programs with particular requirements. ED uses findings from grantee audits, GAO reviews, and ED OIG reviews to identify these issues. In addition, ED will focus attention on new programs created by ARRA, including the SFSF programs.
ED will monitor all ARRA programs throughout the life of the grants. The monitoring will be targeted to the programs most at risk of failing to meet ARRA’s strategic objectives. ED will monitor the use of ARRA supplements to existing State formula grant programs (including ESEA Title I Part A, Special Education, and Vocational Rehabilitation) through its regular State monitoring process. This includes annual reporting of participation and performance data and site visits to many States. Additional monitoring activities will be developed for the programs newly created by ARRA. In developing the monitoring plans, ED will take into consideration the findings of ED OIG, GAO and other oversight agencies. High-risk grantees that are eligible for ARRA funds are monitored regularly, including site visits. These grantees will receive additional oversight for their use of ARRA funds as part of the regular monitoring.
Program Plans | Number of Programs: