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R -- Private Collection Agency Small Business Conference

Solicitation Number: Reference-Number-FSA-PCA-2008-SN
Agency: Department of Education
Office: Federal Student Aid
Location: FSA Acquisitions
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Reference-Number-FSA-PCA-2008-SN
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Special Notice
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Added: April 19, 2007
The Department of Education (ED), Federal Student Aid (FSA) invites small business debt collection agencies to attend a conference on small business opportunities under FSA's debt collection contracts.

The ED Private Collection Agency (PCA) Small Business Conference will be held on May 22, 2007 from 8:30 am CDT to about 5:00 on CDT at the following location:



St. Louis Airport Marriott

http://marriott.com/hotels/travel/stlap-st-louis-airport-marriott/

10700 Pear Tree Lane

St Louis, MO 63134

314-423-9700 or toll free: 877-264-8771



Interested parties should register for the PCA Small Business Conference on ED's PCA website at http://www.pca.ed.gov/conference.html. Please register for the conference by May 15, 2007. The hall is designed to seat 100. We reserve the right to give priority to representatives of small businesses.



Lodging should be booked directly with the hotel. You do not need to mention the conference. There are no special room rates for the PCA Small Business Conference.



Topics covered at the PCA Small Business Conference will include:



1 - Overview of FSA debt collection requirements

2 - Performance-based/competitive aspects of ED contracts

3 - Subcontracting opportunities

a - What prime contractors are seeking

b - Finding your niche

c - How to approach prime contractors

4 - Requisites for success on the ED contract

5 - The ED contracting process & schedule for new awards in 2008

6 - How to get on GSA Schedule 520-4.



The conference will include presentations by Federal officials and panel discussions with representatives from contractors and subcontractors.



Please direct all other questions and inquiries to pca2008@ed.gov.



This is not a solicitation for proposals and is for informational and planning purposes only. Proposals are not requested at this time and will not be considered. A determination by the Government on how or if to proceed with this requirement is solely within the discretion of the Government based on the Government's needs and requirements.



Questions & Answers



1. Q. Is it worth my trouble and expense to attend the conference?



A. Maybe. For those who are unable to attend the conference, ED will post presentation slides and other materials from the conference on its http://www.pca.ed.gov website. ED has two possible opportunities for small business PCAs-subcontracting and prime contracts with ED. Neither route is easy, although subcontracting may be a better choice for smaller PCAs. You may also wish to attend to learn how to obtain a General Services Administration (GSA) 520-4, Debt Collection, contract, since you must have this GSA schedule contract to compete for an ED contract.



Subcontracting-Federal contractors are required to pursue goals for subcontracting to small businesses. Opportunities exist for small businesses that can show they can help one of ED's large business PCAs perform better. The conference will help you learn more about ED's requirements and where you may be able to help a large business improve its performance by subcontracting with your PCA. You will hear from existing ED subcontractors and contractors and may have a chance to meet some of them. ED does not require subcontractors to hold a GSA schedule contract.



Prime contracts-ED plans to conduct the next competition for award of prime contracts in 2008 and will include a set-aside for small business concerns. Succeeding as a prime contractor can take substantial resources. The ED contracts are the big leagues of debt collection. If you are trying to break into student loan debt collection, you may want to work your way up through the minor leagues. Other student loan debt collection opportunities include schools, States or Guaranty Agencies. Subcontracting with an existing ED Contractor may be another way to develop talent and resources.



In the next contract competition, ED will be looking for the very best small businesses with proven records of outperforming most other collection agencies on work similar to ED's. The ED contracts can be both challenging and unforgiving. ED contractors compete against each other for accounts and bonuses. If you are awarded an ED small business task order in 2008, you will be competing against the very best small business collection agencies in the country. If you cannot perform at a level commensurate with the other small business contractors, you will receive few accounts and less revenue.



That said, successful performers thrive under the ED contract. So, if you are among the best performing small business debt collection agencies--especially if you have experience collecting student loans--then absolutely you should be interested in attending the ED Small Business PCA Conference and seeking an award in the next ED PCA contract competition. Please join us at the conference!



2. Q. What is a definition of a "small business?"



A. "Small business concern" and other terms are defined in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 19.001. http://acquisition.gov/comp/far/current/html/Subpart%2019_1.html#wp1101805



Essentially, the FAR defines a small business as a U.S. business entity, including any affiliates, that is:



- Organized for profit,

- Independently owned and operated,

- Not dominant in the designated field of operation (i.e., debt collection, NAICS Code 561440),

- Qualified under the size standard established by the Small Business Administration for that field.



3. Q. What is the small business size standard for debt collection?



A. SBA has set the small business size standard for the debt collection industry (NAICS Code 561440) at $6.5 million per year in "annual receipts." FAR 19.101 defines "annual receipts" as annual average gross revenue of the concern taken for the last 3 fiscal years. For further information about SBA size standards, please see http://www.sba.gov/services/contractingopportunities/sizestandardstopics/index.html.



4. Q. Where can I get more information about the current ED debt collection contracts?



All the documents available from ED's 2004 PCA award competition are available on the web at http://www.pca.ed.gov/archive/index.html. Documents of particular interest include:



- Request for proposals http://www.pca.ed.gov/library/RFTOP.6-23-04.doc

- Statement of Work http://www.pca.ed.gov/library/PCA.SOW.6-23-2004.doc

- Sample task order http://www.pca.ed.gov/library/Sample%202004%20Small%20Biz%20PCA%20Task%20Order.doc



Documents and guidance related to performance of the current PCA contracts may be found at http://www.fsacollections.ed.gov/contractors/pca2004/index.html.



5. Q. How can we get a copy of the winning proposals for ED's debt collection contracts?



A. Copies of the winning proposals are not available from the Federal Government. The FAR prohibits release of a proposal unless it is incorporated into the contract. ED did not incorporate proposals into the PCA contracts or task orders.



Please direct all other questions and inquiries related to this Special Notice to pca2008@ed.gov.

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Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, FSA Acquisitions, Union Center Plaza, RM 91F1 830 First Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20202-5405, UNITED STATES
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