Perot Systems wants bigger share of fed market

Education contracts could prove instructional for other deals

Editor's note:This story was updated at 10:40 a.m. Oct. 16. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

Perot Systems considers two new contracts it just won as an opportunity to move to larger government deals. The Education Department awarded the contracts, potentially worth more than $217 million. Under them, Perot will manage the data center operations and re-engineer the partner management system for the agency’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) Office.

Jim Ballard, president of Perot’s Government Services division, called the contracts major wins. “They allow us now to go after large government contracts,” he said. Perot is working hard to gain a bigger federal foothold, Ballard said.

The new contracts build on work Perot is performing for Education in the national collection and analysis of data related to the No Child Left Behind Act. Mark Blevins, senior vice president at Perot Government Services, leads that work. He plays a leading role in the new work, too.

One of the contracts makes Perot the service provider for FSA’s Integrated Partner Management (IPM) program, the focal point for thousands of providers of Title IV funding to postsecondary school students.

Under the IPM engagement, Perot will integrate several unrelated systems into a single, streamlined site that will link schools and universities with financial partners such as lenders, loan guarantors and loan servicers.

The $17 million contract runs for five years. Under a task order for a 30-month term, Perot will make determinations about requirements and build the system. That will be followed by three software upgrades during the second half of the five years.

The larger award is a 10-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract worth more than $200 million to manage FSA’s Virtual Data Center (VDC). Blevins said Perot competed against EDS, IBM and Computer Sciences Corp. — the incumbent — to get the contract.

Perot will design and manage a single computing environment to host and process all of FSA’s financial aid delivery systems, including students’ loan repayment processing. The center is expected to handle about $78 billion annually in postsecondary student financial aid transactions.

The VDC contract “will help reduce the cost and increase the speed and accuracy of aid delivery for federal student aid, our customers and operating partners,” said Katie Blot, chief information officer at FSA.

Blevins said the VDC, which had been located at CSC’s facility in Meriden, Conn., will move to Perot’s technology center in Plano, Texas. Perot’s program management office in Washington, D.C., will be the liaison to the department.

The VDC project is Perot’s first major contract since combining all its acquired companies and entering the government market in 2002, Ballard said. “This [contract] gives us the opportunity to show that we are capable of doing this certainly not only for the Department of Education but for other [agencies],” he said. “A lot of agencies are looking for the full suite of business process engineering,” Blevins added, including system requirements, design, software development, and operation and maintenance.

He said the new contracts and Perot’s year-old No Child Left Behind Act work “give us a turnkey solution that we can take to other agencies.”

A large money management responsibilityThe 1998 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act established a performance-based organization to administer the Federal Student Aid programs at the Education Department.

The FSA office directs, coordinates and recommends policies for programs that:

  • Provide financial assistance to eligible students enrolled in postsecondary educational institutions.
  • Deliver grants, loans and work-study assistance to millions of students through thousands of postsecondary institutions and lenders, and more than 30 guarantee organizations.
  • Collect millions of dollars in loans with data systems that track millions of student loans and Pell Grants.
  • Source: Education Department

    About the Author

    David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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