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CHAPTER 3 - Preferential Acquisition Programs

To ensure that all businesses have an equitable opportunity to participate in federal procurement, a number of special assistance programs have been established. These include various types of preference programs, such as small business set-asides and programs exclusively for socially and economically disadvantaged companies, as well as other forms of assistance generally designed to help companies that otherwise might not be able to compete for a share of government contract awards. All firms are encouraged to become familiar with and take advantage of any of the special assistance programs for which they qualify. This chapter is intended to be an introduction to some of the major programs available primarily to small and disadvantaged businesses.

Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization

ED’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) was established in response to Public Law 95-507, amending the Small Business Act of 1958. OSDBU assists small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses (including 8(a)s, , service-disabled veteran-owned firms, HUBZone, and women-owned businesses in fulfilling contracting and subcontracting opportunities with ED. To ensure that these firms are represented in contracts awarded throughout the federal government, OSDBU works closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other agencies. It helps small businesses understand ED’s operations and directs offerors to appropriate sources of information. It also works with program offices throughout ED to help the Department meet its contracting goals for small socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.

OSDBU provides advice to contracting officers in complying with small and small disadvantaged business utilization plans and participates in government/industry conferences to assist small and disadvantaged businesses. It is also available to give direct advice to such companies, if needed. OSDBU distributes in hard copy the Department’s Forecast of ED Contract Opportunities. In addition, the Director of OSDBU monitors and reports to the SBA on ED’s goals and accomplishments in order to involve businesses and organizations in the programs listed below.

For more information about set-aside opportunities, contact OSDBU staff at:

U.S. Department of Education OSDBU - PCP, RM 7048 550 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20202-0521

  • (202)


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    245-6304 [Fax]

email: small.business@ed.gov

Small Business Set-Aside Program (48 CFR Subpart 19.5)

Section 15 of the Small Business Act states that a fair proportion of the total purchases and contracts for goods and services for the government is to be placed with small business concerns. Accordingly,

Doing Business with the Department of Education

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