Last Thursday the Department of Education (ED) filed a status report in the United States Court of Claims that provided an update on the ongoing ED RFP “do-over.” A copy of the status report can be found here.
On August 4, 2017 ED filed an initial status report to the court. That report was required per the August 2, 2017 Sua Sponte Order issued by Judge Susan G. Braden. insideARM wrote about that order on August 3, 2017, and the initial status report on August 8, 2017.
In the latest status report ED states:
“In a status report filed on August 4, 2017, we informed the Court that ED has been working diligently on the corrective action, and had completed a review of more than half of the 37 proposals it has received under the corrective action. ECF No. 183 (Defendant’s Status Report dated August 4, 2017, accompanied by Dr. Bradfield Declaration.) We explained in that status report that ED may need additional time, past August 25, 2017, to complete its evaluation and finalize the corrective action.
As of the date of this notice, ED’s evaluation teams have completed their review of all proposals. Evaluation reports are now being prepared and should be finalized within the next few weeks. After the evaluation is complete, ED’s Source Selection Authority will conduct a new source selection determination and announce any new award or awards, and/or the termination of previously-awarded contracts, as appropriate.
As we stated in our August 4, 2017 status report, this corrective action is a top priority of Federal Student Aid, and ED is working diligently to complete the corrective action. Defendant respectfully requests that it be allowed to file a status report on September 14, 2017 informing the Court of the status of the corrective action.” (Emphasis added by insideARM)
The fact that ED did not meet the initial deadline of August 24 to complete the corrective action and make awards is a surprise to no one. As we mentioned in our August 8th article, ED received 37 proposals/responses to the RFP. To complete a thorough review of that many proposals in the originally proposed 8-week time frame was going to be a very heavy lift for the department. In light of the volume of protests and litigation surrounding the initial selections, insideARM is convinced that ED is taking its time to properly analyze the proposals, document its rationale for decisions, and make new selections.
However, it may not make any difference in the end. It is likely that unless the outcome is that every single firm that submitted a response is selected, there may still be additional protests and litigation. This show may never close.
Finally, the language in the report is interesting. ED does not say that selections will be made on September 14, 2017. ED wrote: “Defendant respectfully requests that it be allowed to file a status report on September 14, 2017 informing the Court of the status of the corrective action.” It may be that September 14th will only bring another status report requesting yet additional time to complete the evaluations.
Editor’s Note: insideARM has written extensively about the ED RFP and the litigation surrounding the RFP. We have often been asked for a summary of all our articles on the subject. See here for a link to an insideARM.com page that provides a history of our ED related articles. The page is automatically updated as new stories are written.